If most contacts on your list(s) use Gmail for their email address, you can use Google Postmaster Tools to learn the overall health of your domain. In addition, Google Postmaster Tools can be used to help monitor and debug all deliverability issues. 
In this article:
  • What is Google Postmaster?
  • How to set up Google Postmaster
  • What to do if your domain reputation isn't good
  • How to share Google Postmaster Data
  • Google Postmaster FAQs

What is Google Postmaster?


Google Postmaster is a free tool provided by Google that will tell you exactly what Gmail thinks of your domain reputation (Good, Medium, Low, or Bad). It will definitively answer the question, "Do I have a good domain reputation at Gmail?". For most senders, at least in the US, Gmail composes a large majority of your list, so this will give you a very important pulse of your overall domain reputation.


In addition, Google Postmaster will also show data about SPF/DKIM/DMARC failures, spam complaints, IP reputation, encryption success rate, and more.

In short, we recommend that everyone setup Gmail postmaster tools if possible. It is extremely useful information to have when monitoring and debugging deliverability issues of all types.


How to set up Google Postmaster


In order to use Google Postmaster, you'll need to add and verify your authentication domains  to Google Postmaster. The authentication domain is the DKIM (d=) that is used to authenticate your email. Google Postmaster uses your DKIM to identify your email traffic and provide access to traffic analytics.

To add and verify your domain in Google Postmaster:

      1. Setup DKIM for your domain. If you are using multiple domains, you can setup DKIM for all
          of them.

      2. Go to postmaster.google.com and click the + button on the bottom-right.

      3. A modal pop up will appear. Enter your DKIM.

      4. Google Postmaster will instruct you to create a TXT record in the DNS for your domain:


Note that you will need to create a TXT record with your web host (eg, GoDaddy).

        5. After adding the TXT record, go back to Google Postmater and click "Verify" to complete
            the setup.


After completing the setup you will begin to see data populate in Google Postmaster. Note that retroactive data will not be available. If you don't see data after your next few campaign sends, use the SPF/DKIM/DMARC check tool to make sure your DKIM is setup.


What to do if your domain reputation isn't good


This can happen if your Google contacts mark your emails as spam or if they don't engage positively with your communications. Repeatedly sending emails to contacts who are not engaging with your messages is the primary reason for the decline of your domain reputation. Even a legitimate opt-in list can result in a poor reputation if it's old and hasn't been cleaned. As a best practice, we recommend implementing a method to regularly remove unengaged contacts from your list.

You can use our Engagement Management tool to quickly remove unengaged contacts from your list(s) right away.

You can also implement Engagement Tagging automations. These two automations track engagement with your emails over time. Not only will this give you insight into how effective your marketing strategy is, but it will also help you keep your lists healthy and clean.

Lastly, if you have any lists that did not properly opt-in or if you are sending content that these lists did not opt into receive, we recommend that you stop sending to those lists immediately. Sending campaigns to these contacts will directly contribute to a high abuse rate. Learn more about abuse rates and how to avoid them.


How to share Google Postmaster Data


At ActiveCampaign, we use Google Postmaster Tools to help troubleshoot deliverability issues for our customers. If you experience a deliverability issue, we may ask you to share your Google Postmaster data with us. Doing so will help us expedite the troubleshooting process.

To share your Google Postmaster Report:

      1. Sign into your Postmaster tools account as the Postmaster account owner.

      2. Point your cursor to one of your verified domains.

      3. To the right of the domain, click "Moreā‹®" 

      4. Click "Manage Users."

      5. Click "Add +" on the bottom-right

      6. A modal pop up will appear. Type the email address of the Google Account you want to
          access your domain's Postmaster Tools data. Our Deliverability team will provide you
          with the email address to use in your ticket.

      7. Let the Deliverability team know that they have access to your Postmaster Data.
          Automatic notifications are not sent from Google.


Google Postmaster FAQs


Do other Inbox Providers like Microsoft or Yahoo offer similar tooling?

In short, no. Microsoft has a tool called SNDS but it is highly unreliable and outdated. Some European ISPs have similar programs like mail.ru's Postmaster page, but none are as reliable as Google's in our experience.

How often does Goole Postmaster update?

Very often, which is one of it's greatest strengths. If you make changes to improve your list/sending habits, you will quickly see this reflected in Google Postmaster, usually within 1 day. Vice versa, if you make a mistake and damage your domain reputation, you will see this very quickly if you are monitoring Google Postmaster.

Why do I see 0% SPF success?

ActiveCampaign manages SPF for you and 100% of your messages will pass SPF. But Google Postmaster will show 0% success for SPF because the SPF domain being checked (our mail server domain) is not the same as the domain being shown in the report (your domain). Basically, the SPF Domain and From Address domains have a 0% match, although SPF is passing. 

This is normal and has no negative impact on your deliverability. If you want to set up an SPF domain that matches your From Address you can do so by setting up a custom mail server.

Does Google Postmaster have an API?

No, but the common practice is to scrape information from the page if want to integrate this data within your application. Google has all but formally approved this practice.

Where can I learn more about Google Postmaster Tools?

You can learn more about Google Postmaster Tools on their website.