Are you ready for the changes in the Gmail spam filter?

Deliverability is a key aspect of any email marketing campaign, that our newsletters end up in the SPAM folder, or not, depends on several factors. Some more technical and other related to always observing best practice policies.

As for the technical part, you must not worry, the Mailrelay Team deals with this, and any doubt you may have, just contact us.

But in terms of best practice, it’s up to yourself to be careful.

It is clear that one of the key aspects is the engagement.

That is, not only our subscribers have signed up and have given us permission to send newsletters, but they have to react to them. If they open it, click on it, reply to your emails,  etc.

By itself, the engagement is a good gauge of your email marketing campaigns.

But it seems that this is not enough anymore

Recently, some blogs have announced new changes

I have seen on these blogs information about new rules:

– Delivering to Gmail

– Ever changing filtering

– Gmail changes inbox delivery rules

– Email delivery: practical tips

So what has changed?

Well, as discussed in these articles, the ISP (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) will not indicate the exact changes they made.

That would be an invitation for spammers to know what to do.

They would know what they would have to do to make sure their newsletters would get to the inbox.

That would not help, I’m afraid.

However, these blogs talk about certain suspicions that indicate more or less what these changes in the Gmail’s filter are about.

1) It seems as though Gmail is trying to identify each user’s preferences.

That is, each user will have a custom filter, which will help to improve their personal experience.

Thus each subscriber would have an inbox whose filters depend largely on his preferences and habits.

For example, if the user have never opened any of your emails, even if the newsletter was correctly created and meet all requirements, for Gmail, this subscriber does not wish to receive your emails. Maybe another will receive the message in the inbox, but this subscriber will receive it as spam.

This could have a negative impact on your email marketing campaigns, as it would be necessary to micro segment your contacts to provide each subscriber only contents he/she wants.

2) Gmail could be looking beyond the emails you send, evaluating the content you post online, the reputation of your domain (not your sender reputation), but the overall reputation of the domain, all the information about your brand.

Gmail could be interested in your reputation as a brand Gmail could be interested in the reputation of your online marketing activity, to determine whether it will allow your emails to get in the inbox, or in the spam folder.

Not only that, but also who is adding links to your domain, who sends emails on your behalf.

And the contents of your email, which links are included in the newsletter.

So you have to be careful with many things:

1) Which companies are sending newsletters on your behalf. For example, if your company works with affiliate programs  and your affiliates send email marketing campaigns to generate leads for your company, their practices can affect your own newsletters.

You’ll have to make sure your affiliates also have best practice policies, or it may end up negatively affecting your own campaigns.

2) You will have to be careful with the external links on your email. For instance, if you send an E-mail with a link to a low reputation domain, this email could have problems to get in the inbox.

As Peter Cooper says in the Article Delivering to Gmail:

One thing I’ve noticed is that Gmail is diverting messages that link to certain URLs straight to spam. There appears to be no logic to these, but I’ve done lots of testing from multiple sources to nail down spam-vs-inbox results on specific URLs.

All this adds a degree of complexity, but makes sense in a general strategy to protect users.

It seems that Gmail would be willing to evaluate your brand reputation,  to obtain an estimate of whether it is likely that you will or will not send spam.

So if the reputation of your brand is doubtful, not due the emails you send, but due to your online activity, it is easy for your emails to end up in the spam folder.

But if your overall brand has good reputation, it will be likely that your newsletters will get in the inbox, even if you send some newsletters that seem spam.

Understanding these new policies

Although it seems a little strange, it’s something we could say, was done before.

Those who have worked with Google AdWords will remember the term keyword level quality score.

To calculate this, AdWords will not use the current settings of your accounts, but also in the landing pages you are using, an external element.

Now Gmail seems to want to work more or less in the same way, and look not only at your emails, but also what you are doing in other areas of online marketing.

As usual

At this moment, we are talking about rumors, Gmail did not publish any new policies related to this, but personally, I would not be surprised if they are realy changing the way the spam filters will work.

Why?

Because for those who just want to send spam, it is easy to have the technical means to do so, but it is much more difficult to create a brand with good reputation to keep sending spam.

Anyway, in the end, what is expected of every company is actually the same as always, you will have to create emails, contents, etc that users want to receive.

What is your opinion about this possible new change?

Do you think it could be successful as a means to control spam?

Or will it make your life more complicated, by marking legitimate newsletters as spam?

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