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Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

A straightforward guide to understanding Google Postmaster Tools for improved email deliverability.

When you imagine an old-time postmaster, you probably see a stout, thick-spectacled man with a cheerful grin and limitless energy, happy to help the townsfolk with all their mail-related issues. Right? Just us?

Regardless of how you picture him, no task was beyond the postmaster. He could do it all–whether it was tracking a lost letter, troubleshooting, processing incoming and outgoing mail, or preparing reports.

Today, Google Postmaster Tools play the same role, but for Gmail matters.

Why do we care about Gmail?

Statista states Gmail is the most popular email client globally, slightly ahead of Apple iPhone. Up to 36.5% of email users use Gmail to send and receive emails. Apple Mail comes at a distant third, with a mere 10% of the email client market share.

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

The translation?

When it comes to email, Gmail is king. Therefore, you will only reach a fraction of your subscriber base if you fail to optimize your email campaigns for Gmail.

In this guide, you will learn how to set up Google Postmaster Tools and get practical tips on using them effectively.

Google Postmaster Tools (What Are They?)

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

Google Postmaster Tools is a free suite of email technologies provided by Google to help email marketers optimize their Gmail emails.

Postmaster Tools help you master crucial Gmail-related issues such as email deliverability, domain reputation, security, feedback loops, spam reports, and performance diagnostics about your email domains.

In short, it's a convenient tool if you send large volumes of emails and want to analyze data about your sending domain.

How To Set Up Google Postmaster Tools

To use Google Postmaster Tools, you must first have a Google email or GSuite account.

Don't have one? No worries–signing up is easy, and you can do it in a minute or two on this page. If you are part of a team, create a new alias account so you don't have to share your personal email when sharing data with your team members.

Got your Google account email? Great.

Let's get into the details of how to set up Postmaster Tools.

Step 1: Go to Postmaster Tools and hit Get Started.

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

Step 2: Enter the domain you used to authenticate your email and click Next.

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

A quick tip: type your domain without the https:// prefix. Otherwise, the pop-up page won't respond.

Step 3: Click Verify to verify ownership of your domain.

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

If you get a "Your DNS TXT verification record was not found" message, wait for a few minutes and try again.

Are you still having trouble?

Try "Adding a CNAME record" as an alternative.

It may take a while before your domain's verification status updates to "Verified." Raring to go? You can skip the verification step by clicking Not Now.

Google Postmaster doesn't populate data immediately after you set it up. It can take up to 48 hours to start seeing your data–so don't panic if you don't see it immediately after signing up.

Want to give a team member access to your Postmaster Tools dashboards?

It's easy.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to Postmaster Tools.

  2. Point to the verified domain you want to add someone to.

  3. On your right, Click More and then Manage Users.

  4. Click the "Add" button on the bottom right.

  5. Enter the Google Account email address of the user you want to access your domain's Postmaster Tools data in the pop-up window that emerges.

That's it.

Note that you can only add the person if they have a Google account.

Once you've added someone, give them a heads up–Postmaster Google doesn't send a notification. However, the person will see the domain on the dashboard as soon as they log in to Postmaster Tools.

Gmail Postmaster (How Does It Work?)

Google Postmaster gives you many dashboards to help you analyze various data points about emails you've sent to Gmail users.

You will get data about things like:

1. IP Reputation

Having a good IP reputation boosts the chances of your emails landing in your recipient's inbox rather than the notorious spam folder. They classify your IP reputation into four categories:

  • Bad: An IP address known for sending a high volume of spam emails. Gmail's Spam Filters nab emails coming from this IP address and mark them as spam.

  • Low: This sender sends a significant amount of spam. Gmail filters mark most emails from this address as spam, but a few reach the inbox.

  • Medium/Fair: An IP address that sends good emails that get delivered, but there's also a moderate amount of spam.

  • High: A sender with an excellent record for sending good emails with a high deliverability rate. Rarely are emails from this address marked as spam.

2. Domain Reputation

The higher your domain reputation, the higher the chances of your emails bypassing the Gmail Spam Filter. A low domain reputation means lower chances of avoiding the spam folder.

I will cover domain reputation in-depth later.

3. Delivery Errors

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

This dashboard tracks the number of emails (in percentage) that still need to be delivered or have been stopped momentarily. The system records and monitors these reasons behind mail delivery errors:

  • Suspected spam: The system feels this email traffic is spam.

  • Spammy content: Mail marked as spam because the content itself is spammy.

  • Bad or unsupported attachment: Emails have attachments that Gmail doesn't support.

  • Sending IP has a low reputation: The sending IP has a lousy reputation.

  • The sending domain has a low reputation: The sending domain has an appalling reputation.

  • Rate limit exceeded: Some temporary rate limits have been activated because the domain sends an unusually high number of emails.

  • Blacklisted IP: The sending IP is on the Real-time Blackhole List (RBL) of addresses blacklisted for email spam. Get your IP delisted.

  • DMARC rejection policy of sender domain: The sender domain system has been set to quarantine or reject emails that fail DMARC authentication.

4. Spam Rate

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

This dashboard measures the number of emails marked as spam by users compared to the total number of emails sent to active users. Google Postmaster shows it as a percentage.

Keep your spam rate as low as possible to keep your sender reputation clean.

Aim for the standard spam rate of one complaint for every 1,000 emails you send or less than 0.1%. Anything higher and you risk having your message land in the spam folder.

5. Authentication

Authentication is an email deliverability best practice that enhances your sender's reputation. The authentication metric gauges the percentage of your emails that passed DMARC, SPF, and DKIM compared to all received traffic that tried authentication. Authentication protects users from spoofing and phishing scams and boosts your deliverability score.

