Do the Google & Yahoo Changes Impact Transactional or Marketing Emails?

marketing and transactional emails

Google and Yahoo are rolling out changes starting in February 2024 to make the inbox a safer place for legitimate senders and recipients. At first glance, it looks like these new sender requirements target bulk senders, but there’s more detail and nuance to it than that.

Everyone from seasoned marketers to mom-and-pop shops to casual emailers will need to learn these new requirements and become compliant. Email-sending best practices are no longer best practices—they’re must-have protocols.

These adjustments aren’t just about silencing the spam bots and phishers—they’re about cultivating a space where emails are respected, delivered reliably, and protected from impersonation. It’s about restoring trust in a communication channel that, for many, remains the backbone of online interaction.

However, many email senders still have questions ahead of these changes. Which emails will be most affected by these changes? Is it just marketing emails? What about transactional messages? And what if you’re just using a personal email account rather than an email service provider (ESP)?

Below, we’ll walk you through the types of emails impacted by the Google and Yahoo updates, the potential consequences, and what you can do to protect your brand and its messaging.

Quick Recap on the Google and Yahoo Changes

Before we dive into the types of emails affected by the Google and Yahoo sender requirement changes, let’s quickly recap the new rules:

  • Authentication: Authenticate all messages with DMARC (technically, authenticate all messages with SPF or DKIM aligned with the From domain)
  • DMARC: Send from a domain with a DMARC policy of at least p=none.
  • DNS: Have valid forward and reverse DNS that match each other.
  • Unsubscribes: Use the one-click unsubscribe header and an unsubscribe link in the footer.
  • Spam Rate: Maintain a low spam rate of < 0.1%.
  • Encryption: Encrypt your email (technically, it requires TLS).
Yahoo and Google timeline

Types of Emails Affected by Google and Yahoo Sender Requirement Changes

Marketing emails aren’t the only ones getting new rules in February. Everything from transactional emails to newsletters to personal messaging will be impacted, making this impact even more detrimental, even having the potential to affect revenue. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Marketing Emails

For seasoned email marketers, the landscape is about to shift. Under the Google and Yahoo spotlight, marketing emails will face increased scrutiny through stricter authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

We (and the email industry) have been advocating for these protocols for years, but now they’re becoming a must-have necessity. Proper authentication verifies your identity as a legitimate sender, protecting recipients from impersonation scams and safeguarding your brand reputation.

Beyond authentication, permission management is also taking center stage. Purchased lists and forced subscriptions have always been no-nos, but now they’re getting more heavily regulated.

One-click unsubscribe buttons will become mandatory, allowing users to opt out of your outreach with a single, effortless click:

“Always give your recipients an easy way to unsubscribe from your messages. Letting people opt out of your messages can improve open rates, click-through rates, and sending efficiency. One-click unsubscribe makes it easy for people to opt out. If you send more than 5,000 messages per day, your marketing and subscribed messages must support one-click unsubscribe.”


Also, you’ll need to watch your spam reports:

“To comply with the sender guidelines, keep your spam rate below 0.1% and prevent spam rates from ever reaching 0.3% or higher. Spam rate impact is graduated, and spam rates of 0.3% or higher have an even greater negative impact on email inbox delivery.”


Non-compliance will lead to trouble. Ultimately, your messages may not be delivered to your Gmail and Yahoo inbox recipients, and those subscribers likely make up most of your email list. We’ve already started receiving reports of senders receiving temporary error messages.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Embrace Authentication: Implement and monitor SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to become a verified sender the inbox welcomes.
  • Maintain Your List: Treat your subscribers like gold. Clean your lists regularly, remove inactive users, and prioritize opt-in methods.
  • Make Unsubscribing Easy: One-click unsubscribe buttons are your friends, not foes. Offer a seamless exit, and you might even win back hearts later.
  • Send Wanted Mail: Deliver content that resonates, personalize your outreach, and prioritize value over sales pitches. You’ll likely face deliverability penalties if your spam rate exceeds 0.1%.

Remember, these new rules aren’t meant to stifle marketing—they’re intended to elevate it. Senders who follow these rules will get their legitimate emails delivered and face less competition from spammers and bad actors in the inbox.

