Are Your Gmails Going to Spam?


This is the most common problem that people come to us for.  Their Gmail subscribers are going to spam.  Most email marketers care, because at least 60% of their list is Gmail.  I’m guessing that you’ve hopped from every ESP, SMTP and MTA service world-wide.  You’ll find an “ok” ESP/SMTP/MTA but they are kicking you out OR the cost is too high for the dismal open rates.  If this sounds like you, keep reading.

All My Gmails Were Going To The Inbox

Three years ago, email marketing was easy.  You needed basic engagement and you’d hit the inbox.  However, there were many email marketers on the scene, making a lot of money with insane open rates (20-40%).  The beauty was, you could “pay to play”.  Let me explain.  You could get a GOOD IP from an SMTP provider, probably more than one, OR could leverage an ESP’s IPs to get into the inbox.  It worked and it was great times for all.  Everyone did well.  However, something was happening behind the scenes.

Gmail subscribers were getting SLAMMED with emails all day long.  To the point where people were looking for alternative providers.  Gmail had a problem, they needed to tweak their algorithm to allow GOOD emails in the inbox but to also thwart the aggressive email marketer.  They quickly realized that pay-to-play was NOT the way to do it.

Gmail Inbox Algorithm Change

The biggest change to the Gmail Inbox Algorithm was this:  We’ll still reward good IPs, but we’re going to put more weight on domains.  Initially, marketers started seeing MASSIVE drops in their Gmail open rates.  Churn and burn domain buying tactics were less effective, and WAY less cost-effective, as they have been in the past.  Even going through the BEST IPs, Amazon/Mandrill, open rates don’t add up.

Google’s new algorithm works something like this:

  1. The IP gets you through the gates
    1. If the IP score is HIGH, you are more likely to land in the inbox
    2. If the IP score is neutral or new, you are more likely to land in the spam folder
    3. If the IP score is POOR or BAD, you WILL land in the spam folder…providing you make it through the gates.
      1. Continued BAD/POOR reputation, combined with more sending (or even consistent sending) will likely cause 4xx errors, meaning that you are being GreyListing.
      2. Past GreyListing, you will see 5xx errors, meaning that your IP is being blacklisted.
        1. A blacklisted IP will NOT be able to send for a few days.
          1. Blacklisted IPs regain their “neutral” status after 30-60 days.  It’s not like Gmail can block IPv4, there’s only a finite amount of it.
  2. The DOMAIN ultimately gets you into the inbox
    1. If the domain is NEW, you will inbox with roughly 10% of your messaging (sound familiar?).
      1. Of that 10%, Gmail slowly lets it into the inbox, if somebody initially clicks spam…that’s it game over.  It’s almost impossible to recover from that.
      2. However, if that 10% engages WELL with your emails, the next blast will see substantially MORE opens/clicks.
    2. If the domain reputation is BAD or POOR, you need a new domain.  It’s too time consuming to  you to repair poor Domain reputation (without us).

This is all well and good, but the real problem is that Gmail has NO Feedback Loop. Gmail realized that making NO public feedback loop would cause internet marketers to rethink their sending strategies.  Ultimately,Gmail doesn’t want their bandwidth clogged up with junk, nor do they want to over inundate their users with emails, going back to the original issue of users wanting to leave Gmail because they are getting spam-bombed all day long.  This lack of a feedback loop wasn’t a bad problem 3 years ago, but now with Gmail’s algorithm change, it has caused marketers to think outside the box, WAY outside the box.

That’s where Inbox Ignite comes in.  Initially, Inbox Ignite’s plan was to send transactional emails through your server and raise your IP reputation so that you could hit the inbox.  The idea made sense and we could have continued selling it all day long.  However, the underlaying problem was this:  What happens when YOU start sending YOUR emails to YOUR list?  You have the same same exact issue that you initially had with the other ESPs, as well as being out even more money and time:  Gmails are going to spam.

We couldn’t offer this service, so we went offline for about 6 months.  We’ve been researching, connecting with other email marketers/ESPs/Deliverability Experts.  The problem is simple and it’s the same problem that the seasoned email marketer faces as well as the brand new email marketer: emails going to spam.  How do you fix that?  The answer is: Quality Data!

Sure, you pay for advertising and your leads come in.  You run them through some sanitization to make sure that it’s a real email.  And, sometimes, they even double opt-in.  Yet, STILL, as time goes on, your emails are going to spam.  It’s not you, it’s THEM!  It’s your subscribers.  There’s a psychological aspect to all of this that is overlooked almost 100% of the time.  Buyers sign up for JUNK just to get what they want, which is typically on the very next page.  Then, they are done with you.  They don’t care about what you are trying to sell them on, in fact, they get irritated with you.  Then they click SPAM!

However, there are others  that opens every email they get, even the ones in spam.  They click the links and NEVER once would click the spam button.  NEVER.  They thinks it’s rude, almost like you are unfriending somebody on Facebook.  They MIGHT unsubscribe to you, but NEVER EVER would click Spam.

Now you might think this is a generalization, however, there’s a correlation between the two types.  One might click on 1 or two of your links, but still click spam.  Another will click on 50-90% of your emails and NEVER clicks spam.

At this point, the problem became analytical.  We started refactoring Inbox Ignite into a new service with a focus on creating a transactional network using artificial intelligence that mimic (you guessed it ) the behaviors of the second type of buyer.

We work with all industries and we look forward to working with you!