Why Publishers Must Use Google Postmaster Tools

Google Postmaster Tools (GPT) is a free tool that any media company can use to see how well they are doing at delivering email to Gmail and Google Workspace users. Think of it like Google Search Console, but for email. It provides insights into email performance, sender reputation, and potential deliverability issues.

Google Email Reputation Is Critical

As publishers, our email reputation and deliverability is critical. We rely upon email newsletters to keep our readers informed and drive traffic to our websites. Email is the best channel for driving subscriptions and event registration. And it’s a major source of digital advertising revenue with newsletter ads, sponsored emails, and lead generation.

Apple may have the most popular email client1, but 53% of all emails in the United States are delivered to Gmail or Google Workspace2 accounts. Even for B2B markets, Google has a bigger email market share than Outlook3.

Email reputation has become even more important since Google updated its email sender guidelines. You must ensure you have the proper email authentication and that your spam rate … as reported directly by users to Google … remains below 0.1%.

Bottom line … all media companies should be monitoring their email reputation regularly using Google Postmaster Tools to ensure their emails are getting through to their readers.

How to Get Started with Google Postmaster Tools

  1. Make sure you have a Google account. If you use Google Workspace for your business, then you can log in directly with your business email. If not, you either use a personal Gmail account, or create a Google account using your non-Google work email at accounts.google.com.
  2. Go to postmaster.google.com and sign in with your Google account.
  3. If this is your first time in Google Postmaster Tools you’ll be prompted to enter your email sending domain. This is the domain used after the @ symbol in the FROM address for your newsletters, sponsored emails, and marketing promotions.
  4. You’ll then be asked to verify ownership of the domain. Have your web developer add the TXT record to the DNS for your domain.
Google Postmaster Tools Domain Verification
  1. If you’re not ready to verify your domain right now, that’s OK. You can come back later. But when you are ready, click the Verify link.
  2. You will then see the domain listed in the main GPT home page. You may add as many domains as you’d like and can monitor them all from this page.
  3. Click on a specific domain to look at the various reports.
  4. You may also click the three dots to the right side of a domain and manage users. Here you can invite other people in your organization to Google Postmaster Tools so that they can also monitor your email reputation.
Google Postmaster Tools Domain List

Google Postmaster Tools Reports

There are 7 reports to help you monitor your email reputation with Google. Data is only kept in GPT for the past 120 days, but can be kept longer if you pull in the data into an external KPI dashboard.

Spam Rate

This shows the percentage of your emails marked as spam by users. It’s different from what your email service provider might show, as it reflects direct feedback from Gmail users. You want to make sure your spam rate is at or below 0.1%.

Spam Rate

IP Reputation

This monitors the reputation of the IP address from which you’re sending emails. It’s crucial for those using a shared IP address, as your reputation can be influenced by other senders using the same IP. There are four levels: high, medium, low and bad.

Obviously a high IP reputation is what you want, but there are times where the reputation may dip into medium and you’ll still be OK. If your IP reputation ever get to the low or bad levels, you’ve got serious problems that need to be addressed.

IP Reputation

Domain Reputation

This indicates the trustworthiness of your actual email sending domain in Google’s eyes. This is the part after the @ symbol in your FROM address and represents your brand. A high domain reputation is vital for ensuring your emails are not marked as spam.

A medium domain reputation may not necessarily impact your email deliverability, but should be a warning sign. And if you have a low or bad reputation, you have issues that must be addressed immediately.

Domain Reputation

Spam Feedback Loop (FBL)

This feature informs your email service provider about contacts who marked your emails as spam, allowing them to take appropriate action.

Spam Feedback Loop (FBL)

Authentication Reports

These reports track the success of your email authentication methods for DKIM, SPF, and DMARC. It shows you the percentage of email that passed these authentication methods with Google. Problems here could indicate that either your email authentication isn’t properly configured, or there are 3rd parties that are impersonating your domain (spoofing).

Authenticated Traffic

Encryption with TLS

This report confirms whether your emails are properly encrypted when sent. TLS is another key Google requirement for deliverability.

TLS Encrypted Traffic

Delivery Errors

This section highlights any issues that prevented your emails from being delivered successfully. For example, I have seen issues like “bad or unsupported attachment”, “suspected spam”, etc.

Email Delivery Errors

Beyond Google Postmaster Tools

Email reputation management is complex. Publishers should implement a comprehensive email reputation management process that includes not only GPT, but email block lists, Microsoft email reputation (if you have a dedicated email sending IP) and DMARC enforcement and monitoring.

You should also monitor your sends and juxtapose deliverability KPIs with usage data like opens and clicks straight from your email system (HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, etc.)

But Google Postmaster Tools is a great place to start monitoring email reputation and protecting one of your most important digital media assets.

References

  1. Litmus Email Client Market Share
  2. DemandSage Gmail Statistics For 2024
  3. Statista Office Productivity Market Share 2024

Share this post …

Sign up for my newsletter

I send digital revenue, audience and technology tips for publishers once per week.