SEO

Gmail Spam Filtering Explained: Actionable Advice for Email Marketers

gmail spam update feature Gmail Spam Filtering Explained: Actionable Advice for Email Marketers

Gmail has an automatic spam detection system that uses a combination of pattern analysis, user analytics, and virus/phishing detection to send suspicious messages directly to spam. Gmail’s spam detection and filtering, which is extremely accurate, is part of why the email service has reached its current popularity levels.

Yesterday evening, Gmail announced a new feature that will allow users to determine why a message was sent to the spam folder. Now, when a Gmail user clicks a message in the spam folder, Gmail will provide detailed information related to why the message was filtered and inform the user of any potential dangers associated with the message.

Ela Czajka, a Google software engineer, wrote the following regarding the new feature:

“We hope that this is not only interesting, but also helps you learn about scams and other harmful messages that Gmail filters out. Whether you prefer to leave your spam folder untouched or do some educational digging, the information will be there for you.”

Although Gmail already did an excellent job filtering spam, this new feature will help Gmail users better understand the risks associated with spam. In addition, email marketers can use the information the new feature provides to create campaigns that will be more successful.

To maximize the chances that an email campaign will not be filtered as spam, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Create a new email marketing campaign using normal methods
  2. Prior to sending out emails to your entire customer database, test your messages on a small selection of Gmail addresses that you have access to
  3. If some of the messages are sent to spam, carefully consider the “marketing feedback” in the red message boxes and alter the message based on Gmail’s “advice

The primary reasons a message might end up in the spam folder include:

Phishing – A spammer is fraudulently trying to trick a Gmail user into sharing sensitive information
Unconfirmed Sender – A message is missing the normal authentication data and the Gmail system cannot confirm the identity of the person or company sending the email
Suspicious Message Attributes – The message displays certain characteristics (i.e. IP address, attachments, language usage, mature content, pharmaceuticals, etc.) that causes the Gmail system to mark it as spam
Gmail User Input – If a Gmail user has previously marked messages with the “Report spam” or “Report phishing” buttons, the system will learn to route certain messages directly to Spam from the sender

With the exception of the “Gmail User Input” category, an email marketer can easily alter the message, mail service, settings, or make other minor changes that will decrease the chances of an email being sent to spam.

[Sources Include: Google, The Next Web, & CNET]

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David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), online marketing, mergers and acquisition, product development, and branding. Now, I am focused on a new startup in the travel and tourism market niche.
0c15e0b63451c1383c65f73c9084b747 64 Gmail Spam Filtering Explained: Actionable Advice for Email Marketers

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3 thoughts on “Gmail Spam Filtering Explained: Actionable Advice for Email Marketers

  1. Thanks for the update David. Apart from the above, i heard they also filter mails based on certain colors (like red color text that invites lot of attention) used in the mail. I think the best is to be as original as possible, mails in rich text formats.

    1. The filters you are speaking of (red colors, bold, large text, etc.) would probably not be a factor unless they trigger the “suspicious message attributes” filter. To determine if a certain color or language style will be a problem, I would recommend conducting a small test campaign as described above. If the emails are sent to the spam folder, open the message and see Google’s explanation.