In October 2023, Google and Yahoo separately announced major changes to their email delivery requirements for bulk senders (which Google defines as: “Those who send more than 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day”), with both platforms set to enforce these updates in early 2024. This announcement raised several key questions for marketers across every industry:
Implement these changes by January 31, 2024 for each of your domains:
Start with SPF, DKIM and DMARC Requirements
Strengthen your email security with DMARC, SPF, and DKIM authentication practices. By authenticating your brand, you’ll gain recognition and a positive reception on Yahoo and Gmail platforms, ultimately leading to improved inbox placement.
SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF, an email authentication standard, safeguards both senders and recipients from spam, spoofing, and phishing threats. Embedding an SPF record in your Domain Name System (DNS) establishes a public list of authorized senders permitted to send emails on behalf of your domain.
How to authenticate: Create your SPF record, which should look something like this:
Pro Tip: Postmark App provides one of the most helpful guides we’ve found for adding an SPF record – https://postmarkapp.com/guides/spf
DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)
DKIM enables domain owners to automatically add a ‘signature’ to emails originating from their domain. This cryptographic digital signature acts as a mathematical proof that the email truly originated from the claimed domain. Think of it in a similar way to how a signature on a check verifies the person who wrote the check.
How to authenticate: Include a DKIM header code (example below) in all your email sends.
Pro Tip: In Gmail, check an email’s header (including DKIM status) by clicking the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner of the email, then selecting ‘Show Original’ from the dropdown menu.
DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance)
DMARC doesn’t function as an email authentication protocol but serves as a policy checked by receiving mail servers prior to email delivery. It plays a crucial role in deciding the appropriate action when an email fails the authentication process.
How to authenticate:
Valid PTR Records: PTR records, or Pointer Records, function as the reverse lookup in DNS. While DNS acts as the Internet’s phonebook, linking domain names with IP addresses through A Records when you enter a URL, PTR records operate in the opposite direction. They help identify a domain when given an IP address in a reverse DNS lookup.
How to configure: Work with your site development team to establish a Reverse DNS zone. In DNS, a zone is a distinct segment of a domain namespace. The size of the zone is directly connected to the scale of your IP network.
Gmail’s “gmail.com” Policy: Gmail will quarantine emails impersonating “gmail.com” in the sending domain or Gmail From: headers if sent from anywhere other than a Google account.
Easy and Timely Unsubscription
Bulk senders are required to incorporate one-click unsubscribe options within the email body and a list-unsubscribe header. Additionally, these unsubscription requests need to be processed within two days according to the new requirements.
How to implement: Ensure that your unsubscribe process is a one-click process, and unsubscribed users are processed within 48 hours.
Spam Complaint Threshold
To tackle spam, Gmail and Yahoo are implementing a requirement for senders to keep their spam complaint rate below 0.3%. Going above this threshold might result in your emails getting blocked or directed to the bulk folder.
It’s important to keep in mind that while these changes may seem daunting, they are designed to enhance email security, reduce spam, and improve the overall user experience — goals that benefit all parties involved.
Just keep in mind: If you fail to meet these requirements your deliverability rates could fall, and your email campaigns might be automatically flagged as spam by Gmail or Yahoo servers — an email marketers worst nightmare.
WITHIN’s email marketing services can guarantee that your email marketing program not only complies with these new requirements but also boosts open rates, engagement, and lead conversions. Send us a message to learn how.