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Are Your Emails Truly Compliant? How to Ensure One-Click Unsubscribe and Marketing Cloud Play Nice

CRM CRM, Data, Data maturity 3 min read
Profile picture for user Dave Teo

Written by
Dave Teo
Sr. Marketing Cloud Consultant

Collage of two images: on the left, a person is typing quickly on a laptop keyboard. On the right, a person is opening the Gmail app on a mobile device.

As of February 2024, Gmail and Yahoo Mail have begun enforcing new email deliverability rules for bulk senders, meaning those who send 5,000 or more emails a day. These changes are designed to make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe from emails that are no longer relevant to them. And while that’s good for everyone (less irrelevant info for consumers, better engagement rates for brands), the changes incur hefty fines for non-compliance—and that’s a big deal, because many brands who think they’re in compliance have actually missed one crucial detail.

What are the new Gmail and Yahoo Mail deliverability rules?

Gmail and Yahoo Mail now require bulk senders to do the following:

  • Meet email authentication standards, including DKIM, SPF and DMARC.
  • Implement one-click unsubscribe, and honor unsubscribe requests within two days.
  • Keep their spam complaint rate below 0.3%.

Platforms like Salesforce Marketing Cloud have done a lot of the heavy lifting here, helping brands get up to speed with their current guidelines. But it’s the responsibility of brands, and partners like us, to confirm their tech stack is properly set up. Throughout this process, we’ve found a common (but easily fixed) problem that has flown under the radar until now.

Don’t overlook this one detail.

Under the new guidelines, brands must implement one-click unsubscribe, otherwise known as the list-unsubscribe header. This shouldn’t be confused with the subscription preference center link that is typically placed at the footer of every brand’s commercial emails; this is a new and additional button that now appears within the header of an email on major email provider platforms like Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

The problem: unless you’ve accounted for it, that button won’t behave as expected. When a recipient clicks the button, your system may not be set up to honor those unsubscribes in Marketing Cloud, particularly if you utilize a Custom Preference Center connected to an external source of truth such as Salesforce CRM, a common practice for most Marketing Cloud users. Instead, the request will be stored in some obscure part of the platform, unbeknownst to you. This means that your Custom Preference Center or CRM may continue to reflect the incorrect subscription preference, putting you at risk of non-compliance with unsubscription preferences. This problem may exacerbate if you are running automations that overwrite subscription preferences based on your source of truth. As a result, you may accumulate spam complaints (and fines) over time.

In short, if you are relying on an external source of truth to manage subscription preferences in Marketing Cloud, the new one-click unsubscribe button won’t automatically behave like your existing unsubscription process. You must review and, if necessary, update your subscription process to account for this additional one-click unsubscribe method that your recipients may adopt to unsubscribe from your emails.

Ensuring compliance is easy.

Want to test whether you comply with these email authentication standards? Start by checking with your email analysis tool of choice, like Google Postmaster, Microsoft Smart Network Data Services (SNDS) or Yahoo Sender Hub. These platforms allow you to easily check email performance and message authentication, including tracing spam complaints.

If you are unsure how to get started or are looking for a quick solution to ensure compliance, especially with the one-click unsubscribe (list-unsubscribe header), don't despair. Our Marketing Automation team has developed an easily deployable solution, so you can rest assured that you won't fall short of Gmail and Yahoo Mail's new email requirements.

Brands have already done so much to meet changing modern guidelines, so it would be a shame for that effort to go to waste because of an easily overlooked disconnect. But we can get you up to speed quickly and easily if you need it.

CTA: Got any concerns about Gmail and Yahoo Mail’s new email deliverability rules? Reach out and we can help!



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The website has been translated to English with the help of Humans and AI