So you ran an inbox test…and the results look good; Inbox, Inbox, wait.. Junk?

“Why does Gmail junk my message, yet it goes to inboxes elsewhere?”

It’s a question that comes up frequently, usually followed by the customer saying,

“We haven’t changed anything on our end!”

This got me thinking.. and after a few hours of head scratching it hit me that Gmail’s feedback loop could be the culprit. Whilst other email clients use the “this is junk button” as another way to unsubscribe the user, the filters over at Gmail have different ideas…

Hitting this button in Gmail will cause a feedback loop, which will tell you about the Junk complaint but will not tell you which user has complained.

It also gives Gmail a view into what subscribers think about your email and data collection methods, such as if a user has clicked the Spam button, did they really sign up to your emails in the first place?

It seems that once a number of user complaints goes over the appropriate threshold level, you will start facing issues, and Gmail will continue to filter your messages straight into recipients’ Junk folders.

There is no magic button, formula or text that will instantly fix this issue. The onus is on you, the marketer, to find out how to send emails to people who want them.

A good place to start is by determining the users who are engaged with your brand and want to receive your emails, whilst filtering out the users who haven’t engaged with you for a length of time.

You can then target your engaged Gmail users by running a segment on your database within PureCampaign. Run a segment on your contact list to find all users with an @gmail address and then place a rule on this to show only users who opened in the last 6 months.

Overall, Gmail deliverability is stricter than many other providers. In fact, Gmail’s filters are probably the smartest and most complex of all the major webmail providers. Therefore once you have an issue with Gmail it is not simple to undo.

So to help keep on top of your Gmail deliverability, you can also practice the following:

  • Remove inactive users
  • Have a clear unsubscribe
  • Avoid using link shorteners
  • Make sure your sending domain has a valid DKIM and SPF record (contact our dedicated support team)
  • Ask your engaged Gmail users to add you to their safe list

Alternatively, you can read our Guide to Email Deliverability here.