New Email Rules 2024: Marketers, Authenticate or Get Trashed

Email authentication is now mandatory in 2024. To avoid emails going to spam or being blocked, marketers must urgently comply with new identity verification requirements from Google and Yahoo by authenticating their email sending infrastructure.

While new requirements often elicit groans from busy bank marketers, the latest around email authentication from Google and Yahoo are crucial measures — not unnecessary burdens. As tempting as it may be to dismiss these sender requirements as just more red tape, ignoring them could directly impair a marketer’s ability to reliably deliver emails and drive campaign results.

At the end of the day, a marketer’s top priority is to send messages and campaigns that their subscribers want to receive. The most brilliant creative strategies, audience segmentation, and optimization tactics are rendered useless if messages never reach their destination. Google and Yahoo’s crackdown on spam and phishing isn’t some petty side effort — it’s a vital move to preserve email’s integrity as a trusted marketing channel.

The Harsh Realities Plaguing Inboxes

We’re all too familiar with the onslaught of obvious spam and malicious emails flooding our personal inboxes daily. From fake bank notifications to outlandish “prince” riches schemes, the deluge seems never-ending. Inboxes are rife with impersonation and fraudulent messages, and legitimate emails struggle to cut through the noise and deception.

“Inboxes are rife with impersonation and fraudulent messages, and legitimate emails struggle to cut through the noise and deception.”

For too long, well-meaning senders have found their legitimate emails blocked, routed to spam, or lost amidst the malicious clutter. With the new sender requirements, legitimate senders now have other, more effective, ways of ensuring their good email isn’t wrapped up amongst the bad. This should allow emails to be delivered more consistently and not get mistaken for fraudulent messages, which is great for bank marketers that have invested immense efforts into building quality email programs and subscriber lists.

Faced with this worsening crisis, Gmail and Yahoo have boldly stepped up as champions for a more secure future for the inbox. Their new email sender requirements aim to ensure that senders prove their legitimacy before emails can be delivered. While a best practice for over a decade, it has become a necessary line in the sand to purge malicious actors relying on lax authentication to abuse brands and defraud employees, partners and users.

What Does This Mean for Bank Marketers?

The crux of the changes: Google, Yahoo and others will begin strictly enforcing the long-established (but never before required) email authentication protocols SPF, DKIM and DMARC. In plain terms, senders are no longer allowed to let anyone send email in their name. senders must now claim their identities, to ensure only those they authorize can send mail as themselves. To do this, senders must now clearly authenticate their identities before emails can be delivered — no more cutting corners.

Make no mistake, this overhaul presents new compliance hurdles bank marketers didn’t ask for. But adhering to robust authentication standards is quickly becoming unavoidable for those wishing to avoid deliverability issues, spam folder exiles or email blocking that could decimate ROI after pouring resources into building audiences.

The good news is that most major email sending platforms will handle compliance basics like unsubscribe functions and spam rate monitoring on the marketer’s behalf. However, the obligation for implementing authenticated sending infrastructure falls squarely on senders themselves. Having SPF, DKIM, DMARC and other standards properly configured is now table stakes for all of a sender’s mail — not just the mail being sent through major platforms.

“Senders must now clearly authenticate their identities before emails can be delivered — no more cutting corners. Make no mistake, this overhaul presents new compliance hurdles bank marketers didn’t ask for.”

Recognizing the scope of these changes, Google has opted for a phased rollout approach that debuts with warning periods in early 2024 before ramping up enforcement over time and ultimately rejecting messages that fail to comply. This affords bank marketers a critical window to audit their existing sender setups, identify gaps, and construct authentication roadmaps to bring everything up to code.

But this grace period shouldn’t breed complacency. Getting legitimate, air-tight authentication processes cemented into your operations will likely require substantial effort and cross-functional collaboration… unless you have the right authentication solutions. Remember, authentication gets you the deliverability you deserve. Bank marketers must use this window wisely to comprehensively address these new requirements – no half-measures will suffice long-term.

Optimizing for Deliverability and Program Success

While implementing the new requirements may seem an unwelcome obstacle, leaning into authentication best practices will ultimately optimize email marketing programs for sustainable success.

By achieving a fully authenticated, compliant sending posture, bank marketers overtly signal their commitment to legitimate practices, effectively telling inbox providers: “We’ve gone the extra mile to verify our identities and these emails from this domain are ours.” This transparency reduces odds of disastrous spam folder filtering or outright message blocking that devastates open rates and ROI.

With a robust, authenticated email infrastructure in place, marketers can finally operate with peace of mind — knowing that if they are sending wanted email, their creative, subscriber-centric campaigns will reliably reach inboxes as intended. Spammers are now forced to authenticate as well and go straight to spam even more efficiently. While there are many other deliverability worries, email authentication is no longer a maybe. It’s a must.

While an initially daunting process, leaning into Google and Yahoo’s new authentication requirements is a necessary step toward preserving and rebuilding trust in email as a marketing channel. By collectively committing to email sender best practices, senders and providers alike can foster a healthier, more secure inbox ecosystem that benefits everyone and drives greater ROI.

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Seth is a serial entrepreneur and startup executive with multiple acquisitions under his belt. He brings 20 years of experience in building successful teams and scalable, profitable technologies. Seth is the current co-chair of the IETF DMARC Working Group, co-chair of the M3AAWG Technical Committee, and chair of the AuthIndicators Working Group developing BIMI. Seth spends his free time finding new things to throw on the grill when the Brooklyn weather permits, is a voracious reader of Science Fiction, and is a devoted parent to a kindergartener with way too much energy.

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