The Official Gmail Blog recently announced the release of a Postmaster Tools site. As with most new things Google creates, it has generated a lot of buzz. Many other well-known ISPs such as Comcast, Cox, AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. all had postmaster or delivery support channels available for years. ISP-hosted postmaster pages have traditionally helped provide best practices, details about reasons for blocking, bulking and investigating a variety of other deliverability issues. So what is the big deal when Gmail finally comes up with their own version of postmaster tools? Let’s dig in!
Like many well-known ISPs, Gmail has had their own Bulk Sender Guidelines page for quite a while. Every marketer likes to believe that they follow best practices, whether they are truly committed to these practices or not. So despite best efforts to utilize all the available campaign metrics and third party delivery monitoring tools, marketers have still found deliverability issues as mysterious and viewed them with a sense of skepticism. Gmail seems to understand there is a missing piece to this puzzle and here’s what they’ve come up with to close the gap.
Key takeaways for email marketers
- Gmail Postmaster Tools isn’t a channel for mediation or communication with the Gmail postmaster or abuse department. Senders do get the opportunity to view specific metrics that may have led to delivery issues.
- Setting up access to Gmail Postmaster Tools isn’t going to “whitelist” senders at Gmail. Senders do get data and facts straight from the source (Gmail), and therefore can make intelligent data-driven decisions to improve your email program.
- Senders or legitimate marketers won’t be any less likely to experience bulking issues by signing up for Gmail Postmaster Tools. Senders do have spam rate data to check if too many Gmail subscribers are marking email as spam and leading to delivery issues.
If you’ve noticed a common theme here, it has to do with data and facts. Gmail is providing senders with actual data straight from the source to reflect possible issues with spam rates, IP reputation, domain reputation, feedback loop, authentication, encryption, and specific delivery errors. For customers of email marketing platforms with their own reporting tools, such as Oracle Marketing Cloud's Eloqua and Responsys, this will be a very welcome addition to reference alongside campaign reporting metrics. More data points lead to more accurately and quickly narrowing down the root cause of an issue, which in turn leads to more focused improvements on future mailings.
Gmail does not currently offer a way to export or integrate these metrics, so it is only available by logging into the Gmail Postmaster Tools account. The Oracle Marketing Cloud deliverability team has already been busy at work setting up many customer domains within the Gmail Postmaster Tool to better support our customers deliverability. Customers wishing to view their domains directly may contact us through normal support channels for help setting up their own Gmail Postmaster Tools account.
Gmail isn’t the first, nor the only ISP to provide this type of data for senders. Microsoft’s SNDS has been around for several years and provides metrics and insights about mail sent to Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail). The two largest ISPs in China, QQ.com and NetEase, also provide similar reporting tools to help senders monitor and improve performance. We certainly hope that more ISPs will follow suit. Having data directly from ISPs helps more accurately reflect the gap between a sender’s actual mailing behavior and the recommended guidelines for successful delivery.
On a related note for those interested in learning more about the inner workings of Gmail, check out Google’s artificial neural network. Skynet may not be self-aware yet, but your Gmail account is pretty darn close to it!
Grab the Modern Marketing Guide to Deliverability and other guides to ensure you achieve maximum deliverability of your email.