Email Deliverability

A Complete Guide to 2024 Email Deliverability Updates: What to Expect From Gmail and Yahoo Mail

Team Braze By Team Braze Jan 8, 2024

Following the latest email deliverability guidelines is key to ensuring the success of your email marketing campaigns. After all, successfully landing in your subscribers’ inboxes is a crucial step in nurturing audiences. Keeping up with changing guidelines is a best practice in and of itself, as email marketing standards are continuously evolving in response to shifting consumer behavior, emerging industry regulations, and new requirements set forth by email services.

In October 2023, two of the most widely used email providers in the world, Gmail and Yahoo, announced updates they’ll be introducing in early 2024 that will affect email deliverability. To help you understand the new requirements, we’ll explore:

  • What email deliverability changes Google and Yahoo have announced for 2024

  • Why these email deliverability changes are happening

  • How these email deliverability changes from Google and Yahoo will impact marketers

  • Why email deliverability and email list hygiene are important

  • 4 Steps to take in preparation for these new email deliverability changes in 2024

  • How Braze is supporting stronger deliverability

What sender requirement updates have Google and Yahoo announced for 2024?

Google and Yahoo are rolling out new measures for bulk senders to follow to make email a safer, more secure, and enjoyable experience for customers.

As of early 2024, if your company sends bulk email* to high volumes of Yahoo and Google users, you will be required to…

1. Authenticate your emails

Email authentication is a practice designed to keep users from receiving fraudulent emails from spammers and spoofers and to stop third-parties from impersonating brands and people.

For individuals, email authentication is intended to ensure that email recipients are protected (from malicious individuals or entities impersonating other brands or people) and have confidence in the communications being delivered to their mailboxes.

For brands, email authentication is a first line of defense against inadvertently earning a reputation as a spammer.

There are several types of email authentication, including sender policy framework (SPF), domain keys identified mail (DKIM), and domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance (DMARC).

Google’s authentication requirements for 2024 state that bulk senders should “strongly authenticate” their emails with SPF or DKIM and DMARC to prevent spoofing and to avoid having the emails they send marked as spam. (See Google FAQs here.)

Yahoo’s authentication requirements for 2024 state that senders should “implement stronger email authentication” by using the following industry standard methods of authentication: SPF or DKIM and DMARC. (See Yahoo FAQs here.)

2. Allow recipients to easily unsubscribe from commercial emails in one click

Gmail and Yahoo want to make sure email users don’t have to jump through hoops to opt out of receiving future emails from brands. Going forward, bulk senders will be required to give subscribers the option of unsubscribing with just one click directly within their email campaigns, via the list-unsub header. (As part of that effort, both providers are mandating adoption of RFC 8058 by all impacted senders.)

Braze supports and is compliant with the one-click unsubscribe requirement. To learn more, see our documentation.

3. Process and honor users’ unsubscription requests within two days

Not only will brands have to make it easy to unsubscribe, they’ll have to act upon unsubscribe requests in a timely manner—processing users’ unsubscriptions within two days.

4. Not exceed set spam rate thresholds

Spam rate is the percentage of emails reported as spam by email users compared to the total messages received. Both Gmail and Yahoo are publishing spam rate thresholds, above which bulk senders are required not to surpass. You may see spam folder delivery or messages blocked for thresholds lower than 0.3% if other factors are present, so it’s best to keep your spam rate as close to 0.0% as possible. This helps to protect email users from receiving unwanted, unsolicited, or irrelevant messages.

Effective February 1, 2024, Google will require brands to keep spam rates reported in the company’s Postmaster Tools below a threshold of 0.10% and avoid reaching a spam rate of 0.3% or higher. Beginning in February 2024, Yahoo will also enforce a maximum spam complaint rate of 0.3%.

*Google defines bulk senders as any company or user who sends thousands of messages a day to Gmail recipients.

Why are these email deliverability changes happening?

Yahoo and Google are rolling out these new email deliverability requirements to improve the email experience for customers. The goal: To ensure their users’ inboxes aren’t flooded with unwanted emails and that individuals receive messages they actually want to read and engage with.

As part of the company’s October 2023 announcement about these changes, Google said that AI-powered filtering features that have been built into Gmail are helping support their goals and work to prevent more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware attempts from infiltrating users’ inboxes—blocking almost 15 billion unwanted emails per day. But the mailbox provider also recognized that there’s a need to do more to keep users’ inboxes safe and spam-free.

When bulk senders fail to secure their emails, neglecting to implement email authentication standards that verify the email sender’s identity, they’re vulnerable to impersonation by malicious third parties. Yahoo has said that requiring email authentication moving forward will help the company become more efficient at identifying and blocking spam, preventing billions of unwanted messages from reaching users’ inboxes.

How will these email deliverability changes from Google and Yahoo impact marketers?

Companies that are already following best email marketing sending practices—including authenticating emails and using an email marketing platform like Braze that automatically unsubscribe users upon their request—may not have to make too many adjustments to comply with these new rules.

Bulk senders that fail to authenticate their emails, enable one-click unsubscribes, process users’ unsubscribe requests within two days, or exceed Google’s and Yahoo’s spam rate thresholds risk negatively affecting their email marketing performance. Bounce rates may increase, leading to delays in email delivery or non-delivery of campaigns altogether. Even thoughtful, desired email communications could land in the spam folder, where intended recipients never see or interact with them—leading to reduced conversions.

