Google and Yahoo recently announced new guidelines outlining changes to how their platforms—Gmail and Yahoo Mail—will receive emails. These adjustments are set to affect millions of users, as well as countless global companies that engage with customers or prospects via email.
The main headline is that businesses will face more stringent requirements to avoid being marked as spam. However, to help you understand what these changes mean in detail—and how you can prepare—we’ve pulled together this five-minute explainer.
Who Is Impacted?
If you use email for sales, customer support, or marketing, the changes are likely to impact you. Gmail and Yahoo together make up around 27.5% of the email client market. With a little back-of-the-napkin math, that equates to over 1 billion users globally.
However, if we look at the details, there are a few subtleties for each platform based on what we know so far.
Gmail has an additional set of requirements for users sending over 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts. In other words, if you use email for sales or related practices, you’re likely to be impacted (either now or when your business grows).
Yahoo also mentions that it will add additional requirements for bulk senders. However, it doesn’t define exactly what this means. If you’re using email for your business, it’s best to assume you will be affected.
How Will We Be Impacted?
So, what does the fine print say? First up, both Yahoo and Gmail state that you should only send emails to those who clearly indicate they want to hear from you.
There’s an emphasis on this being a genuine desire—automatic opt-ins are a big no-no, and as Gmail reminds users, these are, in fact, illegal in some regions. Automatically adding email addresses to marketing or other lists following a purchase is also discouraged.
How should we confirm recipients are happy to receive emails?
Gmail suggests that you should confirm a recipient's email address before they are added to a list. Yahoo likewise recommends that you should have an email that asks new subscribers to opt in.
Should we let people unsubscribe?
Everyone’s experienced that one brand that won’t stop emailing. Not only is it frustrating for users, doing more harm than good to the brand, but it’s also illegal.
Both Gmail and Yahoo require one-click unsubscribe options in your emails, and they also state that those unsubscribe requests should be processed within two days. To simplify this, Gmail and Yahoo have provided header codes to implement one-click unsubscribe.
What else do we need to know?
The ultimate goal for Gmail and Yahoo is a better inbox experience for end-users and improved use of email by businesses. A big part of that is cutting spam rates—with Gmail noting that senders need to keep rates reported by its Postmaster Tools service below 0.3%. Yahoo meanwhile uses its Complaint Feedback Loop, to manage spam, helping senders track spam complaints and avoid sending complainants further messages.
Going further into the details, both Gmail and Yahoo have provided additional guidance on email authentication methods and policies such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. It’s worth reviewing these and working with your IT team to confirm you are meeting the requirements.
Finally, how you format your sales or marketing emails can have a big impact on both how they are processed by clients like Gmail or Yahoo, and how engaging audiences will find them. Gmail provides a set of tips on how to use the right formatting to increase the likelihood of your emails reaching inboxes, and not ending up in a spam folder.
When Will We Be Impacted?
It’s best to start reviewing and implementing the changes as soon as you can—Gmail has confirmed that the guidelines will come into force on February 1, 2024. Yahoo, meanwhile, hasn’t provided an exact date but notes it will roll out the changes in the first quarter of 2024.
It’s worth getting ahead as, even before these dates, not applying these new regulations could result in your emails being marked as spam or not being delivered as intended.
How Else Can Our Sales Teams Improve Communication?
Email is an important part of the "smarketing" (sales + marketing) or customer support mix, but it’s not everything. In fact, it becomes even more helpful when it's plugged into your other customer outreach efforts.
Take an integrated phone and communication platform, for example. This can help you connect with customers or prospects on a more meaningful level. Real conversations are the opposite of unwanted spam, helping you to get to know your customers, offer them services or products directly related to their needs, and build your team’s knowledge and skills in the process.
What’s more, by connecting your phone and communication platform with critical tools—whether your Gmail inbox or your CRM—you can ensure your email, phone, and other sales or marketing efforts are working in harmony.
As Gmail’s and Yahoo’s new guidelines come into force, use this time to take stock of your wider sales and marketing mix and start optimizing for a better customer experience across the board. If you want some tips on how to get started, check out our guide to creating a smoother customer experience here.
Better Communication, Happier Customers
While your business will need to prepare for Yahoo’s and Gmail’s new requirements, it’s for a worthy cause. A better experience for end users ultimately means stronger results for your business.
By embracing the new changes, alongside some fine-tuning in areas like phone calls and integrations, you can kick 2024 off with more meaningful conversations, a stronger pipeline of prospects, and happier customers.
Want to learn more about how you can create stronger conversations in the year ahead? Speak to the Aircall team today.
Published on January 2, 2024.