Google’s Bulk Email Crackdown: Are You Ready?
Digital Advertising 04.25.2024

Google’s Bulk Email Crackdown: Are You Ready?

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This episode discusses Google’s new email policies that will classify companies as bulk senders if they send over 5,000 emails per day. Guests Liam Moroney and Graceanne MacDonald provide best practices for staying under the threshold, including database audits, custom tracking domains, and adding unsubscribe links to all emails.

Best Moments

04:40 –  Graceanne provides a clear explanation of Google's new policies for bulk senders in simple terms.
13:40 –  The serious consequences if a company exceeds the 0.3% spam threshold, such as having their entire domain blocked from sending emails.
16:28 –  How sales automation tools could inadvertently contribute to spam issues if best practices aren't followed.
19:49 –  Chris brings up the point about truncated emails in Gmail causing people to report spam, showing an important tactical consideration.
22:28 –  Liam emphasizes that companies should see these regulations as an opportunity to improve email quality rather than just achieve bare minimum compliance.

About the guests

Graceanne (Domino) MacDonald

Graceanne began her startup career in the sales world, first leading SDR/BDR teams, followed by a side-step into RevOps before formally landing in demand gen. And she brings that dual sales/marketing perspective into all of the programs she builds. 

Connect with Graceanne (Domino) MacDonald

Liam Moroney

Liam may be in the marketing minority; in that, he went to school for marketing. He has grown his career as a demand generation leader in the startup space and developed unique perspectives coming up through marketing ops and content marketing.

Connect with Liam Moroney

Key takeaways

  • Google will classify companies as bulk senders if they send over 5,000 emails per day from their domain
  • Bulk senders must keep their spam rate below 0.3% or risk having their entire domain blocked from sending emails
  • Companies should audit their marketing databases and purge or suppress unengaged Gmail addresses
  • Implement SPF, DKIM, and custom tracking domains to improve email deliverability
  • Add unsubscribe links to all marketing and sales emails, including sales outreach emails
  • Challenge teams to truly understand their audiences through research and send more personalized content


“It’s not even a technical problem. It is not a design problem. It’s philosophical, did they ask for this email? Is this email valuable?” -Liam Moroney

“I fought a number of uphill battles on email deliverability, I was constantly beating the drum against bulk sending.” -Graceanne MacDonald

Highlights from this episode

Could you explain Google’s new email policies and how they will classify companies as bulk senders?

Graceanne explained that both Google and Yahoo have implemented regulations that took effect in February 2024. These regulations pertain to any emails sent to personal Gmail or Yahoo email addresses. However, emails sent to Google Workspace accounts, which are common for many tech companies, and those emailed by sales and marketing teams, are excluded.

Companies will be deemed bulk senders, and thus subject to additional policies if the entire domain sends over 5,000 emails in a single day to Gmail and Yahoo addresses. Both Google and Yahoo use this daily threshold metric to determine bulk sender status, though their specific numbers may vary slightly. It’s important to note that the threshold applies to all emails sent from an entire domain on a given day, not just a single sender or campaign.

She explains the scope of the regulations and how bulk sender classification will be determined in a manner that helps the audience understand this potentially complex change straightforwardly.

How would you advise companies to stress the importance of staying under the 0.3% spam threshold and what could happen if a company exceeds it?

Liam advises companies to stress the critical importance of staying under the 0.3% spam threshold by clearly outlining the serious consequences that could result from exceeding it. Specifically:

– Once classified as a bulk sender, you must keep your spam rate below 0.3% or face severe penalties.

– If your domain’s spam rate goes above 0.3%, Google can completely block your entire domain from sending emails to all Gmail addresses.

– This means no one from your company, including employees across all departments, would be able to email Gmail users anymore.

– With so many personal emails in use, it’s easy to accidentally go over 0.3% through no fault of your own.

– But exceeding the threshold could cripple your business’s ability to communicate via email entirely.

By emphasizing just how much is at stake if the spam rate limit is not maintained, companies will understand this is not a threshold to approach carelessly. Their entire email functionality depends on diligently monitoring and optimizing deliverability.

What strategies would you recommend for companies with engaged versus unengaged Gmail/Yahoo addresses in their databases?

Graceanne acknowledges that for contacts demonstrating engagement through consistent email interaction, there is no need to suppress communication, as these individuals have opted into ongoing correspondence.

For addresses showing no signs of engagement like opening or clicking emails for an extended period, Liam recommends two potential courses of action. The first is suppression, where the unengaged data is retained in the database but removed from email lists. This preserves any collected profile information in case future outreach proves fruitful.

The alternative is purging, which completely removes the dormant contact records from the system. For some companies, this cleanse may be preferable to avoid any risk of sending emails to addresses unlikely to be receptive.

Before outright removal, marketers could design targeted, relevant campaigns aimed at reinvigorating inactive contacts. If renewed engagement results, the addresses would not need to be disposed of.

Could you discuss some email best practices around topics like custom tracking domains, SPF/DKIM, and unsubscribe links?

Graceanne thoughtfully outlines several important email best practices that companies should implement to safeguard their deliverability and avoid spam filters.

Custom tracking domains help ensure emails are properly attributed when a company uses a third-party email service provider. Without a custom tracking domain, emails can appear to come from two different senders, which Google does not like and may flag as spam.

SPF verifies that emails are sent from a legitimate inbox, not an automated bot, while DKIM confirms the company owns the domain from which it is sending. Implementing these technical standards reassures email providers the traffic is authentic.

Lastly, Graceanne emphasizes the critical practice of including unsubscribe links in all marketing communications, including sales outreach emails. This gives recipients an easy way to opt out of future messages if they are not interested, avoiding spam reports. She advises taking care to craft a simple, user-friendly unsubscribe experience as well.

How might sales automation tools inadvertently contribute to spam issues and what should sales teams focus on to avoid this?

Graceanne notes that tools like Salesloft and Outreach are used widely, but reps may be reluctant to include unsubscribe links in their emails since it makes the message seem more automated. However, failing to provide an easy opt-out could result in spam reports over time.

She advises sales teams to make sure unsubscribe links are consistently added to all outbound emails from their tools. She also recommends focusing on personalizing content for the recipient and ensuring emails are tailored specifically for the person, rather than generic blasts.

Additionally, sales reps should be diligent about keeping their profile and company information updated directly in the tools. Making sure technical items like SPF and DKIM are configured correctly can help avoid any potential spam flags due to authentication issues.

Resource recommendations


Liam recommended books on marketing fundamentals like “Ogilvy on Advertising” and “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This” which provide timeless principles


Graceanne recommended, ‘The Spark Toro’ and ‘Exit Five’ newsletters for great content on audience research and understanding.


Brendan Hufford for his perspective on taking an audience-first approach to SEO and focusing on value over technical optimization tactics.

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