6. Encryption

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

The authentication metric gauges the percentage of your emails that passed DMARC, SPF, and DKIM compared to all received traffic that tried authentication. Authentication protects users from spoofing and phishing scams and boosts your deliverability score. Authentication is an email deliverability best practice that enhances your sender's reputation.

Google Postmaster displays one of the most important email security protocols: Transport Layer Security (TLS).

  • (TLS) Inbound: Displays the percentage of Gmail incoming emails that passed TLS encryption against all emails received from that domain.

  • (TLS) Outbound: Displays the percentage of Gmail outgoing email that was accepted over TLS encryption against all emails sent to that domain.

Encryption 'locks up' messages, so no one intercepts them as they move between email clients.

7. Gmail Feedback Loop (FBL)

The Gmail Feedback Loop alerts large-volume senders if they are getting a high volume of complaints from Gmail users. To activate this dashboard, you must first set up the Gmail Spam Feedback Loop. FBL groups show you the average FBL spam rate and identifier volume graph:

  • Average FBL spam rate graph: Displays the average spam rate across all identifiers flagged by FBL on a particular day (when applicable) over time.

  • Identifier volume graph: Displays the number of unique identifiers flagged by FBL per day (when applicable) over time.

Google Postmaster Domain Reputation (Why Does It Matter?)

Google Postmaster Tools: Set Up & Tips For Success

One of Postmaster's crucial metrics is domain reputation.

As the name implies, email domain reputation scores your domain based on the history of its credibility as seen by Internet Service Providers (ISPNs) and Email Service Providers (ESPs).

Google Postmaster rates your domain reputation as bad, low, medium, or high, similar to the IP reputation categories:

  • Bad: A history of sending an enormously high volume of spam. Mail from this entity will almost always be rejected at SMTP or marked as spam.

  • Low: Known to send a considerable volume of spam regularly, and mail from this sender will probably be marked as spam.

  • Medium/Fair: Known to send good mail, but has occasionally sent a low volume of spam. Most of the emails from this entity will have a fair deliverability rate unless there's a notable increase in spam levels.

  • High: Has an excellent track record of a very low spam rate, and complies with Gmail's sender guidelines. Spam filters rarely mark mail from this sender as spam.

Why bother with your Google Postmaster domain reputation?

Getting more negative reports stains your sender's reputation. A lousy domain reputation score sends your deliverability rates plummeting. A higher score shows you have an excellent reputation, which boosts your deliverability rates.

So, a higher Postmaster Domain Reputation means most of your emails will reach your subscribers' inboxes.

Google Postmaster Tools (5 Key Tips For Success)

Below are some tips on how to get the most out of Google Postmaster Tools.

Make sure you meet the sending threshold.

Gmail Postmaster collects and generates data daily. For you to see and analyze your data sets, you must be a high-volume sender. The Google Postmaster Tools platform doesn't specify how many emails you must send daily to see reports. However, experienced marketers and email optimization platforms like Seventh Sense say you must be sending emails to a minimum of 100 unique Gmail addresses per day for Google to generate data on your dashboard. If you send fewer than that, you will get sporadic reports or not get them at all.

Note the spam rate caveat.

Google says, "If a substantial number of emails are delivered directly to spam folders, you may see a low spam rate even though users may still be marking your inboxed emails as spam."

So don't take your spam rate numbers at face value, especially if they are low. Dig deeper. Look at other key metrics, such as domain reputation and IP reputation, to get to the bottom of why things aren't working.

Go beyond recent data.

The Google Postmaster default displays data for the past 5-7 days. The system can show you data for the last 30, 60, 90, and 120 days. To read patterns better and get deeper insights into your data, make it a habit to go as far back as 120 days. Going back to old data helps you tie certain dips and spikes in your data sets to specific campaigns or actions you took on your email newsletter platforms.

Add your sub-domains to your Postmaster Tools.

Google Postmaster allows you to add sub-domains and see their data without going through the hassle of verifying each of them. This data also covers traffic corresponding to the exact domain name match. You can only add subdomains after you have verified ownership of your primary domain name.

So if you skipped the verification step when setting up, it's time to go back and complete it.

But if you want to set up Postmaster Tools access for many accounts for your domain, you must set up separate DNS verification records for each.

Fix the "No data to display" error message.

Sometimes you may see a "No data to display" error message on the IP and Domain reputation dashboards.

Two things trigger this error. First, it happens when your domain reputation is too low to show a value. If that's the case, improve your email delivery rate. After boosting your domain reputation, your dashboard data will populate.

In certain instances, some of your dashboards, like the Spam Rate and Feedback Loop, will be blank. To solve this issue, authenticate your email with DKIM.

Boost Gmail Deliverability With beehiiv

Deliverability is pivotal to newsletter success, and beehiiv was built with deliverability in mind.

Here are some ways beehiiv can help you improve your email deliverability:

  • In-built Gmail clipping warning when your email inches toward the 102kb limit.

  • Configure custom sending domains to monitor domain reputation.

  • 3rd party email validation to guarantee only approved emails on your list.

  • Identify, fend off, and remove poor reputation senders on the platform.

Google Postmaster (Closing Thoughts)

Google Postmaster Tools is valuable for high-volume newsletter senders to maximize email deliverability. Use its detailed dashboards of vital metrics to track things like Gmail delivery errors, domain reputation, spam reports, and more.

The best part?

It's absolutely free.

The only major con is that it only works if you are a high-volume sender, so you will have to grow your email list and send larger volumes. But once you reach the threshold, you will enjoy higher deliverability rates and other benefits.

Want optimal deliverability rates? Launch your newsletter on beehiiv today!

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