To kick off the "spooky season," Google and Yahoo! have recently revealed significant policy updates that’ll make most digital marketers shriek! Beginning February 1, 2024, these changes will impact all bulk email senders who dispatch more than 5,000 messages per day to Gmail or Yahoo! email users.
This may be a scary change to share with your stakeholders, but the primary goal of these policies is to safeguard marketers AND consumers alike from email spoofing, phishing attempts, and to curtail unsolicited mail. Marketers and organizations that do not fully comply with the new policies will have their messages rejected by both email providers.
So, how do you prevent your messages from getting chased away by the policy monsters? Just follow the requirements below and your messages will be happily received like a band of merry trick or treaters!
Stronger Email Authentication (DMARC ) – Senders will need to implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). Most reputable marketing domains already have SPF and DKIM set up when they work with an ESP (Email Service Provider), but DMARC impacts more than just marketing - it's a global policy on the corporate/business domain that affects all the emails your company sends.
We’ve pulled together a few helpful DMARC resources to help make sure you’re on the right track. First, to see if your company’s domain is already set up with DMARC, we recommend using MXToolbox.com’s DMARC record check. Next, check out this helpful Google article on preventing spoofing and spam by implementing DMARC. Finally, ask for help. This isn’t a subject that is frequently talked about, so if you need help navigating or coordinating with your IT department to set up DMARC, let us know, we do it all the time!
One-Click Unsubscribe – It’s time to simplify the unsubscribe process. Marketers will be required to include a one-click opt-out link in all promotional campaigns. Additionally, Google will require all opt-outs to be processed within 2 days (as compared to the 10 days allowed by the CAN SPAM Act). Many ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo!, Apple) already support list-unsubscribe headers that put a one-click unsubscribe link when the message is displayed.
Spam Complaint Enforcement - While spam complaint rates have always been a factor in how your messages are delivered (more spam complaints, more junk folder placement, less engagement), there has been a bit of flexibility in its enforcement depending on your overall domain reputation. Starting in February 2024, Google (and likely Yahoo!) will enforce a spam complaint rate of less than 0.3%. This means, anything above that threshold will be delivered to the Spam/Junk folder. To stay in front of this, make sure you only send campaigns to recipients who have opted in and are engaging with your messaging. The best way to keep track of your day-to-day spam rate at Google is through Google Postmaster Tools.
These "new" requirements may seem somewhat familiar, many have been established as deliverability best practices for years. The moral of this story is, if you are a reputable sender with a good domain reputation, the concerns regarding unsubscribe and spam rate enforcement are likely minimal. It is worth noting, though, that DMARC adoption is not as widespread as SPF and DKIM.
We know that according to SpamResource.com, over 80% of evaluated domains DO NOT have published DMARC records. So, if you have not already done so, now is the time to implement DMARC.
Hopefully these updates aren’t too scary, and your team is set up to head confidently into 2024 knowing that simply complying with SPF and DKIM is no longer enough. With DMARC playing an increasingly crucial role in ensuring successful delivery, it's essential to adopt it now. Not implementing it could seriously impact your email deliverability, damaging your reputation and credibility.
Don’t be afraid to take proactive steps to protect your domain reputation, maintain trust with your recipients, and keep the conversation flowing seamlessly. If you need help in implementing DMARC or improving your email deliverability our experts can help.
And if you found this article helpful, you may also like the one we have discussing deliverability metrics at the ISP level.