This year, Google and Microsoft plan to update their policies relating to DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting&Conformance) with the intent to improve email security and keep fraudulent emails from reaching inboxes. Potentially, this update could plummet email delivery rates, making email marketing a struggle if not used correctly by complying to DMARC standards. Those who will be most affected by this are those who don’t know how to adjust their current email marketing process. To understand the impacts of these DMARC updates, here is an overview of what DMARC is, how it works, and how it can affect your company’s email marketing efforts.
What is DMARC?
DMARC was created to authenticate emails and keep fraudulent ones from ever reaching someone’s inbox. Every year, at least 146 million fraudulent emails are sent to users around the world. DMARC’s goal is to prove that an email originated from where it says it did to establish if it came from a legitimate sender or not. If an email fails the authentication process, the user is warned and told how to proceed. If the email was legitimate but still failed the process, the sender can use the report to learn why it failed and avoid those mistakes again.
What Changes are Coming?
With the new policy update, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will be able to send email marketing materials only from their own domains, meaning you can’t use a Gmail or Microsoft address to send emails through an email provider. Account users with Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Live, and MSN will need to make changes to send out email marketing campaigns from a domain they own. Companies will need to start sending emails from their own domains as well as implement DMARC authentication.
How it Works
According to Matt Moorehead, a Strategic Project Manager for Return Path’s Email Fraud Protection team, he says DMARC authenticates emails by:
- Matching the “header from” domain name with the “envelope from” domain name used during an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) check, and
- Matching the “header from” domain name with the “d= domain name” in the DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) signature.
How DMARC Can Benefit your Business
By being authenticated by DMARC, your brand’s icon will appear in users’ inboxes, letting them know they can trust the email. This authentication provides four main benefits:
- Increases Deliverability- It increases the likelihood of your emails being seen by your target audience.
- Restores Trust- Customers lose faith in a brand when they constantly have to reset their password because of spoofing attacks. Authentication allows them to have confidence again in opening your emails.
- Encourages Engagement- Confident they are not under attack, customers will be more likely to click on your email and become a potential conversion.
- Keeps You Aware- It allows you to know how your brand is being used across the internet. If someone else uses your brand, you’ll know about it and can stop them.
How to implement DMARC
- Have SPF and DKIM before you can be authenticated by DMARC
- Define the DMARC policy in your company’s Domain Name Server
As long as there are email scammers out there (not going away anytime soon), there will continue to be updates in order to keep them out of people’s inboxes. These updates can sometimes seem harmful to current email marketing trends, but as in this case, there is usually a way past the troubles that turn it into a benefit. With the updates in DMARC policy, you now have the ability to protect both your brand and your customers while continuing to build your email relationship.