Published by Tanishq Juneja on September 26, 2014

The Gmail Trap Yap

Everyone eyes it but only the chosen few get through. With tamed horses as its troop of filters, it allows none but the best emails to conquer the customer’s attention. In case you wondered I’m talking about the coveted Gmail Inbox. As an ESP sending millions of emails to Google users, we have to closely track and monitor Gmail’s filters that decide the fate of the emails our clients send.

These Filters are no less than the Grand Staircase of Hogwarts castle in Harry Potter, always on the move keeping email marketers on their toes. Have you ever wondered what it’s like being on the other side, getting their perspective?

Presenting you the Gmail trap yap – an interesting conversation amongst Gmail (trap) filters that underlines their philosophy of scanning emails and helps us fellow marketers improve the Gmail deliverability:

(Naming the filters for easy understanding)

Emotional-by-chance Filter: “We are born to sin, but what an idiot who wants to fall all the time.”

Judgemental Filter: Right my friend. One has to learn from his mistakes. I think a few years from now, marketers will be disappointed with things they didn’t do, than things they did.

Emotional-by-chance Filter: True mate. See this travel guy. He’s sending the same content every day! What’s wrong with him? Isn’t it loud and clear that nobody wants the same stuff every day? His users are marking his mails as Spam.

Judgemental Filter: hmm…look at this crazy one…he is a Bank and has not followed DKIM authentication!

Emotional-by-chance Filter: DKIM is not so popular, lot of brands don’t do it. You are being over judgemental!

Judgemental Filter: Oh please spare me the horror. The same content can turn you off but not validating is ok?! You are being insensitive to our users being spoofed.

Then enters the Old-and-wise Filter, the one that’s been in the game for far too long and has mastered the rules.

Old-and-wise Filter: Guys, c’mon get a room please. I have been here before you both were born. The best thing in technology is over estimated in the short run but underestimated in long run.

Most marketers follow SPF but they don’t bother about DKIM. Actually DKIM also known as Domain Key Identified email helps marketers to authenticated content + Domain by signing it with a key. This ensures that that content travelling with DKIM tag has more reputation, is not tampered and it’s easier to deliver those mails ahead to Inbox.

Enter the New-smart Filter: Good morning all!

Judgemental Filter: Who are you new guy?

New-smart Filter: I’m the latest addition in the family born to save subscriber from content that has bad reputation.

Old-and-wise Filter: hmm… Please explain more.

New-smart Filter: Sure grandpa! (Chuckles)

Email marketers send their content to various users on the internet including their opt-in list, purchase data, co-branding affiliates, etc. When users abuse this content, it gets bad reputation. We were previously blacklisting IP’s and domains, but now that I am here, we would record that content so that similar content or links in the content will not cross my LOC and land in spam.

Old-and-wise Filter: That’s a nice move, must say!

Judgemental Filter: Yes. Even I upgraded my authentication grid where Source reputation will be key factor to deliver mails from hereon.

Emotional-by-chance Filter (puzzled): Source Reputation?

Judgemental Filter: It means now the domain which collects bounces ‘envelope domain’ will carry reputation with a combination of domain, content and IPs or all of them together.

Other Filters murmuring: Everyday new rules. One day subscribers will not receive emails and we would only keep trashing everything! This is ridiculous.

New-smart Filter: hey calm down chaps. We do this to ensure convenience to users and look at it this way… it’s our way to help email marketers become more relevant and respect what users want..

If marketers follow 4 things they can indeed go straight into the Inbox, while we can get some rest from this 24*7 vigilant job!

1. Improve email content reputation

2. Improve domain reputation

3. Improve authentication

4. Improve user engagement

Hope you all got some good learnings from this story. Once we marketers stop viewing Gmail’s ever-changing filters as a threat but instead as an opportunity to better our marketing and send exactly what our customers want, then everything becomes easy and getting into the inbox should no longer be a challenge.

To know more about Gmail inbox delivery, watch our webinar on ‘Gmail’s new Inbox Delivery Algorithms’

Happy marketing! Ciao!

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