As a provider of prospects for B2B companies that want to work in commercial real estate, we’ve fielded many questions and concerns about Google’s (and Yahoo’s) February 2024 email rules. In this post, we summarize what we know so far, what the experts are saying, and what that means for Biscred’s B2B prospecting platform (spoiler alert: the new rules won’t impact Biscred’s B2B users).
What We Know About Google Spam Rules
Google’s group product manager, Neil Kumaran, introduced the new email spam rules in a blog post, saying the new email requirements apply to:
Bulk emailers who send more than 5,000 messages in a day
Email sent to or from addresses ending in @gmail and @googlemail
If you send bulk emails to or from Google Workspace business email accounts, the new spam rules do not apply, although that could change. If you send bulk emails to individuals or businesses that use other email clients, as of today, only Yahoo is rolling out similar rules, but that could change. Google tends to set the trends, and then others follow.
Google’s Marketing Email Requirements
For businesses that are impacted by the new email requirements, Google specifies three basic best practices to avoid being stung by the spam filters:
Bulk email senders will need to follow authentication procedures. The best place to learn about this is from the source itself, Google. Read this guide to setting up DKIM (domain keys identified mail) and this article that explains Google’s email authentication requirements. Again, does not apply currently to B2B bulk emails.
Marketing emailers must make it easy to unsubscribe. So, including a link to unsubscribe that takes you through a multistep process won’t fly after Google rolls out the email spam crack-down. Gmail account users must be able to unsubscribe in one click, and the unsubscribe request must go into effect within 2 days.
Send content that your recipients will want. This is more of a best practice than a requirement. Google says if you send content that people want, they will be less likely to report emails from your domain as spam.
Don’t Purchase Emails From Other Companies?
In its “Sending Practices to Avoid” guidelines, Google specifically says not to purchase email addresses from third-party vendors and not to send messages to people who didn’t opt in to your email list.
“Biscred doesn’t sell lead lists, period,” Alex Grob, director of data at Biscred. “We gather data from multiple public sources that are available online, and we clean it, sort it, and deliver it in a single platform.”
The data includes company contact information, locations, commercial real estate assets and the people who work there. It does not include anyone’s personal information. Read more about the difference between purchasing lead lists and prospecting.
The opt-in rules can be tricky — no one wants to be flagged as sending spammy or suspicious emails. The best way to avoid an email recipient from marking your messages as spam is to, first and foremost, target prospects who likely want to hear from you. Second, be transparent in your messages. Personalize your messages and show the recipient that you know something about them. For example, a janitorial service company might contact a property management company by saying, “I am a [job title] with [company] and I saw that your company just started in [city] where my team is based. Are you looking for a local maintenance company? We’ve been in the area for 30 years …”
Will the Email Spam Rules Affect Biscred’s Clients?
“We don’t anticipate Biscred users to be impacted at this point,” explained Gabriella Walling, marketing director at Biscred. The new spam rules should not impact Biscred’s users for three reasons.
First, Biscred’s data collection process filters out personal email addresses, and its business users don’t use @gmail email accounts — they use business domains. Biscred’s data team uses a combination of AI automation and manual validation to ensure the contacts actually match the businesses, and the business email addresses are valid. For example, they know to remove @gmail email addresses because those are personal emails, rarely business emails.
Second, the spam rules do not apply to one-to-one email communications. Biscred’s users who do not send bulk emails won’t be impacted. They’re sending highly customized and personalized messages to CRE and CRE-adjacent companies whose needs align with their goods and services.
Third, for Biscred users that do mass outreach through a third-party platform (Hubspot, Constant Contact etc.), they are sending emails that are customized and relevant to recipients’ businesses. They aren’t buying lead lists with hundreds of thousands of email addresses and blasting them with spammy messages, hoping something sticks. Additionally, third-party email clients like Hubspot and Constant Contact building in precautions to help their customers comply with Google’s requirements.
This Biscred article explains prospecting versus lead lists in the commercial real estate business.
So, Do Nothing? Can B2B Ignore Google’s Spam Rules?
No. Even if you don’t send 5,000 emails in a single day and you’re not sending to or from a Gmail or Yahoo account, this is a great time for your email marketing manager to go through the steps laid out in Google’s Workspace Support. If you are using an email client like Klaviyo, Zoho, Mailchimp or something similar, get in touch with your account representative to find out what you need to do.
Just because the February 2024 requirements do not target B2B emails doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.
Expert Round-Up: What The Experts Say about Google’s Spam Protection
In a nutshell, every source we reviewed had the same advice, which is even if this doesn’t apply to your brand, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the curve and make sure you are following best practices with sending emails.
Forrester’s Seth Marrs, a principal analyst, says, “Generic market email lists are not enough. Companies need to build a prospect acquisition strategy that is more targeted to the right people in the right accounts.” Marrs’ sentiment echoes the fundamentals that Biscred was built on: Shifting away from lead lists and toward prospecting tools with filters.
Mailchimp posted on its site, “While these changes will require you to take a few new steps, enacting these measures can help improve your deliverability by building your credibility as an authenticated email sender.
Zoho’s email marketing manager wrote, “If your company fails to implement email authentication measures, especially for high-volume senders, the consequences are severe. Emails may not be delivered to Gmail and Yahoo accounts.”
Annie McGreevy, a writer at Klaviyo, says, “The requirements are good for your customers, good for your deliverability score, and chances are, you’re already doing most of it.”
Kenzie Macksey writing for Active Campaign, says, “While Google has mentioned 5K daily sending as a criterion for defining a ‘bulk sender,’ Gmail/Yahoo have clarified that the 5k limit on volume is not a “safe zone.” In other words, don’t try to game the system by sending 4,999 emails.
Sam Bressier, head of deliverability and anti-fraud at Brevo, says, “This big move will help protect users against unsolicited messages. It also offers an opportunity for legitimate marketers to reinforce trust in email campaigns and reach their subscribers more effectively.”
Laura Gee, writing for Drip.com, “We recommend that everyone implements them to get ahead of the curve and prepare for inbox providers requiring everyone meet them in the future.”
Iryna Shatalo, writing for Omnisend says, “Some changes are for everybody, and a few are for ‘bulk senders’ but the safest route is to assume it includes your brand. Even if you’re under that threshold today, you’ll be prepared if you exceed it in the future.”