Delivery to Gmail inboxes

GmailData released by ComScore in October ’12 suggests that Gmail has overtaken Hotmail as the world’s top email service. Gmail has grown very fast in past few years and would likely end up being the top email provider in North America sooner than later.

Delivering email to Gmail users’ inbox brings with itself some unique challenges as Gmail spam filtering focuses heavily on subscriber engagement, content filtering and user driven spam reporting. Gmail provides individually personalized inbox placement to its users. Below are some best practices that senders may follow to maximize email delivery to Gmail inboxes:

  • Spam and non spam reporting
    • Include a list unsubscribe header in the messages so users hitting the report spam button are captured and removed from the email file
    • Encourage Gmail users to click “Not Spam” button when they receive messages in “Spam” folder
    • Send relevant emails to opt in users so overall complaints are reduced
  • Engagement
    • Limit your broadcasts to users who have engaged with the email program in the last 8-12 months

    • Send targeted broadcasts to Gmail users and encourage them to engage with emails by:
      • Marking it as important
      • Replying to it
      • Add a label to the message
      • Add sender’s from address to their Gmail Contact list
      • Add a Star to the message
  • Authentication
    • Be sure to authenticate the messages with SPF and DKIM (use minimum 1024 bit key)
  • IP management
    • Consider using separate IPs and sub domains for transactional messages
    • Use consistent IPs to send bulk emails
    • Use a consistent “from address” in every broadcast
  • List Hygiene
    • Be sure to remove addresses that have disabled due to hard bounces
    • Make it easy for users to unsubscribe and remove these addresses promptly
    • Build a re-engagement and sun setting program to target users that have not shown much activity in last 8-12 months
    • Review length of time that has passed since user was contacted last time – anything over six months should be used with caution
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