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Yahoo & Gmail Email Marketing Requirements: How to Send Safely in 2024

March 19 - 2024

Email Marketing Strategy 5 min read

Yahoo gmail requirements

New changes to Yahoo and Gmail’s sender guidelines are now in effect. Starting in February 2024, both providers are now enforcing new authentication requirements and spam prevention policies that aim to make it easier to unsubscribe from emails, force senders to complete stricter authentication processes and keep spam scores down.

What do these changes mean for your email marketing campaigns? The answer really depends on how your email process works, how you treat your customer database and how well your business has historically embraced GDPR and accessibility standards.

With over 2 billion users shared between Yahoo and Gmail, we must understand precisely what these changes are, how they might impact our campaigns and what we can do to stay ahead of future updates.

Before we start, note that adapting to Google’s stricter standards will cover you for both Gmail and Yahoo – so we’ll focus our advice on that…

Who do the changes affect?

These changes are addressed to all senders. There are additional requirements for anyone deemed a ‘bulk sender’ by Google – that’s any email sender that sends 5,000 messages or more to personal Gmail accounts within a 24-hour period. Senders who meet the above criteria at least once are permanently considered bulk senders.

Five thousand per day might sound like a LOT – but you might be surprised by how easy it is for certain types of business to exceed that threshold without realising it.

Automations such as welcome campaigns, basket abandonment flows and post-purchase follow-ups all count. Before discounting yourself as a bulk sender, you should factor in all your existing automations.

Even if you don’t hit the bulk sender threshold, the new requirements are actually a good set of standards for everyone to aim for – implementing them won’t just help you comply with Google and Yahoo. They’ll improve overall deliverability in order to get your emails in front of more customers successfully.

What has changed?

Gmail and Yahoo have introduced new requirements to make senders more legitimate. While many of the requirements are already considered best practices for improving email deliverability, the fact that Google is now enforcing them makes it clear that businesses need to adapt or fall behind.

The requirements are, broadly speaking, about authentication. Rather than list each change individually, we’ve created a simple summary of what marketers need to know.

How is Google’s sender policy changing?

  • Stricter requirements for authentication – all senders must set up SPF or DKIM authentication, ‘bulk’ senders must set up SPF, DKIM & DMARC.
  • Only send from custom domains – business emails coming from @gmail or @yahoo addresses have never provided a great user experience, but now, failing to use your own custom domain will see your emails going straight to spam.
  • Quantified spam targets – senders must keep spam rates reported in Postmaster Tools below 0.10% and make sure you never exceed 0.30%.
  • Easier unsubscribes – all marketing emails and subscribing messages must now offer one-click unsubscription and have clearly visible unsubscribe links in the body of the message.

What you need to do

If you’re already working with Jarrang, you don’t need to do anything – we’ll have already taken steps to address these changes. Deliverability is absolutely crucial to effective campaigns, so every campaign we work on will follow best practices that keep you well ahead of Gmail and Yahoo’s requirements.

For anyone else, however, you do need to make a few changes to ensure your emails reach their intended audiences. Whether you’re a ‘bulk sender’ or not, all of these steps are worth doing to improve your deliverability.

Only send emails using a custom domain

All senders should remove @gmail or @yahoo from their sender addresses. If you’ve yet to set up a custom domain and related email addresses, now’s the time – most web hosts and domain providers will be happy to help.

If you use a third-party email programme or have a site created with a site-building tool like Wix, GoDaddy or Squarespace, make sure your ‘From’ address is coming from your domain rather than ‘via Wix’ or similar.

Set up the correct authentication policies

Email authentication helps protect users by verifying that any emails they receive are sent from genuine organisations or people. They are an important part of preventing spam and other nefarious activity like phishing and hacking attempts.

As a sender, you need to check your existing authentication methods against Gmail and Yahoo’s stricter criteria. Google states that all senders should have SPF or DKIM set up on their domains as a minimum – but bulk senders should have SPF, DKIM and DMARC.

DMARC acts as an additional layer of security. Emails can only pass DMARC authentication if they have already been authenticated by SPF and/or DKIM. You can (and should) set up DMARC reports to identify domain impersonators or other hijacked sending activity.

You can set up DMARC authentication via your DNS settings yourself, or ask your web provider for help.

Ultimately, we’d recommend that every business – regardless of how many emails you send- set up all three authentication methods to help keep deliverability high.

Make unsubscribing easier

If a user wants to opt out from your emails, you need to make it as simple as possible (no outdated marketing tricks like changing the unsubscribe text colour to make it harder for users to see!)

We know it can be painful to lose subscribers when you’ve worked to build a database, but the new requirements from Google are a clear sign of best practices. Google states that marketing and subscribed messages must do both of the following:

  • Support one-click unsubscribe
  • Include a clearly visible unsubscribe link in the message body

Adding a one-click unsubscribe button to the email header is the most effective way to deal with this and to ensure users can quickly opt out. Ask your domain provider or email marketing team to make sure this is in place or you’ll see deliverability plummet.

Send engaging email campaigns to cut spam

Your email marketing campaigns are meant to engage your customers and offer them something they genuinely value. Failing to meet their expectations by sending too many emails or content that is irrelevant to your brand will quickly see your messages flagged as spam.

Gmail now requires that senders keep spam rates below 0.10%, so you must ensure that all your messages are things your recipients will be comfortable receiving to avoid them hitting the ‘mark as spam’ button.

Stay ahead of change with better email marketing management

The message behind Gmail and Yahoo’s changes is clear: senders need to make sure they’re creating authentic email campaigns that prioritise user experience. Take this as an opportunity to review your database, remove inactive users and ensure you have all the relevant authentication processes in place.

If you need help scaling your email campaigns, Jarrang can help. Our team brings email-specific expertise and resources to instantly augment your marketing activity and help you get better campaign results.

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