Breaking Through The Gmail Wall: Brands Improve Their Inbox Placement

Brands are getting more of their email into Gmail inboxes. And there is a simple explanation: they have improved their sender reputations, according to Gmail Deliverability, a new study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing (YLM).

The percentage of senders with high reputations now stands at 76% compared with mid-2017, when it was 25%. Those with medium reputations declined from 47% in 2017 to 15% this year.

What explains this staggering increase? It is partly due to changes to Gmail’s algorithm — these can have “a significant impact on senders’ reputation,” the study says. But YLM attributes it more to “positive changes in marketers’ mailing practices.”

Either way, companies with great reputation saw their “inboxing” delivery rates rise to 97.3%, up from 90% in 2017. Even those with medium reps saw a rise — from 65.4% in 2017 to 93.6% this time around.



That reflects a 29% improvement from medium to high and a 78% rise from low to medium. Even the change from bad to low reputation increases inbox rates by 45%.

These metrics matter because Gmail is the fastest-growing and most widely used ISP. It has over 1.2 billion users worldwide, and accounts for 30% of all brands’ email subscribers, compared to 17% in 2013, according to YLM research.

YLM tracked Gmail reputation metrics and panel inbox placement data for 150 brands.

Firms with bad reputations, according to YLM, according to YLM:

  • Migrated to a new ESP within the past 90 days
  • Only send mail to highly inactive subscribers
  • Strictly send affiliate/acquisition emails
  • Send messages very infrequently

In contrast, those with high reputations:

  • Deploy triggered or transactional emails
  • Closely follow Google’s best practices
  • Target a very active subscriber segment  
  • Have a confirmed opt-in subscription practice (as opposed to single opt-in)
  • Mail almost exclusively to new subscribers and those who have opened within the past three to six months
  • Implement email authentication best practices

YLM notes that in June 2017, 20% of all sender domains with high reputations were exclusively sending transactional messages .

"The importance of email for marketers only continues to grow, and as Gmail has become the fastest-growing and most actively used ISP, brands' campaign success hinges on their reputation with Gmail," states Jim Sturm, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing.

He adds: "There are several key deliverability best practices closely tied to Gmail reputation, and marketers must understand and adhere to these practices to improve their standing with this ISP and ensure they're reaching subscribers."

Next story loading loading..