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What Yahoo Mail’s Birthday Makeover Means for Marketers

Posted on 11.19.2015

:: Brad van der Woerd, Yesmail ::

As one of the first-ever free email providers, Yahoo Mail once held the top spot among all email services in terms of user base and features.

In recent years, however, the provider has since been outperformed by more popular services like Gmail and Outlook. Consumer email habits have changed over time as online shopping and mobile devices became the norm, and Yahoo simply failed to keep up. Despite the company’s shortcomings, Yahoo Mail still services roughly 1 billion active users per month, making it incredibly important for marketers to understand how the email provider’s evolution impacts email deliverability and engagement for all ESPs. 

On its 18th birthday, Yahoo Mail underwent a complete makeover. By including updates like search filters, new design and user-friendly features, the email service is now more intuitive than ever before. While the benefits of these updates are clear for consumers, marketers need to pay close attention to how these new features might impact deliverability. Some updates might make it harder for marketers to reach consumers, while others will actually help improve marketer-subscriber engagement. 

Given its efforts to improve, Yahoo Mail is likely to only see an increase in its user base in years to come. So as we wish Yahoo Mail a happy 18th birthday, it’s more important than ever for marketers to understand how to reach the service’s sizable user base. Here’s a look at how Yahoo Mail’s makeover will impact marketers:

Search filters

Yahoo Mail now offers new search features that allow users to filter emails based on sent or received messages and search through images and documents. Users can also search within a contact for all the content that a given person (or brand) has sent. 

For marketers, this means that consumers can quickly find promotional emails for deals while shopping both in-store or online. Brands should include important keywords within email copy that make it easy for subscribers to search for relevant emails at a moment’s notice.

Multiple inboxes

One of the most biggest changes with the new update is a multiple inbox feature that allow users to access email from other account providers through the Yahoo Mail app. While Gmail is not included, users can connect mail accounts from other popular email providers like, Hotmail, and AOL while logged into their Yahoo accounts. 

Since many consumers have multiple email addresses and will be able to see all mail in one location, it’s important for marketers to avoid appearing too spammy. This is a good time for marketers to make sure they’re using clean data. Preference centers can help narrow down one email address per subscriber as not to overwhelm consumers or worse, cause them to unsubscribe. 


The new update also includes avatars to help identify “authorized senders” and weed out spam and malware. Yahoo pulls images from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to accompany incoming messages and provide contextual information about contacts.

This update means that it will be easier for users (and Yahoo’s spam filter) to distinguish between marketing email and personal messages. So if a brand appears too robotic, Yahoo will likely filter it out. Marketers should take extra time to ensure that email content is personalized and casual to avoid the spam folder.

Embedded brand logos

Now, emails from brands will include the company logo next to the email in the user’s inbox, but only if the sender has been officially verified by Yahoo Mail. This is a result of a DMARC security feature Yahoo Mail introduced a while ago that ensures messages are only delivered when Yahoo is sure the sender is not a spoof.

This feature adds validity to promotional emails. To users, a company’s logo is essentially the brand’s signature: users trust the logo as a verified marker of the brand. Marketers should confirm that Yahoo Mail has signed and verified their company as an appropriate sender. If not, those companies could run into trouble with their marketing emails.

New design elements

With its newest update, Yahoo Mail also included a new and improved interface. The inbox layout for both desktop and mobile is now more visually pleasing, user friendly and intuitive.

While a fresh design doesn’t directly impact marketing email deliverability and engagement, it is a reminder for email marketers that consumers value simplicity and ease of use. It’s important for marketers to incorporate responsive design within email marketing strategy as consumers are increasingly reading emails and making purchases directly from mobile devices. 

While great for users, Yahoo Mail’s updates have a unique impact on marketers. Brands need to pay close attention to these changes and create a strategy to maximize deliverability and engagement among all Yahoo subscribers.

Brad van der Woerd has been deeply involved with digital marketing and the email deliverability space for the past five years. Since becoming Director of Deliverability for Yesmail in 2011, Brad has created business strategies for various Fortune 500 companies (HP, eBay, Coke) to assist with overall deliverability rates and maintain positive reputation within the industry.

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