January 19

New Rules for Gmail Bulk Emails: What Marketers Need to Know

Online marketing

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Starting with February 2024, Google is changing the rules for Gmail bulk emails. Companies with mailing lists containing Gmail addresses must strengthen security and make it easier for users to unsubscribe.

The New Rule Benefits both Gmail Users and Businesses

Spam emails continue to be a huge problem for consumers. Every day, they see their inbox flooded by newsletters, special offers. They also get many phishing mails which look almost exactly like genuine communications from businesses impersonated by scammers.

In an effort to curb this issue, Google is enforcing new rules for companies that send bulk emails to Gmail addresses. These new rules will not only benefit consumers, but also businesses. Freed from the effort to remove spam messages, consumers will be more likely to open emails from their favourite brands.

What Must Businesses Do to Comply with the New Rule?

The new rules for Gmail bulk emails apply to any entity that sends more than 5,000 emails per day to Gmail addresses. These companies must follow the following guidelines:

1. Authenticate the Messages

Bulk email senders must authenticate their messages, using one of the following protocols:

  • SPF – Sender Policy Framework, a protocol that helps to identify the mail servers that are allowed to send emails for a given domain (your business website address)
  • DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail, an email authentication method that adds a digital signature to outgoing messages
  • DMARC – Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, an email identification protocol that protects your domain from unauthorised use.

2. One-Click Unsubscribe Option

Also, Google requires all marketers to ensure that their subscribers can unsubscribe with just one click. Practically, once a user clicks or taps the Unsubscribe button in the email body, they should not have to take any other steps, such as confirm their action.

The sender is obliged to honour the user’s decision within two business days.

3. Stay under the Spam Threshold

Finally, bulk email senders must ensure that the number of messages marker as spam per campaign stays under a threshold set by Google. Currently, this threshold is 0.3%.  This means that out of 5,000 emails sent to Gmail addresses, less than 15 should be marked as spam in order to comply with this requirement.

Domains which exceed this threshold may have all their messages automatically filtered out as spam.

Best Practices to Comply with the New Rules Gmail Bulk Emails

Google speaks in the announcement of the new rules of “email hygiene”, or a set of best practices to see your messages delivered to the subscribers’ Inbox folder.

Some of these best practices are:

  • Use a reputable emailing service
  • Clean up and update your emailing list continually, removing inactive subscribers
  • Immediately honour any unsubscribing request, no questions asked
  • Personalise email content to increase the opening rate
  • Segment mailing lists to send tailored and relevant content to various user groups.

Main Takeaways

Although these rules will apply for companies sending 5,000 or more emails per day to Gmail addresses, even businesses with smaller mailing lists should start following these rules.

Looking at the past actions taken by Google, a rule applying for specific situations often gets adopted at general level. Thus, even if your daily Gmail bulk emails are in the range of hundreds, you should still be proactive and keep your emails out of the Spam folder.


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