This month Google and Yahoo cracked down on spam email, and have implemented new requirements for bulk email senders. These changes may impact your organization’s email deliverability rates, so it’s important to understand the update.

This article will break down the key changes to email, how this might impact your revenue teams, and some strategies to increase your deliverability rates.

We cover:

Will my organization be affected by the change?

These changes apply if your organization is considered a bulk sender by Google.

Google defines a bulk sender as an email domain sending 5000+ emails per day to Gmail accounts. Many were worried that this would include business domains, but Google has since confirmed that this only applies to private email addresses.

This means most of the disruption applies to B2C companies. However, since it can be difficult to know how many contacts in your database are personal Gmail or Yahoo accounts, you may still run into issues as a B2B business. For example, if your clients have signed up for your newsletter using their personal email you may still end up as a bulk sender.

With this update, it’s better to double-check your email practices to avoid an unexpected drop in deliverability.

Note: Sending over 5000 emails to personal Gmail accounts from a domain once will result in your email domain being permanently assigned bulk sender status.

What are the email deliverability updates?

Three major changes will impact your organization’s email deliverability: authentication, unsubscription, and spam rate. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details of each new requirement.


Google and Yahoo are tightening their authentication requirements to cut down on spam. This should help to protect brands against gaining a reputation as a spammer.

There are several types of email authentication:

  • Sender policy framework (SPF)
  • Domain keys identified mail (DKIM)
  • Domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance (DMARC)

Google and Yahoo suggest strongly authenticating your email domain using SPF or DKIM, and DMARC. This means the domain in the From: header must be aligned with the SPF or DKIM. You must also set up DMARC authentication for your email domain, your enforcement policy can be set to p=none. 

Quick and easy unsubscription

Google and Yahoo want to ensure it’s a simple process for users to unsubscribe from commercial emails. With this in mind, bulk senders will be required to include a one-click unsubscribe link via the email header.

But that’s not all. The new requirements also instruct brands to process and act on these unsubscription requests within two days. 

Not exceed spam rate

The final requirement is to keep your spam rate under 0.1% for Google and never exceed a spam rate of 0.3%. Yahoo also requires senders to keep their spam rate under 0.3%.

This is an area where B2B organizations may struggle as’s research suggests that the average B2B spam compliance is 2.01%, which is well above the new limit.

Want to learn more about the changes from the source? Read Google and Yahoo’s FAQs.

Why did these changes happen?

These changes come as a way to improve the customer experience for Gmail and Yahoo users by reducing spam in inboxes and allowing customers to see the emails they actually care about. Which is a good thing if your newsletter provides value to your customers!

The update also aims to protect businesses and customers from impersonation and scams. The stricter authentication requirements will make it significantly more difficult for your company’s email domain to be impersonated. In turn, protecting your employees and customers from scams and malware.

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How will this impact your marketing teams?

Non-compliance will currently result in a temporary warning message and an error in sending emails from your domain. After April, non-compliant messages will get rejected by Google and Yahoo. 

For your marketing teams, this means reduced open rates and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns, as more of your emails will be sent straight to spam folders (or fail to send altogether). 

If your domain is flagged this will also impact password resets, receipts, account confirmation, and event invites reaching your customers’ inboxes.

How will this impact your sales reps?

While this is not the end of outbound sales, as was suggested by some publications, non-compliance may still impact your seller’s open rates. 

Since the policy applies to the email domain (rather than the individual seller’s email address), your sales reps’ emails may also get blocked or go straight to spam folders if your domain isn’t authenticated, or your marketing emails have a high spam rate.

If left unresolved your outbound sales will likely decline, as your sales reps struggle to reach prospect’s inboxes.

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5 steps to increase your organization’s email deliverability

With this in mind, what are some ways you can improve your email deliverability after these updates? We discuss five best practices that can help you stay ahead of the spam filter.

1. Ensure compliance

The first and most obvious step is to try to comply with the new requirements. This means double checking that your email domain is strongly authenticated as suggested by Google and Yahoo, including one-click unsubscribe buttons, and acting on unsubscribe requests within two days.

As the RevOps team, it may be useful for you to set up an automation system to unsubscribe contacts quickly and effectively to prevent human error from crashing your domain’s trust.

And if you haven’t already, you should set up your company’s domain on Google Postmaster. This tool will help you to track your spam compliance rate, helping you monitor when you are above the required 0.1%, and when you are in danger of surpassing that critical 0.3% spam rate.

Being aware of your spam rating straight from the source (Google) can ensure you take action before your domain is significantly affected.

2. Clean up your email list

When was the last time you cleaned your marketing database and email lists? If the answer is longer than six months ago, it might be time to take another look. Sending emails to contacts who haven’t interacted with your company in the last six months or longer puts you at risk of hitting their spam filter. 

On a large enough scale, this can easily take you above the spam compliance limit. 

But don’t panic, there are lots of benefits of cleaning your customer data to reduce initiative users including increased open rates, improved targeting and personalization, and more accurate data insights.

3. Add double opt-in 

Adding a double opt-in to your newsletter sign-ups means everyone signing up to your email list definitely wants to see emails from you. This is important as Google is prioritizing users seeing the content they actually want to see. 

Ensuring your customers want to see your emails and are willing to open them can help you stay out of their spam folders.

4. Improve your email copy

Along the same lines as our last step, improving your email copy can also help your email deliverability over time by ensuring your customers want to read your emails. Providing value in your newsletters and marketing campaigns is a must to boost your open rates.

For sales emails aim for one to three words in the subject line that relate to the email context and 30-70 words in the main body to improve deliverability. And try to avoid excessive follow-up emails, consider reaching out via LinkedIn before emailing again.

5. Diversify domains and marketing activities 

Utilizing multiple email domains can help to diversify the risk of declining email deliverability, as your marketing team can easily change the domain they’re using to allow an at-risk domain to cool down. 

Also, ensure your marketing team diversifies their campaigns beyond email marketing. Whether it’s social media campaigns, paid campaigns, SEO, or billboards, ensuring you have other avenues to promote your product is a must.


  • Email deliverability changes apply if your organization is considered a bulk sender by Google.
  • Google defines a bulk sender as an email domain sending 5000+ emails per day to Gmail accounts.
  • Google and Yahoo require strongly authenticating your email domain using SPF or DKIM and DMARC. 
  • Bulk senders will be required to include a one-click unsubscribe link via the email header and act on these unsubscription requests within two days. 
  • Keep your spam rate under 0.1% for Google and never exceed a spam rate of 0.3%. Yahoo also requires senders to keep their spam rate under 0.3%.

Want to discuss how this has impacted your business’ email deliverability with other revenue leaders facing this problem? Our community of 2000+ RevOps pros has been discussing this in our #questions channel.

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