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Gmail’s Latest Spam Updates

How to Adapt to Gmail’s Latest Spam Updates

Gmail’s latest spam updates needn’t freak you out. Dive into this exhaustive article to know how your organization can adapt like a chameleon. ...

Being user-friendly has been one of Google’s main mottos. From search algorithms to deliverability, Google keeps tweaking asset-wide requirements to deliver quality experiences to users. Their latest spam updates are part and parcel of the same principle. 

And then there are email marketers, who rely on Gmail for regular campaigns and cold outreach. Achieving inbox visibility continues to be a challenge for us. With Google tightening the controls for bulk senders, this challenge has apparently begun to show spikes. 

Here are Gmail’s latest requirements:

  • If you’re sending 5000 emails per day, you shall need to add a one-click Unsubscribe option
  • You must maintain a spam rate below 0.3 percent. Gmail’s Postmaster Tools measures the spam rate
  • You are required to authenticate your emails

How are you going to accommodate the updates into your Gmail email marketing plan? Does your strategy need a rejig from scratch? If so, how long might it take? Let’s find out!

1. Enforce Compliance with Legal Requirements

If you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR, kudos! If not, it’s high time you did. If your emails get flagged, it will hurt your sender reputation. In extreme cases, Gmail might suspend your account. Educate your team about GDPR and PECR as soon as possible. 

Now Google does not directly enforce GDPR. But it helps businesses to comply with it. In the event of a GDPR violation, regulatory bodies, such as France’s CNIL, can take action, leading to fines. In January this year, the CNIL fined NS Cards France €105,000 for one such violation.

2. Set Up Inbox-Friendly Email Infrastructure

Implement tried-and-tested email authentication methods such as DMARC, DKIM, and SPF. Gmail recommends enforcing all these methods. Learn how to set up DKIM

In the absence of these strongholds, Gmail may flag your emails as spam. Because it can’t verify whether your emails are coming from your domain. The credibility of your domain suffers. As a result, Gmail may either quarantine your emails or reject them altogether.  

Email Authentication Methods


3. Send Cold Emails from A Secondary Domain

It’s a fact that cold emails are more vulnerable to spam filters. It’s best practice to send cold emails from a secondary domain to safeguard the reputation of your primary domain. 

Having a dedicated domain for cold outreach can be helpful. Over time, good sending practices can improve domain credibility, and improve the deliverability of cold emails. 

You are also more free to experiment and fine-tune your cold outreach efforts without impacting your primary domain. 

4. Maintain Contact List Quality

Do not buy or rent email addresses. Make sure to send from a business account, not a personal one. Maintain list hygiene by flushing out invalid or nonexistent email addresses.

5. Spam-Proof Your Email Content

The danger of spam-trigger words still exists. So make sure your subject line, preheader text, and body copy do not contain any such words or phrases. 

Spam-trigger words Phrases

Ask your developers to trim unnecessary HTML code in emails. Larger files, slower loading times, mobile rendering issues, etc. impact email deliverability. Going forward, do NOT:

  • Add inline styles and classes directly inside the code
  • Use excessive comments in the code
  • Overuse nested elements in complex codes
  • Embed unoptimized images in the email

One last recommendation: maintain a healthy text-to-image ratio in all your emails.

6. Spam-Proof Your Sending Practices

Too many emails sent out too frequently can raise suspicion. Stagger your sends. If you are serious about email marketing, you’re in it for the long haul. You don’t want to seem annoying to your subscribers. That would defeat the purpose of email. You are building relationships, not selling. 

You should also schedule your sends according to recipients’ preferences. So make note of your recipients’ time zones and email habits. For example, if a particular subscriber opens their emails on workdays, avoid sending emails on weekends. 

Spam filters monitor your sending behavior. So if you want to be seen as legit, be so.

7. Get A BIMI Record for Gmail Authentication

BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. It enables brands to show their logos in their recipients’ mailboxes. 

A BIMI blue tick will authenticate your domain with Gmail. Even if your complaint rate exceeds 0.3%, your emails should still reach the inbox. Cool, right?

BIMI Record for Gmail Authentication

Implications for Email Marketers

Google states that Gmail’s “AI-powered defenses” stops more than 99.9% of spam, phishing emails, and malware. Gmail stops 15 million unwanted emails from reaching inboxes every day. 

How are Gmail’s latest spam regulations going to affect email marketers? First of all, Google distinguishes senders on the basis of email volume. So those who send 5000 emails per day are bulk senders. The updates will not affect senders whose sending volume is below 5000 per day.

Bulk senders who still rely on outdated email tactics might not be pleased with Google’s updates. But this is a golden opportunity for them to shift toward mainstream permission marketing. Permission-based marketing is the key to building authentic relationships. This is exactly what consumers want and what Google expects from senders. 

Second, Google is on our side when it comes to inbox visibility. Think about it: the freer your subscribers’ inbox, the higher your chance of standing out. 

It is important to understand that there has never been a better fit between what Google wants and what we marketers want. Being user-friendly! Our constant talk about personalization, segmentation, AI, etc. serve this one goal. 

What about The Low Spam Rate Threshold?

Yes, this is going to be a challenge. 

Most email marketers report more than 1% spam complaint rate. This is not due to spammy emails as such. People often use the spam button as the trash button. So your emails land up in the trash folder. But it also triggers the recipient’s spam filters. As a result, you won’t be able to send new emails to the same inbox again. This is why the complaint rate usually exceeds 0.3%.

Google vs B2b Emails

The low spam rate threshold may have freaked out email marketers who rely on cold emailing. But it’s not the end of cold pitching via emails. Here are some tips:

  • Target highly relevant contacts. Use advanced scraping tools to scrape relevant addresses.
  • Don’t pitch in your very first email. Focus on providing value. Start a conversation.
  • Make changes to your email warm-up strategy. Crank up the number of emails you send to different warm-up addresses. The goal is to get these addresses to interact with your emails. This will signal to Gmail that your sender is legitimate. 

Learn how to write cold emails, and more. If cold emailing is not part of your strategy, revert to the best practices we’ve already talked about in this post. 

Implementation for Real: How Does It Look?

Should marketers do a major overhaul? Depends. If you have been sending out high volumes of unsolicited emails, the answer is yes. And it could take months to adapt to the new changes.

The state of your email infrastructure will also play a critical role.  If you are a small or one-soul business, the email infrastructure is likely to be simple. You may be using a basic ESP. Your platform can guide you to implement authentication protocols. 

But for large organizations that use marketing automation and custom-built email servers, it may take longer. Inhouse email servers are more difficult to manage than cloud-based servers. This may require IT intervention at multiple levels. 

How to incorporate Gmails latest spam regulations

How We Can Help

If you need help setting up a Gmail-friendly email infrastructure, please don’t hesitate to connect with us. We are experts at email marketing for Gmail. We’re agile marketers, specializing in lightning-quick pivots so that your business does not fall behind your competitors.

So far, we have provided email campaign management services to over 5000 global brands and companies. Rest assured, we maintain a stellar track record, delivering results at a 99.98% error-free rate. 

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