According to Google’s email sender guidelines, if bulk senders don’t comply, a brand’s emails might be rejected outright or delivered directly to customers’ spam folders.

Why are email deliverability and email list hygiene important?

Email is an incredibly powerful channel for connecting and building relationships with customers, boasting a 38:1 ROI by some estimates. That said, just as it’s next to impossible to get someone to open their door without successfully knocking or ringing their doorbell first, it’s hard to successfully reach users’ inboxes without following email deliverability and email list hygiene best practices, both of which are key to generating positive email engagement that fosters a strong sender reputation. The stronger your sender reputation, the higher the likelihood that your emails will reach your intended audience.

Recipient engagement is the primary driver in mailbox providers' assessments of sender reputation. Too many complaints and a lack of positive engagement will lead to emails being blocked or delivered to users’ spam folders. Opens, clicks, replies, forwards, and moving mail from the spam folder to the inbox are all indications that mail is both wanted and expected by recipients, contributing to the likelihood of inbox placement in the future.

Keeping a healthy email list has long been an important tactic. Brands that target unengaged audiences (a classic benchmark is any email address where the recipient hasn’t opened or clicked over the last six months) run the risk of having their emails blocked or sent straight to junk.

The Braze Email Deliverability team recommends analyzing your email program to find the sweet spot that’s ideal for your engagement strategy. “Each sender is going to have a unique customer base and find distinct insights when they dig into their email data,” said Kelly Hogan, Senior Director, Global Email Deliverability and Compliance, Braze. “But our general rule of thumb is that organizations should make a point of setting up email validation, implementing a double opt-in at sign-up, and automatically sunsetting any user who hasn’t opened up one of their emails in the past six months. These are the practices that will lead to positive deliverability outcomes, no matter the industry or vertical.”

The latest changes from Gmail and Yahoo build upon these and other existing email deliverability and email list hygiene standards that are important for brands to understand and adhere to in order to be able to reach and engage their intended audience.

4 Steps to take in preparation for these updated sender guidelines in 2024

The best way to get ahead of these coming mandates from Google and Yahoo is to implement any changes necessary for complying with their new rules.

The following four steps are what both email services expect of bulk senders moving forward.

To learn more about these changes, check out our webinar, How to Prepare: The Major 2024 Changes Coming to Yahoo and Gmail.

How is Braze supporting stronger deliverability?

With more than 100 years of combined experience in the areas of deliverability and email strategy, the Braze Email Deliverability team enables best-in-class email marketing, empowering marketers to achieve success with all aspects of this potent channel, from deliverability to conversions and long-term retention. Here’s an overview of two Braze offerings that support stronger deliverability.

1. The Braze Email Deliverability Center

This self-service tool offers brands insight into their email performance, tracking data on sent emails and the company’s sending domain. Braze users can review their sender reputation by IP address or sending domain, check for authentication, and identify delivery errors to uncover and address any issues that might be impacting deliverability.

2. Braze Deliverability Monitoring and Premium Deliverability Services

Braze offers two professional service options that can help you to achieve your deliverability goals:

  • Email Deliverability Monitoring: With Deliverability Monitoring you’ll receive enhanced email onboarding sessions and one-on-one monthly check-ins with a named Braze Deliverability Consultant. This service provides guidance on IP and domain warming, monitoring and reporting on email performance and consultation on deliverability strategy.

  • Premium Deliverability Services: With Premium Deliverability Services, you’ll receive higher-touch onboarding and more in-depth ongoing support from a Braze Deliverability Consultant. Your named expert acts as an extension of your company’s email marketing team, offering in-depth insight into your company’s sending reputation and performance and help with strategic email initiatives.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, these new deliverability requirements mean that all email senders will be held to the known, consistent standards of excellence. That’s a benefit to marketers who are already doing the work of nurturing meaningful customer relationships. Brands that are committed to ensuring seamless, optimized consumer experiences stand to gain. As a result of these measures, there’s a greater chance for engaging brand messages to stand out as inboxes become liberated from unwanted emails and spam.

To learn more about these changes and how to adapt your strategy, join our upcoming webinar on January 9, 2024 as we walk marketers through everything that needs to be done to be in compliance with Google’s and Yahoo’s updated bulk sender requirements.

Email Deliverability FAQs

When do these email deliverability requirements from Google and Yahoo go into effect?

Yahoo’s requirements will begin to go into effect as of February 2024. Gmail’s rules will begin to go into effect on February 1, 2024. Both providers have given senders until June 1, 2024 to comply with the requirement for a one-click unsubscribe via the list-unsubscribe header.

What are some of the main bulk sender requirements that Google and Yahoo have introduced that go into effect in 2024?

Going forward, users that send high volumes of messages to Yahoo and Gmail email recipients will need to:

  • Authenticate their emails

  • Allow recipients to unsubscribe in one click

  • Honor unsubscribe requests within two days

  • Not exceed set spam rate thresholds of 0.3%

What email authentication methods will Google and Yahoo require bulk senders to implement in 2024?

Both Google and Yahoo are requiring high-volume senders to authenticate their emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

What might happen if bulk senders fail to meet these new requirements from Yahoo and Google?

Failure to comply with these measures could result in:

  • Increased bounce rates

  • Delayed email deliveries

  • Email communications filtered to users’ bulk/junk folders

  • Decreased sender reputation

  • Drops in email performance, including opens, clicks, and conversations

Featured Email Deliverability Resources

Team Braze

Team Braze

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