Mar 01, 2016
By Andrew Barrett
Digital Marketing

Google recently announced an important change that all senders and email marketers ought to be aware of. While the change is only cosmetic, it might seem confusing to some recipients.

The revision highlights Google's (and other inbox providers') ongoing efforts to help its users secure their email communications from unauthorized readers. Earlier offerings, like second or multiple factor authentication, and more recent tests of "passwordless logins" are meant to protect user accounts from the use of weak or guessable passwords. The new changes go a bit further by warning users if the email services they exchange mail with are able to encrypt mail as it's sent. That way, recipients can tell more easily whether the content of those messages can be snooped on or changed while they're still in transit, or "on the wire."

Gmail and other free inbox providers have supported this kind of encryption for a while now, but the new update makes it more obvious to desktop Gmail users whether the encryption (called "TLS") was actually used to send any given message. Just as one might see a broken or open padlock in the address bar of their browser when it displays an insecure web page, Gmail on the web now displays a tiny open padlock next to email that was sent without encryption.

While the change might be confusing to some recipients, it has no impact on deliverability. TLS has more to do with how mail travels between mail servers, and less to do with what happens to the mail after it's accepted by Gmail. Recipients won't even see the open padlock icon for unencrypted mail until after they've already received and opened the message.

So, if you're already seeing good results for your existing marketing program, the change at Gmail won't hurt deliverability if you're not using TLS. Similarly, changing over to TLS encryption for your campaigns won't improve your metrics either. Salesforce Marketing Cloud supports TLS for most users who want it. Those customers who have dedicated infrastructure within our cloud can submit a ticket to our support teams to have TLS turned on.

Gmail's move to highlight privacy to its users is part of a broader, continuing trend across the email ecosystem. While changes like these don't make a dent in deliverability, senders should stay abreast of any changes that may impact how their carefully crafted message may be displayed to their subscribers. The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is here to help--feel free to get in touch with any questions on this or any other email issues. Connect with me on Twitter at @emailskinny.

Looking for additional advice and tips on how to get the most from your email campaigns? Download Earn a Place in Your Customer's Inbox.

Get marketing insights from the Marketing Cloudcast, a Salesforce podcast.