Alice Spencer
Alice Spencer
Posted 05 December 2023

Everything you need to know about the changes to Gmail and Yahoo’s standards coming in 2024

Gmail and Yahoo have announced they’ll be enforcing an updated set of standards come 2024. Let’s take a look at what these changes are and what this will mean for marketers next year.

First of all, never fear; the changes are hardly mammoth, but they are notable. In many cases the updates are simply revisions of existing standards. 

What will the changes do?

  • Authenticate email
  • Enable Easy Unsubscription
  • Only send emails that users actually want

Gmail will start enforcing these on the 1st February 2024. Yahoo has not given a specific date but has stated they will be ‘in the first quarter of 2024’

What does this mean?

All bulk senders will need to ensure compliance ahead of the enforcement dates. Gmail and Yahoo have defined ‘bulk senders’ as any that sends over 5,000 emails a day to their networks. 

This takes into account all mail types sent from your organisation, not just marketing emails but emails from any department.  

Authenticate Mail

Gmail and Yahoo will require all senders to authenticate their mail with SPF and DKIM. The good news is that if you’re an Ometria client this is already in place; the DNS records required for setting up SPF and DKIM are supplied during onboarding.

Additionally, both Gmail and Yahoo will require all bulk senders to have a DMARC record in place.

DMARC is an email authentication protocol designed to help email domain owners protect their domain from unauthorised use. 

One of DMARC’s core features is the reports returned from mailbox providers. These help identify email streams that are not fully authenticated as well as abuse of your domains.

What you need to do

  • Ensure records for your Ometria DKIM key and Return-Path domain are still in place. You may need to speak with your IT or DNS team to get this checked.
  • If you have a DMARC record in place: Check that it covers all your sending domains. You may need to speak with your IT or DNS team to get this checked.
  • If you don’t yet have a DMARC record in place: Implement a DMARC record to cover all sending domains. You may need to work with your IT or DNS teams to set this up.  
  • Ensure your DMARC record includes a valid a “rua” tag, which is properly set up to receive reports.

Ometria can provide recommendations for DMARC specialists.

Easy Unsubscription

As well as the standard unsubscribe link in the body of an email, Gmail and Yahoo require senders to use a ‘one-click unsubscribe’. This means including a list-unsubscribe header in emails when they’re sent.

The good news for the Ometria community is that Ometria already includes the list-unsubscribe header in your campaigns for you, so no action is required. 

Mailbox providers and email clients use the list-unsubscribe header in several ways, e.g. Yahoo’s subscription management, or when Gmail suggests unsubscribing from brands the contact hasn’t opened in 30 days:

Send mail contacts actually want

Both Gmail and Yahoo enforce a 0.3% complaint rate threshold. If the threshold is reached, you can expect slower delivery rates, being placed in the spam and even blocks folder. Gmail recommends keeping complaints below 0.1%, and you may even start to see some penalties for exceeding this. 

Gmail’s advice

  • Only send email to people who want to get messages from you so they’re less likely to report messages from your domain as spam. 
  • If messages from your domain are frequently reported as spam, future messages from you are more likely to be marked as spam. Over time, spam reports can lower your domain’s reputation.

Yahoo’s advice

  • Check you’re only sending mail to users who specifically requested it.
  • Honour the frequency of the list’s intent. Don’t start sending daily emails to subscribers who signed up to weekly or monthly mailing.
  • Don’t purchase mailing lists or subscribe users by having an opt-in checkbox automatically checked on your website.

What you need to do

  • Review your mailing lists and segmentation. Ometria’s success team is on hand to support and make recommendations on segmentation so please reach out if you need further guidance on where to start
  • Ensure you have plans in place for inactive contacts including re-engagement campaigns and rules on when to stop contacting them altogether

Shutdown Date

In preparation for their new standards, Gmail has announced a shutdown of Gmail accounts that have been inactive for 2 years. The shutdown started on the 1st December 2023. As a result higher numbers of hard bounces are expected to be seen after the 1st December where senders are mailing to these contacts. These hard bounces will be automatically added to the suppression list.

Thanks the Ometria Deliverability team for ensuring Ometria customers stay on top of all updates and changes. If you want to know more about the Deliverability support each Ometria client has, speak to one of our retail-experts today.

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