Are Google and Yahoo killing cold emails?

Google and Yahoo have new rules for bulk email senders to improve the quality of emails, reduce spam, and improve user experience. Here’s everything you need to know.

Ana Rukavina

Before we deep dive into the changes, it would be good to establish that you, as a company, are using marketing and transactional emails to reach your customers and give them important updates and valuable content.

At times, this leads to end customers having an inbox full of cold and irrelevant emails, which could hamper your email campaign performance, delivery rates, and open rates.

To crack down on spammy cold emails and make your campaigns more effective, Google and Yahoo have introduced new rules. They have updated their email authentication standards, converting what used to be best practices into mandatory requirements. Senders who don’t comply with these prerequisites will see issues with the delivery of their emails.

What are the changes? What do they mean? How do they affect end customers? And most importantly, what do you need to do? We have all the answers and recommendations to ensure your emails reach your customers.

What are the changes Yahoo and Google announced for 2024?

Gmail’s AI-powered defenses block nearly 15 billion unwanted messages daily, which is more than 99.9% of spam. Still, they started with a cleanup of inactive accounts in May 2023 and are introducing new requirements for bulk senders (those who send more than 5000 messages daily to Gmail accounts) to keep our email inboxes clean.

Similarly, Yahoo explained that they can do more than ever to improve the quality of emails, fight abuse, and improve user experience, starting in the first quarter of 2024.

And we can expect other email providers to follow soon.

You may think this doesn’t apply to you, but the recipient’s email provider could disagree. Consider your peak sending habits to check if these rules apply to you, and following these email deliverability best practices couldn’t hurt you.

The good news is that both providers primarily focused on similar updates, which are:

1. Authentication – Senders must verify their sender identity with standard protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

2. Easy opt-out – If you haven’t already, you must implement a single-click unsubscribe button within your emails.

3. Only send emails users want – Gmail and Yahoo are serious about spam monitoring, and you must stay under the 0.30% spam complaint rate threshold.

Both email providers want to protect their users from spam and unwanted emails.

For example, last year, Google started requiring emails sent to Gmail addresses to have some form of authentication, and they have seen the number of unauthenticated messages plummet by 75%. This helped declutter Gmail user’s inboxes while blocking billions of malicious messages.

These new changes are one step closer to more secure and spam-free email experiences.

However, if senders like yourself don’t secure your systems properly, you allow malicious actors to exploit your resources without detection. These bulk emails may contain malicious content, such as malware, phishing links, or scams, and when users click on those links, they can pose security risks.

And with the number of global e-mail users amounting to 4.26 billion in 2022, neither Google nor Yahoo can take those risks.

No matter who their email provider is, all users deserve the safest, most secure experience possible.

Marcel Becker

Senior Director of Product at Yahoo

What do you need to do?

Now, it is your responsibility to prepare before you find your emails blocked from landing in user’s inboxes.

Get serious about email authentication – DMARC becomes mandatory!

We’re requiring those who send significant volumes to strongly authenticate their emails.


As you may know, email or domain authentication is a way to verify that the sender is who they claim to be and is used to lower attempts of sending fraudulent emails using your domain name. The most commonly used email authentication standards are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

You already had to set up strong authentication with SPF and DKIM. But now, Google and Yahoo require you also to set up DMARC. Messages that don’t carry these protocols will be rejected from the inbox or marked as spam.

By enabling SPF and DKIM, you verify your sender identity and prove to the ISPs that you own the domain. However, if your email fails SPF or DKIM authentication, DMARC tells email receivers what to do.

DMARC records ensure your email is authenticated and warn about authentication failures and fraudulent activities.

How to set up DMARC within Infobip’s platform:

  1. Go to the Infobip Portal.
  2. Choose “Manage” – find the DMARC record (it is the CNAME record that starts with “_dmarc.”) under the Mandatory or Optional DNS records.
  3. Log in to the DNS provider for your domain and configure this DMARC record.

Enable easy unsubscription!

We will require senders to support one-click unsubscribe and honor our user’s requests within two days.


We all sometimes subscribe to newsletters and, after a while, realize we don’t want to receive those emails anymore. Yahoo and Google want this process to be as short as possible – just one step. This means there is no place for links that ask the user to update their subscription preferences and provide feedback. An unsubscribe link with a single-click opt-out pathway at the top or bottom of your emails is now mandatory, and we already implemented it for our clients.

You can also look at it from an engagement perspective – if users report your emails or never open them, it negatively impacts your engagement metrics. Giving them an option to unsubscribe easily could result in better open and spam rates.

Reduce spam rates!

We’ll enforce a clear spam rate threshold that senders must stay under.


You must ensure your spam rate remains below 0.30%, and your domain should not be associated with spam complaints. Otherwise, Google will think recipients are bombarded with unwanted messages from your account. This way, Google and Yahoo protect user inboxes from unwanted messages and ensure that all senders follow opt-in best practices.

The best way to keep this number low is to actively monitor with the Google Postmaster tool and respond to spikes by cleaning your list and reviewing your sending practices

Top tip: Go omnichannel

Considering these new changes from Google and Yahoo, it’s time to rethink your email marketing strategy and consider an omnichannel approach. This means using a variety of channels to reach your customers, such as SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, social media, and in-app messages.

Using multiple channels helps ensure that your customers see your messages, even if they have unsubscribed from your email list.

An omnichannel approach not only spreads your messages over multiple channels but also provides a better overview of user interactions and behaviors across various touchpoints.

Research from Invesp highlights that companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain, on average, 89% of their customers.

This statistic underlines the significant impact an omnichannel approach can have on customer retention, emphasizing the importance of creating seamless experiences across various platforms.

Offering multiple channels can improve your open rates, boost overall marketing ROI, and foster long-lasting connections with your audience.


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Feb 9th, 2024
7 min read

Ana Rukavina