What to Expect on April 1st from Google’s New Bulk Sender Policy

Bulk sender

We’re officially about two months into Google’s new bulk sender policy. It’s still early days, and Google has made it clear (to the relief of lots of marketing teams) that they want these changes to be gradual and progressive. 

That’s great news! It means that if your organization still isn’t quite where it needs to be to comply with the new requirements, you still have time to do something about it before there are major impacts on your deliverability.

But if you’re still figuring out your email strategy to make sure your spam rate is low, you’ve adopted and properly configured SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, and you have one-click unsubscribe implemented, the consequences are going to start ramping up. And while Google has stated that the enforcement of their new requirements won’t happen all at once, they haven’t shared how quickly they’ll start turning up the heat for non-compliant senders.

April 1st is almost here, and it’s a great time for you to focus on getting your domain compliant, whether you’re just starting, you’ve been working on it since they announced the new rules last year, or you’re already meeting their requirements and want to make sure you stay compliant with email guidelines.

P.S. As soon as we hear anything more from Google about their timelines and when senders can expect real impact from non-compliance, we’ll let you know.

What’s Happening on April 1st?

Since February 1st, users may have noticed a small percentage of non-compliant traffic providing temporary errors. This is designed to allow them to self-identify that they are not meeting the sender requirements and correct issues. Specific error codes accompanying email rejections serve as direct feedback, enabling senders to identify and rectify compliance issues promptly.

Starting next week, Google will start to permanently reject a percentage of non-compliant email traffic and gradually increase the percentage of this non-compliant traffic that gets rejected. This is designed to start limiting the activity of users who are not complying with the guidelines and make it increasingly more obvious to users they need to update their sending practices. 

Google says that, for example, if 75% of the traffic meets the new email sender authentication guidelines, then “a percentage” of the remaining non-compliant 25% will be rejected. It isn’t yet clear what that percentage will be. They’ve reiterated that enforcement will remain “gradual and progressive,” but April is when organizations may start to see more tangible effects on their deliverability if they aren’t complying with guidelines.

Ready or Not, Changes are Here

Before the changes went into effect, a survey of B2B SaaS marketers found that 30% of companies didn’t know their spam rate, and 41% were over Google’s recommended 0.1%. 45% of surveyed marketers were already taking the updates seriously and taking steps to make sure they comply with Google’s requirements.

Need a refresher on these guidelines? We’ve got you covered.

But over half of the organizations were either not worried, or concerned but not making any changes for the time being. For those who already had a high spam rate (>0.1%), 51% were either not worried or not yet making changes to regain compliance.

Now, with two months of these changes under their belts and soft warnings from Google in the form of temporary errors to non-compliant traffic, organizations are hopefully easing into the new guidelines to make sure they stay compliant and maintain their bulk sender status.

But the important thing to remember is that even if you’re currently compliant and your spam rate is low, the enforcement is only going to get stricter. For most companies, email is a primary method of communicating with prospects, clients, and followers, which means it’s a critical channel to protect and deserves some attention to make sure it’s healthy. For a lot of us, this journey has helped us get very familiar with our email configurations, sending platforms, and practices, very quickly. And while it might feel a bit overwhelming, it’s actually a great thing!

For a long time, marketers have not enjoyed the same attention and prioritization, from a tools and processes perspective, that other technical teams do to make sure that the stuff they’re building is working as expected. It’s often left up to the individuals themselves (and especially revops pros) to manually validate that things are up and running. But we all know that when you’re building many new campaigns, each with dozens of assets at a time, manual testing isn’t scalable (not to mention making sure that your entire tech stack is working and playing nicely together). 

Take Control of Your Revenue Infrastructure

With email deliverability now on the line, these new bulk sender requirements have given marketing teams the chance to change that. Nearly 90% of CMOs at organizations with high spam rates had been briefed by their teams about the changes before the February 1st deadline, and over 80% of teams said that they are taking the changes seriously (even if at the time they weren’t ready to start making actual improvements).

And for the marketing and revops folks reading this who are helping their teams navigate this, there’s even an opportunity for you to step up and take point at your organization. These changes are bringing to the surface something that you’ve already known: revenue is a critical function that is largely flying blind when it comes to testing and monitoring. Starting with email, this can be your opportunity to to make testing and monitoring a core part of your processes and give revenue the attention it deserves.

Stack Moxie is Your Partner Through These Changes

For now, the best thing your team can do to stay compliant Google’s requirements is know where you stand, and work from there. We’ve already shared our checklist for monitoring compliance which can help you understand where to look and best practices to adopt.

If you’re already compliant, the work doesn’t end there. Things can change, whether it’s because of technical errors or outbound practices that are getting marked as spam by recipients. So to make it as easy as possible for you to know your status on any given day, we’ve built the (free) Automated Google Postmaster Checklist. This easy starter helps you keep track of your:

  • Spam rate
  • Domain reputation

If either of these falls into the danger zone, you’ll get an email so you can troubleshoot what’s gone wrong and fix it before Google rejects your emails. If you don’t already have a free Stack Moxie account, sign up now and start monitoring your domain in minutes to make sure your email marketing isn’t impacted.