postmaster toolIn typical Google fashion, without much notice or fanfare, the Gmail team has unveiled an innovative new tool that will help further improve the inbox experience- the Gmail Postmaster Tool. As Gmail product manager Sri Harsha Somanchi, noted, admitted, “Gmail spam detection isn’t perfect” (as hard as that is to believe), and so they created this tool with the goal to aid senders of wanted mail. Built for the qualified high-volume sender, this new dashboard provides visibility and insight into key statistics that Gmail previously didn’t offer. Email marketers should start setting this up today (if you haven’t done so already).

If you haven’t, we’ve mapped out how to get started below, and recommend that you get on it ASAP.

The Setup

The key item with setting up the Postmaster Tool is ownership of the domain. To prove this, you will need to add a DNS TXT or a DNS CNAME record. Don’t remove these records after setup, as they will be tested by Google to prove ownership on a recurring basis.

Another important note: each account needs a separate DNS verification record. Until this step is complete, you won’t be able to see your traffic analytics, according to this newly created support page.

The Stats

After you get everything up and running, it’s time to take a dive into the seven dashboards provided. These dashboards show only traffic that passed SPF or DKIM.Each dashboard provides an important set of data for email marketers to analyze. Below is a brief summary of each:

  1. Spam Rate Dashboard: Shows the volume of user-reported spam vs. email that was sent to the inbox. Only emails authenticated by DKIM are eligible for calculation.
  2. Domain Reputation Dashboard: Gives a sense of whether the Gmail filter might mark emails from that Domain as spam.
  3. IP Reputation Dashboard: Gives a sense of whether the Gmail filter might mark emails from that IP as spam.
  4. Feedback Loop: This dashboard shows up only for senders who’ve implemented the Gmail Spam Feedback Loop (FBL). It has two distinct graphs:

Average FBL Spam Rate Graph: Shows average spam rate across all identifiers flagged by FBL, on a given day (when applicable) over time.

Identifier Volume Graph: Shows the number of unique identifiers flagged by FBL per day (when applicable) over time.

  1. Authentication Dashboard: Shows the traffic that passed SPF, DKIM & DMARC over all received traffic that attempted authentication, in a graph for each
  2. Encryption Dashboard: Shows transport layer security (TLS) encrypted traffic vs. all mail received from that domain on two separate graphs.
  3. Delivery Errors Dashboard: This[ one is particularly useful; it shows rejected/temporarily failed traffic vs all authenticated traffic, with useful information in the delivery errors. One example: “The Domain is listed in one or more public Real-time Blackhole Lists. Work with the RBL to get your domain delisted.”

Each individual dashboard can be analyzed separately or as a whole to look for key trends that can be positively or negatively impacting your email sends. You can dig deeper into the dashboards here.

gmail postmaster tool

The Importance

“Knowledge is power,” runs the old truism, and Google’s new Postmaster Tool provides a wealth of powerful knowledge to email marketers. As Google Product Manager Sri Harsha Somanachi notes on the official Gmail blog, Gmail aspires to provide a spam-free Gmail experience. They want to get the wanted mail to the right place and put spam where it belongs. Ultimately, this will place pressure on senders to further adhere to the best practices provided in Gmail’s Bulk Sender Guidelines.

Caveat: While it’s tempting to think that passing Gmail’s stress tests will mean you can ace the ones the other ISPs run, don’t go there. Every ISP has its own set of rules and algorithms, and every ISP remains a unique puzzle.

Feeling overwhelmed or lost by Google’s Postmaster Tool, or deliverability issues in general? ? Not to worry! The Act-On Deliverability Team is up to speed on this exciting new Gmail tool and we want to help. If you want direct help with this new feature (or with other deliverability issues) just reach out to the Act-On sales team to get started.

And for an overall education on deliverability best practices, download Act-On’s free email deliverability white paper.