Cracking Down on Spam: Gmail’s 2024 Update and Its Impact on Email Marketing

2024 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for marketers!

Google recently announced that it will enforce a new set of standards that are set to transform the way bulk emailers communicate with their audiences. (For context, a “bulk emailer” is defined by Google as an entity that sends over 5,000 emails daily to Gmail addresses.)

The good news is that these changes aim to make email marketing more secure, efficient, and effective for both senders and recipients. However, companies who fail to prepare to work within these stricter guidelines will very likely see their email deliverability drop – meaning your email marketing will have a lesser reach/impact. Yikes! 

So, let’s dig into the details of this latest update and what it means for email marketers like you.

Our Expert Insight Into the Three New Email Marketing Requirements

Google’s new bulk email rules revolve around three critical aspects: 

  • Email authentication
  • Simplified subscription
  • Maintenance of a low spam rate

Our certified marketing automation and CRM consultants at MAC have distilled these complex concepts into simple, actionable insights that you can easily implement in your email marketing strategy.

Here’s what each of these requirements mean for your email campaigns:

1) Authenticating Email

Google’s first requirement insists on the strong authentication of emails. For bulk senders, this means closing security loopholes often exploited by malicious actors. This is an opportunity for marketers to further solidify trust with their audience.

Actions You Should Take

To meet Google’s authentication requirements, you should ensure the use of digital signatures on all outgoing emails, including:

  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)

By doing so, your emails will have a much higher chance of landing in your subscribers’ inbox rather than the spam folder. This reduces the risk of being labeled as spam and reinforces your brand’s image as a trusted sender.

2) Simplifying Unsubscription

Google mandates that large senders must allow Gmail recipients to unsubscribe from commercial emails with just one click and process these requests within two days. The intent is to eliminate complex unsubscription steps that often deter users.

Actions You Should Take

At MAC, we believe this shift towards user convenience can actually help email marketers. A simplified unsubscription process means a cleaner, more engaged subscriber list.

Currently, many organizations ask subscribers to fill out a short form to unsubscribe. They’ll often ask users to enter their email addresses, reasons for unsubscribing, and other miscellaneous details.

Instead, we suggest integrating one-click unsubscription links in all your marketing emails and setting up automated processes to handle unsubscription requests. 

You may need to reconfigure your opt-out user experience and back end workflows to implement this one-click functionality. However, it’s an easy way to help your organization stay compliant with Google’s new regulations!

3) Maintaining Low Spam Rates

Google is setting an industry standard by enforcing a clear spam rate threshold. This measure aims to protect Gmail users from an onslaught of unwanted messages.

To meet this requirement, you must send only high-quality, relevant emails to engaged subscribers.

Actions You Should Take

To maintain a low spam rate, make sure you follow the opt-in best practices we discussed! We recommend regular data cleanups to remove inactive and unengaged subscribers from your list. Creating a preference center can help your subscribers manage their subscription preferences and prevent them from marking your emails as spam.

You should also consider developing a strong inbound lead generation strategy—if you don’t already have one! Email list purchases will be more risky now than ever. Inbound lead generation can be more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run. It helps you build trust and credibility with your audience, which will prevent them from marking your emails as spam. They’ll also be more likely to become paying customers!

If paid lists is a strategy that is critical for your business, we recommend protecting your domain’s reputation by utilizing a secondary email blast platform to handle cold outreach.

Your Next Steps for Bulk Email Compliance

Want expert support in navigating these new bulk email rules? Our experienced consultants can help you:

Assess Your Compliance

Our first step is to carry out a thorough evaluation of your current email marketing practices. We’ll scrutinize your strategies to expose any weak points that may undermine compliance with Google’s new rules. Identifying and rectifying these shortcomings is key if you want to prevent a drop in your email deliverability rate.

Audit Your Opt-In Practices

We’ll help you refine your marketing opt-in practices to ensure that every individual in your subscriber list has willingly chosen to receive your emails.

Our approach includes a comprehensive review of your existing opt-in methods. We’ll identify areas of improvement and recommend best practices—such as the use of double opt-in processes for better verification.

Cleanse Your Data

Our data cleansing process involves methodically identifying and removing inactive or unengaged subscribers from your list. This practice reduces the likelihood of your emails being flagged as spam.

By focusing your efforts on subscribers who demonstrate genuine interest in your content, you will improve your overall deliverability rate and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Establish a Preference Center

Our experts will help you design and implement a user-friendly preference center that aligns with your brand aesthetic and adheres to Google’s new rules. We focus on simplicity and transparency, clearly describing what each subscription entails and how often you’ll send emails.

With a preference center, your subscribers will feel more in control, which promotes trust and engagement. This helps maintain a low spam rate and improves the overall subscriber experience, leading to increased open rates and conversions. Trust us to help you leverage this powerful tool to its fullest potential.

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Samantha Warren

Samantha Warren is a digital marketing expert with over six years of experience in crafting 360° campaigns that marry creativity with strategy. She has helped clients in a variety of industries, including e-commerce, technology, and healthcare, to reach new heights with their marketing initiatives.