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As email inboxes become increasingly crowded, cutting through the noise and ensuring deliverability is a mounting concern for marketers. With impending changes announced by tech giants Google and Yahoo, the landscape of email marketing is poised for a shift. Starting in October 2023 (February 2024 for Yahoo), anyone sending over 5,000 emails daily to Gmail and Yahoo users must comply with new provisions to enhance transparency and trust. While Google already has measures in place to help keep spam out of their inboxes and for users to report, the new rules are aimed at senders. If this isn’t ringing alarm bells for your CRM team yet, keep reading.

What are the changes?

Google's intent is clear: make it more challenging for spammers to infiltrate your inbox. Gmail will now require senders dispatching more than 5,000 messages per day to include a one-click unsubscribe button in their messages. Moreover, if messages from a sender are frequently marked as spam, crossing the "clear spam rate threshold" of 0.3%, Gmail may choose not to deliver those messages at all.

How can marketers and brands get on the front foot?

There are some simple steps marketers can take to mitigate the damage from these incoming rules. Without addressing these steps, your emails run the risk of sudden death, and worse, if your company does not take action, you could be barred from sending emails at all. Avoid costly mistakes and note these strategies that will guarantee the continued success of your email campaign deliverability.

  1. Ensure proper email authentication

Google and Yahoo’s directives highlight the significance of email authentication. Previously recommendations, these protocols will soon be stringent requirements. Proper email configurations and authentication via Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) ensure legitimate emails are delivered while filtering out potential spam.

In the wake of these announcements, senders are urged to not only establish but also regularly monitor their DMARC records. These records can provide insightful data, including the volume of emails passing authentication checks and those failing, potentially indicating malicious activities.

Ensuring that your emails are correctly authenticated is crucial for deliverability. Marketers should implement and monitor protocols such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance). These configurations validate the sender's identity, helping to prevent phishing and ensuring emails land in the recipient's inbox. As stricter rules on authentication are anticipated, having a dedicated IP and an authenticated domain is beneficial. Additionally, keeping an eye on IP reputation and monitoring it at least once a week can provide insights into any potential issues before they escalate.

  1. Adapt to the one-click unsubscribe

Ensuring a smooth and quick unsubscribe process is paramount. Implementing a one-step opt-out, where users can unsubscribe with a single click, usually in the footer of the email, enhances user experience. Preference centers should also be optimized for ease of use. Given the impending changes, marketers must adapt to requirements such as honoring unsubscribes within two days, ensuring that systems remove the person from the mailing journey promptly. Additionally, embracing practices like double opt-in can help maintain a clean and engaged mailing list, ultimately contributing to better deliverability.

Both Google and Yahoo are introducing a mandatory one-click unsubscribe button to the email subject line. This significant change emphasizes user choice and control, making it easy for the consumer to take control of their email experiences. It also underscores the need for brands to better understand who they’re emailing and to ensure they are engaging audiences with resonant content, in order to minimize the likelihood of unsubscribes. More on double opt-in a bit further down…

  1. Optimize engagement, organic growth, and volume consistency:

Focusing on sending emails to your most engaged customers can improve deliverability. Prioritize quality over quantity by slightly reducing your sending volumes if your IP reputation decreases. It's essential to avoid major peaks and troughs in email volumes. By sending emails consistently and ensuring meaningful content, marketers can keep spam complaints below the threshold of 0.3%, preventing the IP from getting blocked. Additionally, tracking engagement metrics such as Click-Through Rates (CTR) and spam rates can help tailor content that resonates with the audience.

These upcoming changes underline the importance of organic list growth and meaningful subscriber engagement. A well-curated and engaged mailing list can mitigate the chances of hitting spam thresholds, ensuring consistent inbox placement.

  1. Prepare for future requirements

While SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are currently in the spotlight, marketers are encouraged to anticipate and prepare for potential future requirements. Techniques like Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) and Google's Verified Checkmark may gain prominence and become prerequisites.

The case for double opt-in: elevating deliverability and engagement

For companies relying heavily on profitability from email journeys, establishing a double opt-in process can seem daunting and risky. We understand the caution; however, implementing a double opt-in authentication process is emerging as a crucial strategy to enhance both email deliverability and subscriber engagement.

1. Enhanced Deliverability and Reputation:

Double opt-in is a two-step process wherein subscribers sign up for an email list and confirm their subscription through a validation email. This method ensures that only valid email addresses are added to your list, preventing bounces and safeguarding your sender's reputation. A clean list with minimal bounces sends a positive signal to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), increasing the likelihood of your emails landing in the inbox rather than the spam folder.

2. Mitigating Spam Traps:

Spam traps, which are email addresses used by ISPs to identify and monitor spam, can significantly harm a sender's reputation. By employing double opt-in, marketers ensure that the email addresses on their list are genuine and actively engaged, thereby avoiding spam traps and improving overall deliverability.

3. Building a Highly Engaged Audience:

While a double opt-in process may seem like an additional step, it effectively filters out disinterested subscribers. Those who take the time to confirm their subscription are demonstrating a higher level of interest and are more likely to engage with your content. Highly engaged audiences not only improve open rates and click-through rates, it also reduces the chances of being marked as spam. These audiences also will not be impacted by Google and Yahoo’s deliverability updates.

4. Compliance and Respect for Subscribers:

The double opt-in process aligns well with data protection and privacy regulations, showcasing a brand's commitment to respecting user choices. By allowing subscribers to confirm their interest, marketers foster trust and set the stage for a more meaningful and compliant relationship.

5. Precision Targeting and Personalization:

Subscribers who opt-in twice are more likely to provide accurate preferences and data. This allows for personalized and targeted content, increasing the relevance of your emails and further boosting engagement and deliverability.


While the double opt-in process may initially seem like a hurdle, it is a strategic move that pays dividends in the long run. By ensuring a list of engaged, genuine, and interested subscribers, marketers can significantly enhance email deliverability, foster trust, and build a solid foundation for successful email marketing campaigns.

The changes from Google and Yahoo herald a new era in email marketing, emphasizing authenticity and subscriber engagement. By adapting to these requirements and focusing on delivering value, marketers can not only ensure deliverability but also forge stronger, more transparent connections with their audiences.