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How to Prepare for Gmail & Yahoo’s New Email Sender Requirements

Jenna Weinholtz - CRM Manager

Starting in February, Gmail and Yahoo will begin enforcing new email deliverability policies. These updated sender requirements were created to protect users and prevent spam and unwanted messages from getting into email subscriber inboxes. Over the past few years, consumers have increasingly become subject to receiving messages they never signed up for and have difficulty unsubscribing from, and continue receiving email long after they’ve unsubscribed. This led Google and Yahoo to partner in an effort to make inboxes safer, reducing risk of phishing, spam and malware.

Complying with these new policies is essential for your email messages to continue to reach your subscribers. Below is your guide to understanding these new sender requirements and recommendations to stay compliant.

Areas of Email Marketing Impacted by the Updates

These new sender requirements will impact all bulk email senders, which is defined as sending more than 5,000 daily emails to Gmail and Yahoo addresses. Email marketers will see changes in email authentication, unsubscribe links and spam rate thresholds.

Email Authentication – Eliminates spam and reduces brand fraud.

  • Bulk senders must authenticate their emails and cannot use a shared domain. They must also maintain their SPF and DKIM authentication and publish DMARC policies.

Unsubscribe Links – Removes users from brand sender lists in a timely manner and prevents them from receiving future unwanted emails.

  • Bulk senders must provide one-click unsubscribe functionality, which includes adding a specific one-click unsubscribe code in your email headers and a visible link in the message body.

Tip: You can still provide subscribers with a preference center to manage their subscriptions as a secondary link option.

  • Provide an obvious and visible unsubscribe link that doesn’t require users to log in.
  • Senders must process and honor unsubscribes within two days.
    • Note: This is a reduced time frame from CAN-SPAM’s mandated 10-day period to process opt-outs.

Spam Thresholds – Protects users from receiving messages that other users have determined to be spam.

  • Spam rates should not reach or exceed 0.3% in order to be delivered to inboxes.

Actions You Need to Take Now to Prepare & Evolve

Depending on the initial setup of your email domain and the email service provider (ESP) you use, you might need to take action to remain compliant with these new sender requirements.

Email Authentication:

  • Set up or check the SPF and DKIM email authentication for your sending domain.
  • Ensure that sending domains or IPs have valid forward and reverse DNS records.
  • Set up DMARC email authentication for your sending domain.

Unsubscribe Links:

  • Enable one-click unsubscribe in the email header and include a clearly visible unsubscribe link in the message body.
  • Confirm your ESP maintains opt-status in real time and always check opt-in status prior to message delivery.

Spam Thresholds:

  • Set the benchmark of your current spam rate — percentage of emails reported as spam relative to the total number of emails delivered to inboxes.
  • Monitor your spam rates with each deployment.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

These sender requirements are in the spirit of creating a safer, more enjoyable experience for Gmail and Yahoo email users, while also being beneficial to email senders. Email authentication makes you less vulnerable to spoofing and spam attacks. One-click unsubscribe functionality allows users to opt out of email lists easily, keeping your database cleaner and more active. And a reduced spam threshold ensures the content email subscribers receive is relevant to them.

So, as you make these necessary updates to your email marketing program, also consider measuring your spam score and email sender reputation prior to each campaign deployment utilizing your ESP or a third-party platform. This will ensure your emails are successfully delivered to inboxes through various email providers and prevent spam delivery. It is important to spam check every email due to ever-changing algorithms and requirements that may inadvertently cause your messages to hit the spam folder instead of the inbox.

Jenna Weinholtz, Pittsburgh marketing agency CRM manager for 9Rooftops.

Jenna elevates customer engagement and ROI through strategic campaign management. Jenna’s focus on personalized customer experiences begins in the ideation phase alongside the client and carries through strategy and implementation. Connect with Jenna on Linkedin.

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