Gmail and Yahoo are two of the most popular email providers in the world, with billions of users combined. This is why email marketers need to pay attention to their latest announcements about new inbox protection rules, which take effect in February 2024, and step up their emailing game.
These rules are designed to combat spam and enhance inbox safety for users, by requiring email senders to follow higher standards of authentication, spam-rate control and unsubscription processes.
These rules will apply to all senders who send more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail and Yahoo addresses, but they are also good practices for any email marketer who wants to improve their deliverability and reputation.
Here at SMTP2GO, we’ve been banging the ‘authentication, easy opt-out and spam monitoring’ drum for years. It’s important to remember that these requirements are nothing new and have been high on the list of email deliverability best practices for quite some time. But they’re still not followed by many senders. Don’t be left behind!
What are the new inbox protection rules?
The new inbox protection rules from Gmail and Yahoo are based on three main pillars:
- Authentication: Senders must set up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication for their emails, to prove that they are the legitimate owners of their domains and prevent spoofing.
- Unsubscribing: Senders must provide a one-click unsubscribe option in their emails and action unsubscribe requests within two days. This makes it easier for users to opt out of emails they don’t want to receive.
- Spam Complaints: Senders must keep their spam complaint rate below 0.3%, which means that users should not mark their emails as spam frequently. This indicates that their emails are relevant and valuable to their recipients and that the recipient has opted in.
While these rules are not new, they will become mandatory for senders who send more than 5,000 emails a day to Gmail and Yahoo addresses. If these rules are not followed, emails may be blocked, filtered or marked as spam by Gmail and Yahoo.
How to prepare for the new inbox protection rules?
If you want to avoid any negative impact on email deliverability and performance, start preparing for the new inbox protection rules as soon as possible.
- Use a custom domain: If you are using a free email domain (such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com) as your sender address, you should switch to a custom domain (such as @yourbusiness.com) that you own and can authenticate by adding to the DNS records.
- Authenticate your domain: If you haven’t done so already, you should authenticate your domain with SPF, DKIM and DMARC. This will help you avoid being mistaken for a spammer or a phisher, and improve your sender reputation. If you’re using SMTP2GO, this means verifying your sender domain. Adding a verified sender means that SPF and DKIM are automatically handled by us, and use DNS records at your domain name. We currently don’t handle DMARC – you will need to speak to your domain host and set up, at minimum, a p=none policy.
- Provide a one-click unsubscribe option: You should always make it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe from your emails, by providing a clear and visible unsubscribe link. You should also honor their unsubscribe requests within two days, and remove them from your mailing list. This will help you reduce your unsubscribe and spam rates, and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR. If you’re using SMTP2GO, we offer an unsubscribe feature that allows you to easily insert a one-click unsubscribe footer at the bottom of all of your emails. Using the SMTP2GO unsubscribe feature means that unsubscription requests are processed instantly.
- Monitor your spam rate: You should keep an eye on your spam rate, which is the percentage of your emails that are marked as spam by your recipients. You can use tools such as Google Postmaster Tools or Yahoo Postmaster Tools to track your spam rate, as well as useful tools within your SMTP2GO app. You should aim to keep your spam rate below 0.3%, which is the threshold set by Gmail and Yahoo. Also, make sure you’re sending to engaged recipients by using best list management practices. SMTP2GO has always had a very low tolerance for spam complaint levels.
Gmail and Yahoo’s 2024 inbox updates are a sign of the changing email landscape, where mailbox providers are becoming more strict and demanding with email senders. These updates are not meant to scare or punish, but to encourage senders to follow best practices and to provide a better inbox experience for all recipients.
SMTP2GO can help with domain authentication, unsubscribe management, spam monitoring and more. If you have any questions or concerns about the new inbox protection rules, contact us.