What’s the best way to improve Gmail deliverability and increase open rate?

  • 31 January 2021
  • 3 replies

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We’ve recently integrated Klaviyo into our ecommerce after migrating from Mailchimp. After about 3 months of data, we’ve noticed that our open rates have dipped. In Advanced Reports, we’re seeing the open rate for Gmail recipients significantly lower (by about 7-10% each campaign) than other domains like me, @hotmail/outlook and,, etc. 

We’re also seeing a 0% spam/abuse reports from gmail in Advanced Reports, so we know that it’s not a spam issue.

What’s the best way to encourage or get an increase in the open rates for gmail recipients?


Best answer by retention 1 February 2021, 22:06

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Userlevel 7
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@marta Hi,

I don’t know how significant is the difference between Gmail and other domains in Open Rate, but if you constantly get low Open Rates on Gmail, I suspect it’s a spam issue.

Now, I understand that in the reports you’re not seeing any (or just a few) spam complaints, but spam complaints are only registered when a recipient manually marks the email as spam. If your emails somehow trigger the spam filters, the email provider (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc.) can automatically place your emails in the spam folder, without recipient's knowledge. Gmail has very strict regulations and they won’t hesitate to place you in the spam folder even for the simple thing like “they still don’t trust you”.

There’s no easy fix when it comes to recovery from the spam folder, but there are certain things you can try that might improve your chances to land in the inbox.

What I would recommend in this situation is to create a segment of people who are on the Gmail domain and haven’t opened an email in a certain amount of time. Be sure that you put enough time to ensure that all those subscribers has received at least 5-6 emails.


The subscribers from this segment are most likely to fall into the 90% of gmail subscribers who are not opening your emails.


The second step is to exclude these subscribers from your normal day-to-day campaigns and start treating them differently.

  • You don’t send to them every campaign. If your emails are already landing in spam folder for these subscribers, keeping doing what you’re doing won’t change that. Include these subscribers in campaigns that you generally expect to have a better engagement.
  • Try not to include many images or links in your emails. Too many images and different links can trigger the spam algorithms.
  • Try sending a text only email. Text only emails are proven to have the highest open rates and the best deliverability. For the simple fact that the email doesn’t contain any special blocks, images, or too much code, the spam algorithms can more easily recognize that this is not a spam email.
  • Keep your Subject Lines simple, transparent, and informative. Avoid spammy looking Subject Lines. While these Subject Lines can have great Open Rates, email providers often consider them to be spam. Couple of excessive examples of spammy looking Subject Lines:
    • “A big surprise inside. ACT NOW!!!!”
    • “You will get shocked by our prices!”

To learn more about the best practices in deliverability, you can go over this article:

Understanding Deliverability Best Practices

I can’t say that you’ll immediately see a difference, but if you keep doing this, you should see some or complete improvement over time.


Hope this helps!


Userlevel 1
Badge +1

Yeah, Joseph covered a lot of good stuff. We’ve run into the issue twice before. Once, because we were sending to inactive Gmail accounts and they flagged us as spam. The second time I’m unsure of why it happened. Our strategy to get our Gmail deliverability back up was:

  1. Make a segment of people who opened your most recent email where email contains “”
  2. Make a segment of all emails that contain “”
  3. Send your next message to your normal list, excluding the segment of all emails containing “”
  4. Send that same campaign to the segment of recent openers containing “

Then we worked up from there. Each campaign afterward, we’d add more and more Gmail users and eventually worked our way out of the problem. I hope that helps!

Great response, Erich.


I’ve recently had the same issue occur, and I’m already seeing positive results after implementing your strategies.


I do have a question about how you re-introduced the Gmail recipients.


After sending the first campaign utilizing this strategy, how many more gmail addresses did you add to your future campaigns?


Was it 100+ at a time or a lower number?