Email marketing is still an important part of any digital marketing strategy. As 2024 starts, there will be email deliverability compliance changes. This will affect your business’ email marketing. So, what are these changes and what should you do to comply? Let’s break it down in this post.
Google and Yahoo frequently revise their guidelines and adapt standards to safeguard the security of their email users. Compliance with these policies and guidelines is important so that your campaigns will not be affected negatively. Additionally, these modifications seek to strengthen email security, improve user experience, and ensure that the emails reaching users’ inboxes are not only relevant but also safe.
Strengthened Authentication Requirements
Mailbox providers are strengthening their authentication protocols to counter phishing and spoofing attempts. As of February 2024, email senders will need to adopt the most recent authentication standards, which encompass:
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) –
DMARC, short for domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance, is a protocol designed to verify the legitimacy of emails by using SPF and DKIM. This allows domain owners to safeguard their domains against unauthorised usage.DMARC issues guidelines to recipient servers on managing incoming emails. To be successfully delivered, messages must meet the DKIM and SPF alignment criteria specified by the DMARC policy. Emails failing these checks can be permitted, rejected, or categorised as spam.
By implementing a DMARC policy for your domain, you can fortify your defenses against spoofing, thereby minimizing the risk of your brand and recipients being exposed to potentially deceitful and harmful messages.
- DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) – DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) functions as a digital signature that is added to the email header and provides the sender’s identity verification. Email servers receiving the message will authenticate the DKIM signature against the corresponding sending domain. Notably, the DKIM signature persists in the email header even when the message is forwarded, distinguishing it from SPF authentication.
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) – Sender Policy Framework (SPF) serves as an email authentication technique created to identify fraudulent sender addresses in the email delivery process. SPF enables the receiving mail server to confirm that emails originating from a particular domain were dispatched through an IP address authorized by the domain administrators.In instances where an email is transmitted from an IP address not sanctioned by SPF, the receiving mail server may decline the email or relegate it to a location other than the main inbox. The absence of SPF records leaves IPs unable to be authenticated using your sending domain, leaving room for malicious entities to impersonate your brand with ease.
This additional requirement aims to guarantee the verification of emails, enhancing their reliability and trustworthiness for recipients.
Easier Unsubscription and Fewer Spam Complaints
Providers are placing a heightened focus on reducing unwanted emails. Senders should ensure that their unsubscribe mechanisms are clear, easily accessible, and promptly honoured. Failure to comply with unsubscribe requests promptly may lead to negative consequences for sender reputation. They will also be focusing on instances where they are seeing a 0.3% or over spam complaint rate. Consistently hitting 0.3% or over will result in lower reputation and possible deliverability issues.
Ways to Maintain High Engagement Rates and Minimize Spam Complaints:
- Send a Welcome series to each new subscriber, ensuring they actively open and engage with your emails. The messages should be as captivating as possible to maintain optimal engagement levels.
- Maintain a clean database by eliminating unengaged subscribers; remove or segment individuals who haven’t interacted with your emails in the past few months. Plan your emails with less engaged segments of your database—message them less frequently than your highly engaged audience. Your aim should be to re-engage their interest through compelling offers and personalised content.
- Eliminate bounced, invalid, and role accounts from your list, excluding emails with hard bounces and those with multiple soft bounces. For an added layer of caution, consider removing role accounts such as @info, @enquiry, @admin, @support, etc., as these emails are typically forwarded to various recipients, each with varying levels of engagement.
Enhanced User Engagement Metrics
Service providers are increasingly prioritising user engagement metrics to assess the pertinence and excellence of emails. Those who consistently exhibit low engagement rates may discover their emails redirected away from the main inbox.
To keep a favourable sender reputation, it is recommended that businesses concentrate on delivering content that connects with their audience and stimulates user interaction. Divide your database to exclusively target individuals interested in specific content (e.g., by demographic, category type, product type, etc.). Sending the same email to your entire database will not yield the same engagement rates as a well-segmented email. This is also known as implementing a behavioural segmentation strategy to target the appropriate audience will be crucial.
Email segmentation can be a bit tricky to set up. If you need help with this, book a call with us and we’ll be glad to help!
Mobile Device Optimization
Given that the majority of email opens occur on mobile devices, email providers are encouraging senders to tailor their emails for optimal mobile viewing. Emails that are non-responsive or inadequately formatted may face consequences in terms of both deliverability and user experience.
Will This Affect You?
The new guidelines are for businesses that are considered “bulk senders” or sending 5,000 or more messages daily to Yahoo or Google domains. A significant implication of these updates is that mailbox providers will now mandate a DMARC record for complete authentication clearance.
Take note that the term “bulk sender” can be misleading. Given the number of automated messages essential for a robust retention marketing program, a majority of online retailers will surpass 5,000 emails per day at least once a month, particularly during peak periods.
If you think you are not sending 5000 emails per day, we highly suggest reading this guide to make sure the new guidelines will not affect you. You can also contact us so we can check and guide you through the actions you need to take regarding the new email deliverability compliance changes.
If you are using third party software or apps such as Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Gorgias, Sendgrid, Shopify etc, you will most likely have seen warnings about needing to add the authentication records. To do this, you will need to be able to access your DNS records. If you don’t know how to do this or you need help, you can usually contact your domain hosting provider, or get in touch and we can assist.
Actions to Take:
In summary, Google recommends these actions to ensure your emails consistently reach your customers’ inboxes. The immediate priorities include:
- Establish SPF and DKIM email authentication for your domain.
- Implement DMARC email authentication for your sending domain.
- Prevent reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher.
- Ensure that marketing and subscribed messages feature a one-click unsubscribe option, with a clearly visible unsubscribe link in the message body.
- Increase engagement rates through segmentation and sending relevant content to your subscribers.
In the ever-changing digital environment, following email provider guidelines is crucial to upholding a favourable sender reputation and achieving successful email deliverability. Adjusting to the email deliverability compliance changes allows businesses to improve the security, relevance, and overall effectiveness of their email communications. Taking essential measures now ensures a seamless transition and ongoing success in your email marketing endeavours.
If you need help with these new guidelines or with your email marketing, contact us and we will gladly help you reach your digital marketing goals this year!