2. Transactional Emails

Urgent invoices, order confirmations, password resets, and critical account updates—transactional emails are the lifeblood of any online business. However, while these might seem like must-deliver messages, under the new Google and Yahoo rules, even these trusty messengers need to earn their spot in the inbox.

Here’s your roadmap to ensure your transactional emails bypass the spam filters:

  • Start with Authentication: Implement and monitor SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to establish your identity as a legitimate sender.
  • Optimize Your Sending Domain: Separate transactional emails from marketing campaigns to maintain a clean reputation.
  • Keep Your Lists Clean: Ensure all recipients have explicitly opted in and remove inactive users regularly.
  • Monitor and Adapt: Track your sender reputation and delivery metrics, making adjustments as needed.

However, unlike with marketing messages, Google doesn’t require you to add a one-click unsubscribe to the header of your transactional emails:

“One-click unsubscribe is required only for commercial, promotional messages. Transactional messages are excluded from this requirement. Some examples of transactional messages are password reset messages, reservation confirmations, and form submission confirmations.”


Proactive efforts now translate to reliable, delivered communications later. Don’t wait until April to get your ducks in a row—your customers can’t afford to miss these messages, and neither can you.

3. Newsletters and Regular Broadcasts

Sometimes, we lump newsletters and regular messaging into marketing content, but we thought it’d be helpful here to distinguish the difference. Even when you’re not actively selling something, inbox providers still regulate your sending.

While you’ll want to comply with all the marketing message guidelines, you’ll want an added focus on engagement and relevance. Newsletters and regular broadcasts face a crucial test under the new Google and Yahoo sender requirements. Their ability to land in inboxes hinges on three key elements:

  1. Wanted: Recipients must have opted in to receive your messages, and it shouldn’t be through an automatically checked box at checkout.
  2. Relevance: Your messaging should be segmented and personalized to be relevant to your audience.
  3. Engagement: Your emails should be valuable, and open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe metrics often represent that value (or lack thereof).

Here’s how to ensure your newsletters keep getting delivered:

  • Focus on Value: Prioritize content that informs, entertains, or educates your target audience. Offer insights, expert opinions, or unique perspectives that resonate with their interests.
  • Track Your Performance: Monitor key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes. Use this data to understand what resonates and where adjustments are needed.
  • Embrace Segmentation and Personalization: Treat your readers as individuals, not a homogenous mass. Segment your list based on interests and tailor your content accordingly.
  • Encourage Two-Way Interaction: Invite feedback, spark conversations, and create opportunities for reader participation. Polls, questions, and user-generated content can boost engagement and keep your audience hooked.

4. Personal Emails and Individual Accounts

The Google and Yahoo changes might seem to primarily target businesses, but these guidelines are intended for every email sender. If you send emails to Google or Yahoo accounts, these new changes apply to you. There are even some updates that small business owners need to know about if they’re sending from a domain.

As of now, the stricter requirements will only be enforced for bulk senders (those who’ve sent 5,000 emails in a 24-hour period before), but eventually, these rules could apply to everyone—so it’s best practice to do your due diligence and comply with the requirements sooner rather than later.

  1. Authenticate: Implement authentication with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.
  2. DNS: Verify that your sending IP address aligns with the one listed in your domain’s PTR record.
  3. Spam Rate: Keep your spam complaint rate below 0.1%. This rate is calculated daily.

Reach Compliance with Valimail

While these new guidelines require a lot of changes, one of the most prominent and pressing is the need for proper authentication—and that’s often easier said than done. That’s where we can help.

Valimail takes the complexity out of DMARC authentication. We guide you every step of the way and help automate the process so that you can be compliant with these requirements.

Email compliance validator - Valimail Align

This is where Valimail Align comes in:

  • Easiest Path to Compliance: Effortlessly configure all your services using guided workflows, identifying issues, and troubleshooting with a single click.
  • Speed to Authentication: Tailored for marketers and a non-technical audience, our solution provides precisely what you need for swift guidance in minutes, not weeks.
  • Confidence in Delivery: Utilize our user-friendly interface to prompt address failures and attain unwavering compliance.
  • Trusted Partner: Leverage the industry’s most awarded and trusted solution for unmatched reliability tailored to your requirements.

If you aren’t compliant with these new email sender requirements, your email is at risk of being blocked. Are you ready for a new era of email authentication?

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