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New rules from Google and Yahoo could impact delivery of brand emails

by | Jan 22, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Email has long been and remains the decided consumer preference for interacting with brands, but if you look deeper, there are caveats to this truism—new research from business-to-consumer conversation enabling firm Sinch affirms the power of email, but its survey of more than 2,000 global consumers on how they engage with brand communications also reveals that most respondents will reevaluate their relationship with brands whose emails regularly end up in the spam folder. In fact, 52.7 percent of consumers said they would either feel frustrated, lose trust or even unsubscribe if emails from a brand regularly ended up in their spam folder. How can brands avoid this fate?

These results spotlight the importance of complying with newly updated requirements from two of the world’s biggest mailbox providers—Google and Yahoo—that go into effect in February, or else risk derailing customer communications and negatively impact revenue generation and brand reputation. To protect their users from bad actors and reduce spam overall, Google and Yahoo are implementing stricter rules for bulk email senders. The survey found that 72.1 percent of participants have a Gmail account, 20.3 percent said they use Yahoo Mail and another 4.8 percent have an AOL email account. Senders who do not comply may find they are unable to reach contacts with Gmail, Yahoo and AOL email addresses.

New rules from Google and Yahoo could impact delivery of brand emails

The firm’s new Email and the Customer Experience report reveals that 75.4 percent of consumers chose email as a preferred channel for promotional messages. Over 50 percent subscribe to brand emails primarily to receive special offers or discount codes, and 62.8 percent report they receive the most value from emails that include exclusive deals and offers, indicating a high likelihood they will make a purchase once they’ve opted in. Additionally, 74 percent prefer it for transactional messages from brands, such as shipping notifications and password resets.

“Email is the digital cornerstone of communications between brands and consumers,” said Kate Nowrouzi, VP, Deliverability and Product Strategy at Sinch, in a news release. “Senders must comply with these requirements to ensure their email program is successful. While the new guidelines mean it may get harder to reach consumers, they also reflect the reality of what customers want. Businesses need to go beyond compliance and ensure their emails are relevant, personalized and valuable.” 

New rules from Google and Yahoo could impact delivery of brand emails

Following new guidelines for high-volume senders

The updated guidelines affect bulk senders, which Google characterizes as any organization sending over 5,000 emails per day. The changes largely focus on email authentication, an easy unsubscribe process, and thresholds for user-reported spam.

The most important technical change for senders is the requirement to use three specific email authentication protocols—DMARC, DKIM and SPF. Mailbox providers use these methods to verify the identity of the sender and stop bad actors from impersonating recognizable brands using a phishing tactic known as email brand spoofing.

New rules from Google and Yahoo could impact delivery of brand emails

The report reveals exactly why the use of email authentication is necessary. Since 94.5 percent of consumers say recognizing the brand or sender name is an important factor when choosing to open an email, it is an attractive tactic for bad actors. Authentication makes it easier to identify fakes so mailbox providers can block those messages or filter them to spam. However legitimate senders may also land in the spam folder if they do not have authentication protocols in place by February.

Download the full report here.

Register for a webinar with leaders from Google and Yahoo on January 23.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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