Sending newsletters with AMP content: acquiring permission from Gmail

11 Sept. ‘19

Mindbox now has the ability to send dynamic emails that support AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) technology. Initially, the tech was created at Google for accelerated browsing and to achieve quick website loading speeds under poor internet conditions. AMP was recently added to emails, which enables the creation of interactive letters.

AMP technology allows users to interact with letters in a similar fashion to websites, but without having to leave the email: flipping image reels, filling out forms and surveys, requesting additional recommended products or product reviews.

Dynamic letters are displayed for all clients in the Gmail web version. Yahoo and Outlook also announced that they will soon support it.

Permission from mail services is required in order to display AMP content in letters. This article goes over how to do this and what’s needed.

The very first email from Mindbox with dynamic content
The very first email from Mindbox with dynamic content

Requirements for AMP newsletter senders

E-mail services have requirements to which the domain and address for sending AMP letters must adhere to. Make sure that the address from which you send mailings matches the following points:

  • For the sender domain, the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC must be configured.
  • The domain has a history of sending emails: Gmail requires at least 100 daily messages sent for several weeks.
  • Your domain is registered in Gmail postmaster.
  • You follow basic instructions or bulk senders.
  • Low spam complaints from customers (email services do not disclose exact digits).

On the Mindbox side, we always verify that there is a match for the DKIM signature. For more information about configuring the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC in Mindbox, see the following support center article. We also unsubscribe customers by clicking on the unsubscribe link and check the availability of the unsubscribe link within letters.

You can become better acquainted with all necessary requirements via the following pages on Gmail.

Sending test emails to Gmail

Within Gmail, you can send test emails to your personal mail without any approval. Simply enable the display of dynamic content via the mail settings and specify the address from which you plan to send emails.

Dynamic content will only be displayed in your personal email and only if the letter is sent from the specified address.

Display settings for dynamic content in Gmail
Display settings for dynamic content in Gmaill

By default, the display of dynamic content is enabled in the settings section. Follow the link “Settings for Developers” and specify the address which will be used for sending or testing letters.

Here we indicate the specific address of the sender - from which we can run tests without further approval
Here we indicate the specific address of the sender – from which we can run tests without further approval

Registering the senders name in Gmail

Sending AMP filled emails to real customers is a bit more complicated of a process. In addition to complying with sender rules, you need to send a real letter with AMP content to ampforemail.whitelisting@gmail.com from the address from which the mailings will be sent in the future. It’s easiest to do tis directly through the Mindbox mailing interface.

Application letter prep and sending

Requirements for the letter:

  • Gmail requires that the email be “production ready” – meaning that the letter must be ready to be sent to real customers. We don’t know how Gmail determines the degree of readiness, but we recommend that you do not send a letter for registration that looks like a test letter in a “Hello World” type style, as well as a letter copied from an AMP sandbox.
  • The letter must contain an HTML format part as well, which will be displayed for clients who do not support or have disabled dynamic mail content. In the Mindbox interface, you cannot send AMP newsletters without the HTML part, so making a mistake here is simply not possible.
  • The letter is tested by SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. If you send mailings through Mindbox, then most likely you already have these policies configured accordingly.
  • The AMP part of the letter should weigh over 100 kilobytes.
  • The AMP part is validated in the  AMP validator.

We recommend that you first send a letter to your Gmail and make sure that it displays properly, shows dynamic content, and passes the SPF, DKIM and DMARC header checks. To verify the compliance of the headers, open the letter in Gmail, click the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Show original”.

“Show original” in the properties of the letter
“Show original” in the properties of the letter

If the checks are passed successfully, the following image will appear:

How correctly configured headers look in the original letter

The validity of the AMP part of the message can be checked in the Gmail sandbox. BInsert the code of your letter and make sure that the layout code is valid.

AMP layout passes validation
AMP layout passes validation

Following this, you may send your letter to  ampforemail.whitelisting@gmail.com.

Filling out the registration form

After sending the letter, you will need to fill out the registration form.

Gmail AMP sender registration form
Gmail AMP sender registration form

The form is rather simple, requiring the following to be specified:

  1. Your name, contacts, company name.
  2. Link to company privacy policy.
  3. The purpose for which you will use AMP.
  4. The sender address.
  5. A platform for sending newsletters (for example, Mindbox).

After sending the above out, standby for a response from Gmail. We were taking care of our registration in May, and had to standby for around 2 weeks for an answer. Perhaps the process is a bit quicker now. After the application is processed, you will be informed that the address can now be used to send AMP mailings, or additional data will be requested.

If the dynamic content block is not displaying

  • Make sure you added the AMP part to the newsletter.
  • Check that the mailer supports dynamic content in a specific client (mobile application, desktop).
  • Verify that the headers in the email are validated.
  • Make sure that the AMP format of the letter was validated by mail service validators.
  • Check the sender address in the mailing list: blocks with AMP content will be displayed only when sending from previously approved addresses.
An email with dynamic content

Conclusion

There is a lot of noise around AMP technology, but so far there are only three real cases: Booking, Doodle and Pinterest (we will cover them in a separate article). Some time will need to be spent on understanding the technology, receiving permissions from mailers and learning how to create a separate layout for dynamic letters, but the process is surely worth a try. Going through the process, however, will put you in a position of being one of the select few companies in the world to fully utilize AMP content in their newsletters.

What’s next

The developers of the letter constructor, which we use at Mindbox, will start working on the possibility to simultaneously create AMP and HTML layouts in the editor. Expect this to occur near October. Thus, preparing dynamic letters will become a less time intensive process.

Author

Vladislav Pokusa

Vladislav Pokusa,Product owner