Everything You Need to Know About Google and Yahoo’s New Sender Rules for Email

Everything You Need to Know About Google and Yahoo’s New Sender Rules for Email

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Over 347 billion emails were sent worldwide in 2023. That’s everything from conversations between friends, bank statements and invoices and those all-important sales and marketing emails. Right now, email marketers must cut through lots of noise to get their message across. But from 1st February that’s set to change. Thanks to Google and Yahoo’s new regulations and rules for email bulk senders, all the bad sales and marketing emails will start to disappear. Which is great news for those businesses who can get ahead of the game and navigate the rules to produce high quality email marketing content.

What Are the New Rules for Email?

Last year Google announced some changes to how its email service Gmail would secure its users from spam, phishing and malware landing in their inboxes. This is important; over 27% of all emails opened worldwide are Gmail, meaning failing to pass the new rules for email will lock you out of a huge segment of your customer base.

The new rules, which will come into effect in February, consist of three major changes:

  • New Domain Name System (DNS) guidelines

    These new guidelines are designed to keep emails secure and close loopholes used by attackers. Together these mechanisms work together to authenticate your emails source.

    • DNS Configuration
      Senders must have a “fully qualified reverse DNS” (FQrDNS), sometimes referred to as a “forward confirmed reverse DNS” (FCrDNS) configured, which double checks your IP addresses authenticity.
    • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) Protocols
      These protocols identify the server sending the email and verifies the sender, ensuring that the email hasn’t been tampered with. From February senders who deliver more than 5000 emails to either inbox at a single time they will need to have both DKIM and SPF protocols.
    • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC)
      A DMARC record helps specify what happens to emails if they fail authentication. The domain you send emails from must pass DMARC through either DKIM or SPF as above.
  • Unsubscribe best practice guidelines

    Many email marketing platforms have required senders to include unsubscribe links for some time. Not including a quick and easy way for users to unsubscribe is often a hallmark of senders who are concerned with quantity not quality in their email marketing.But for the first time Google is requiring all commercial emails that come into a Gmail inbox to have a one click unsubscribe link which is easily accessible and that you process requests within two days.

    Many businesses think offering an easy way to unsubscribe as sending a negative signal to customers, and marketers are used to making it harder for contacts to unsubscribe to reduce those signals to their stakeholders. If your customers are finding it difficult to unsubscribe from your lists, you risk being marked as spam.

    The new rules mean that the consequences of spam complaints outweigh the perceived negative signals of offering customers the chance to unsubscribe. You should now start making it as easy as possible for contacts to leave your databases.

  • New complaints limit threshold

    Senders will now need to keep the complaints rate – that is the number of users marking your messages as spam – below 0.3%. If you don’t, you’ll start to experience delays in delivery, increased bounce rates and if you consistently pass the threshold your emails will be blocked completely.

Something else to note is that if you currently send bulk email from a gmail.com domain using a third-party platform you will no longer be able to. Gmail addresses will now only be able to send email from their Gmail account directly.

For agencies who think this only affects their candidate data think again. This is important for B2B marketing too where Google has an even more prevalent market share. 67% of businesses rely on Google Workspace, compared to just 21% using Microsoft Office and Outlook.

It is still unclear just how Google Workspace will be impacted by the new rules for email. Google’s own guidelines are open to interpretation and there have been mixed messages among experts. Don’t ignore your B2B email! You should aim for best practice and a low complaint rate across all your email marketing.

How Will This Affect Your Recruitment Marketing?

The most important thing to address it that while these new rules for email will only affect bulk senders – defined by Google as someone who sends a volume of 5000+ emails per day – it’s important to stay alert when bulk sending at any volume.

Regardless of your average send volume, any day you go above 5000, the threshold compliant threshold takes effect. The rules do not specify that they apply to companies consistently sending 5000+ emails per day, and it can be extremely easy if you have several recruiters or consultants routinely sending out email at volume, whether that’s bulk candidate or client eShots, or automated at desk-level transactions to go over the threshold. This is made riskier thanks to the use of automation and CRM tools.

There is a definite risk for agencies who don’t educate their consultants properly on email best practice. At best the content you send will be less engaging and give you a poorer ROI. At worst, your consultants will play fast and loose with the rules, lumping you in with the bad sales and marketing emails that are going to disappear from inboxes and jeopardising your ability to send any emails through Gmail in the future.

These new rules for email mean that recruitment industry is going to have to rethink its approach to email marketing. In the short term your sales teams and individual recruitment consultants will need to think smarter when it comes to their email efforts.

What Should You Be Doing Before February?

Offering clear means of unsubscribing and using DMARC protocols are already industry standard and businesses and third-party providers are used to including them in email best practice. Your Email Service Provider (ESP) will be responsible for providing updates DNS records if required.

What is new is the emphasis on sending emails to contacts who want to receive them, and creating and sending high-quality email content that people want to receive.

Many businesses may be holding back on email in the early part of 2024 as they feel they don’t have a good enough understanding of the new bulk email guidelines. This means there is a massive opportunity for those who get ahead of the rule changes.

By educating your consultants and recruiters on the new rules for email and establishing the importance of email best practice now, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition.

“There is an opportunity here for businesses who are ready and confident in their best practices to be the leading voice in their customers’ inbox. As recruiters are looking to ‘get in there’ and get off to a good start in the new year this is not the time to dial email down, but the time to get it right and turn it up.”

– Harry Oakley, Marketing Automation Manager, Thrive Recruitment Marketing

You should also be considering:

  • Removing quotas for sales and recruitment teams based on number of emails sent
  • Reducing the volume of cold emails sent
  • Increasing focus on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and intent signals
  • Segmenting your email data and using targeted lists
  • Making your unsubscribe button clear and obvious
  • Batch sending emails and monitoring response rates

How Can Thrive Help You Reach Email Best Practice?

If your still nervous about what the new rules for email marketing mean for your business, Thrive can help. We’re experts at email marketing automation and best practice, with the aim to lead and champion change for email marketing in the recruitment industry. We want to help you find the right message to send to the right audience, at the right time.

This is a fantastic opportunity for your business to come out on top when it comes to email, and put email back at the heart of your recruitment marketing strategy!

Take Back Control of Your Email Marketing Strategy with Thrive

Thrive Recruitment Marketing is the leading employer branding and recruitment marketing agency for scaling and fast-growing businesses. We empower our partners to achieve their growth goals, attract new business and hire the right talent by aligning and activating employer and commercial brand strategies. The result – thriving businesses enjoying sustainable revenue and recruitment success.

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