Navigating the new 2024 email guidelines: A roadmap for Gmail & Yahoo users

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital communication, email remains a cornerstone for organisations to deliver personal and professional correspondence. However, this year new email guidelines have been introduced by two of the largest email service providers, Gmail and Yahoo. Changes, due to come in place on 1 February 2024, will require email senders to prove they are not spammers.

These changes bring a paradigm shift in how emails are handled, aiming to enhance user experience, privacy, and security. Organisations which frequently contact their audience at their Gmail and Yahoo email accounts may risk their domain being listed as spam if the following advice is not considered.

Understanding the shift

Gmail’s adaptive delivery

Gmail, with its user base exceeding 1.5 billion, has rolled out adaptive delivery mechanisms that prioritise user engagement to determine inbox placement. Open rates, reply rates, and message content now heavily influence email delivery, marking a departure from traditional spam filtering.

Gmail’s current AI-powered defensive measures stop spam, phishing, and other forms of email fraud by 99.9% – restricting nearly 15 billion undesired emails daily. Nevertheless, Google is keen on taking it one step further by making it mandatory for those sending over 5,000 messages to Gmail inboxes per day to validate their emails.

In essence, it’s not just about avoiding spam-triggering words; rather, it’s about crafting engaging content that compels users to interact with emails. Personalisation, relevance, and value have become pivotal to ensuring emails land in the coveted primary inbox.

Yahoo’s focus on authentication

Yahoo, serving hundreds of millions of users globally, has bolstered its email authentication standards. The implementation of strict Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) policies demands senders to authenticate their emails properly. Unauthenticated or poorly authenticated emails risk being diverted to spam or rejected outright, safeguarding users from phishing attempts and spam inundation.

To meet this objective, Yahoo announced that in 2024 bulk message senders would be required to authenticate their emails against popular email authentication standards, enable one-click un-subscription options, and send emails that are of value to Yahoo users.

The impact on senders

For marketers, businesses, and individuals relying on bulk email outreach of over 5,000 emails a day, these guidelines necessitate an overhaul in strategy.

Quality over quantity

With Gmail’s emphasis on engagement metrics, the days of mass emailing without personalised, engaging content are numbered. Senders need to focus on quality interactions, tailoring content to resonate with recipients, encouraging interactions, and prompt responses.

Authentication and trust


Yahoo and Gmail’s stringent authentication requirements mean senders must ensure proper protocols are in place. This entails configuring SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records to authenticate their domain, assuring ISPs (Internet Service Providers) of the email’s legitimacy and enhancing trustworthiness.

Organisations should also review their sender policy framework (SPF) to ensure they are authorised as a permitted sending domain and thereby reducing spam complaints.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) helps protect your email’s content from being altered while in transit by adding digital signatures to message headers.

DMARC binds it all together by aligning messages against SPF and/or DKIM checkpoints and setting up instructions for receiving servers to accept, quarantine, or reject misaligned emails. It helps protect your email messages against phishing attacks, spoofing, and other email-based threats.

Easy one-click unsubscribe

One-click unsubscribe mechanism is another bulk email requirement declared by Google and Yahoo to make it easier for receivers to opt-out of receiving messages that do not interest them and maintain a spam-free inbox. Make sure that any email correspondence sent to all recipients includes a clear and simple option to unsubscribe.

Make sure to stay below spam-rate thresholds

Take measures to keep your domain below the spam-rate threshold of 0.3% (ideally, this should be below 0.1%). Spam messages are blocked by Gmail and Yahoo servers to block irrelevant or malicious messages from reaching their users. Multiple sources are available online for how to reduce the chance of being labelled as a spam domain.

Statistics that illuminate the shift

Engagement-based filtering: Studies reveal that Gmail’s adaptive delivery system, which prioritises user engagement, has led to a 20% increase in open rates for emails with highly personalised subject lines and relevant content.

Authentication impact: Since Yahoo’s reinforced authentication protocols, the percentage of phishing emails landing in users’ inboxes has plummeted by nearly 35%, contributing to a safer email environment.

Spam reduction: Both Gmail and Yahoo have witnessed a combined 40% decrease in reported spam emails, indicating the efficacy of these updated guidelines in filtering out unwanted and potentially harmful content.

3 ways to navigate the guidelines

email guidelines

For individuals and businesses striving to adapt to these changes, these approaches can ensure compliance and success:

  1. Personalisation and relevance

Craft emails that cater to recipients’ interests, employing segmentation and personalisation techniques. Providing value-driven content that resonates with your audience significantly enhances engagement metrics.

  1. Authentication protocols

Prioritise authentication by configuring SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records correctly. Collaborate with IT professionals if needed to ensure emails are properly authenticated and pass authentication checks.

  1. Continuous adaptation

Stay updated with evolving guidelines and email best practices. The digital landscape is dynamic, requiring continual adaptation to stay ahead and maintain optimal email delivery rates.

The future of email marketing

As we adapt to the new guidelines set by Gmail and Yahoo, the focus on user engagement, authentication, and relevance brings both challenges and opportunities for email senders.

By embracing these changes and aligning strategies to prioritise quality, personalisation, and authentication, senders can navigate these guidelines successfully. This means messages reaching their intended recipients’ inboxes, fostering meaningful connections, and contributing to a safer and more engaging email ecosystem.