Gmail Guidelines for Bulk Senders (2023 changes)
Oct 17, 2023
Google recently announced major changes with the hope that they will reduce spam and lead to a more enjoyable Gmail experience. Beginning in February 2024 (and potentially even earlier), Gmail will begin requiring bulk senders to authenticate their emails, allow for easy unsubscribe and stay under a reported spam threshold.
To Google — a bulk sender is someone who sends more than 5,000 emails in one day to Gmail addresses. This includes accounts that are using Google Workspace and aren’t necessarily ending in @gmail.com.
Most Loops users would be considered bulk senders by this definition.
Let’s dive into these changes and how you can address them.
Changes to email authentication
It’s long been standard practice to set up authentication for SPF and DKIM. Many providers don’t require it, but Gmail’s new changes in policy will explicitly require it, along with DMARC.
Here’s what you need to know for each.
SPF: Prevents spammers from sending unauthorized messages that appear to be from your domain. When setting up SPF records, be sure to reference all email senders for your domain or risk being marked as spam.
DKIM: This must be turned on so that receiving servers are able to verify that the domain owner is actually the one sending the email.
DMARC: This is how you tell the receiving servers what to do with your message if they fail to pass SPF or DKIM. To pass DMARC authentication, messages must be authenticated by SPF and/or DKIM.
DMARC reports will allow you to easily see if other senders are impersonating your domain.
ARC: This will check the previous authentication status of your message so that if a forwarded message passes SPF and DKIM but fails ARC authentication, Gmail will treat the message as unauthenticated.
If you regularly forward messages, Google is recommending the use of ARC authentication.
IP addresses: Your sending IP address must have a PTR record in order to verify that the sending hostname is associated with the sending IP address. Your sending IP address must match the IP address of the hostname that you specify in your PTR record. Every IP address must map to a hostname in the PTR record.
Google has a tool that allows you to check for an accurate PTR record.
Note: If you are using Loops as your ESP we automatically handle this for you.
Make it easy to unsubscribe
Gmail is going to require one-click unsubscribe options for bulk senders.
Shady email marketers may be thinking this is bad as they prefer to hide (or completely ignore) unsubscribe options in their emails.
Honest email marketers will embrace this as it will ensure only their engaged and interested recipients will remain subscribed. There is no point in sending email to readers who do not wish to remain subscribed to the content you are sending.
There are two places you will likely find these one-click unsubscribe options. At the very top of the email and in the footer of an email. Both of these are enabled (and cannot be turned off) by default in Loops unless sending a transactional email.
Send wanted email
Gmail’s third and final requirement update is around sending wanted — or welcomed — email. Email that your recipients are expecting or excited to receive and won’t flag as spam.
It’s safe to assume that if you exceed their clear spam rate threshold of 0.3% that you will have an extremely (possibly impossible) hard time landing in your recipient’s primary inbox going forward.
Send good, wanted emails that are aligned with what your recipients actually subscribed and opted in to receiving.
Impact on Loops users
At Loops, it is our job for us to help get your messages to your recipient’s inbox whenever possible.
We currently automatically require DKIM and SPF for all users. We’ll be rolling out DMARC support as well for all and new users onboarding to Loops soon which will adhere to all of Google’s outlined best practices.
We currently also require mandatory one-click unsubscribe on all marketing emails for all of your recipients. This is in line with the current CAN-SPAM laws in the United States as well as Google’s new requirements.
Changes to the Gmail inbox are coming as soon as February 2024. The goal is to lead to less spam landing in the consumer's primary inbox.
As email marketers, it’s time to embrace these changes before your brand and messages take a hit.
Authenticating your emails with an email service provider like Loops is easy. We will take care of all the technicalities under the hood so you can focus on what matters most — writing engaging email.