Increasingly over the last few months I’ve been seeing questions from folks struggling with reputation at Gmail and inbox delivery. It seems like everything exploded in the beginning for 2019 and everything changed. I’ve been avoiding blaming it all on TensorFlow, but maybe the addition of the new ML engine really did fundamentally change how things were working at gmail.
What folks are seeing
- Cutting back to engaged only users is not effectively improving reputation.
- Inboxing is no longer directly tracking with reputation on GPT (high reputation mail is going to bulk, low reputation mail is going to inbox).
- Recipients are complaining about mail being misfiltered.
What can we do?
Right now, we’re mostly falling back on the things that worked 6 months ago: cut back sending to the most engaged recipients and then gradually add back in other addresses once you’re back in the inbox. The challenge is we’re not seeing the improvements we’ve become accustomed to seeing when using this strategy.
With one of my clients their reputation, as reported on GPT, actually fell during the period of cutbacks. Based on consistently high open rates and various inbox tests, including my own and those by one of the commercial vendors, we determined that recipients were getting mail in the inbox despite the low reputation.
Other delivery experts have reported similar patterns. Horrible domain and IP reputation (sometime in the deepest, darkest red) but reaching the inbox and seeing open rates in the 20 – 30% range.
I’ve also seen the flip side, green IPs and domain rep, but the mail is going to bulk.
Yup. Sorry. Wish I had better news. Right now we’re falling back to what worked 4 months ago, because it’s what we had and it did work.
One thing that is new information to me is that, according to folks inside Google, the domain and IP reputation showing on google postmaster tools includes all domains handled by gmail, including GSuite hosted domains. Maybe these are having a disproportional effect on reputation, I don’t know.
My current thoughts are:
- Pay attention to your engagement and open rates at Gmail
- Don’t worry about domain and IP rep too much, if your marketing is performing.
- Maybe we need to start including G Suite hosted domains in engagement restrictions, as painful as that’s going to be.
Anyone got any insight? Is there something we’re missing here?