It’s All About Reputation
Studies show that Gmail represents over 36% of the email market share — so making sure your emails hit Gmail inboxes is crucial to reaching your customers. There are some important metrics that Gmail doesn’t send to your automated messaging platform. Without that data, you could miss critical information about your campaigns’ performance — and early warnings about problems that could threaten your deliverability rates.
Using Google Postmaster Tools in tandem with your automated messaging platform (like Customer.io), you can get a better idea of how your emails are performing — and solve problems faster. Google Postmaster Tools also provides some additional data points that your automated messaging platform may not have access to, such as IP and domain reputation or spam rates.
That’s why we recommend that people pay attention to their spam rates and IP and domain reputation, which can be viewed via Google Postmaster Tools.
Spam rate and feedback loop
In Customer.io, we recommend keeping the spam rate on your dashboard below 0.1%, as high spam complaints can damage your IP and domain reputation. If your spam rate increases quickly, it can lead to increased filtration, reduced delivery speed, throttling, and bounces. Basically, your emails will stop landing in inboxes.
Google does not provide a standard feedback loop to your automated messaging platform (unlike mailbox providers like Outlook or AOL). However, using Google Postmaster Tools will provide you insight into this information.
The feedback loop dashboard on Google Postmaster Tools gives you even more specific information about user-reported spam. It’s important to note that Google’s Spam Rate is only calculated based on emails that reach inbox as opposed to all emails that were delivered. When you implement this tool, you can identify specific campaigns that are getting a high volume of spam complaints.
These two features of Google Postmaster Tools are especially important because Google doesn’t report user-reported spam rates to ESPs. So the spam rates you track in Customer.io don’t reflect when Gmail users mark messages as spam — and those metrics give you key missing insight about how your emails are performing.
IP and domain reputation
Low sender IP or domain reputation is the most common reason emails are filtered as spam. Google Postmaster Tools assigns rankings based on the volume of spam that has come from your IP and domain in the past.
- Bad: pretty much all of your emails will be filtered as spam by Gmail
- Low: your emails are very likely to be caught in the spam filter
- Medium: most of your emails will reach inboxes (unless there’s a notable uptick in people marking your emails as spam)
- High: your messages will rarely be caught in the spam filter
You can also see changes in your IP and domain reputation over time. That can show you where any issues might be coming from, like how certain sends might have impacted your reputation. For instance, if you did a large send that had a lot of spam complaints, you’d see your reputation fall — and you’ll know you need to change strategies in the future.
In my experience, marketers get the most important info from the spam and reputation dashboards. However, Google Postmaster Tools also allows you to monitor other metrics that affect deliverability, like:
- Authentication: the percentage of your emails passing various authentication protocols
- Encryption: the percentage of your traffic that’s encrypted
- Delivery errors: the percentage of your emails that were rejected and the reason why
How to set it up
Good news: Google Postmaster Tools is free, and you can enroll at postmaster.google.com — you just need a Gmail address. You may need support from your IT department or domain host, as you’ll be asked to add the TXT record to your DNS configuration on your website so Google can verify your domain.
After your domain is verified, you can give your team members access to view the metrics. Then it’s just a matter of tracking your data to understand how your campaigns are performing for Gmail users.
Keep your deliverability healthy
Yes, sometimes it can feel like the most important thing is to get an email campaign out the door, but we’ve found that, long-term, your customer engagement benefits hugely from following these best practices for email deliverability. You likely have a lot of Gmail users in your audience, so make sure you’re hitting the mark for them. Take advantage of the metrics that Google Postmaster gives you to measure what’s going on in those Gmail inboxes, which you can’t get anywhere else.