Did Gmail Just Kill Automated Outbound Sales Emails?

I don’t think so…but I couldn’t resist the doomsday title. ¬†ūüôā

We noticed yesterday that our email bounce rates suddenly spiked ¬†And that we were getting rejections from addresses that we’ve verified, even addresses that we’ve 2x verified — via our email validation¬†process¬†and via 3rd party email validation tools.

gmail-return

We’ve emailed some friendlies and found that we’re not the only ones having this problem. ¬†Many other companies that rely on semi-automated prospecting emails to fill the top of their funnel are suddenly having email delivery problems.

My hunch is that the new Gmail spam filters — detailed here¬† —¬†¬†just started taking effect. ¬†Here are some¬†patterns we’ve seen thus far are:

  • There seems to be a higher incidence of returns with messages that contain links.¬† Removing URLs seems to help. ¬†We’re going to test to see if including — but not tracking — URLs has the same impact.
  • There seems to be a higher incidence of returns with messages that are continuations of a previous thread.¬† So we’re starting a new thread with every email we deploy instead of “replying” to a previous thread with a “just making sure you saw this” email.
  • My hunch is that Gmail might detect that¬†the same email is going out over and over, so we’re going to start testing ways to automatically generate more variations and more personalization — which we were already doing anyway. ¬†ūüôā

Take heart — all is not lost. ¬†After finding this problem and figuring out some work-arounds, we started a new batch for a customer yesterday afternoon that had a 55% open rate — so the getting still seems to be pretty good.

We’ll write more as we learn more. ¬†Ping us if you have any insights or questions.

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