Gmail is slowly rolling out its new auto-sort inbox, which organizes emails into separate tabs like “Primary,” “Social” and “Promotions.” This move has marketers on their toes as it creates one more hurdle to get email marketing materials in front of people. But there’s another recent Gmail development that’s actually good news for us email marketers: Inbox Action buttons.
As the Official Gmail Blog notes, “these buttons appear next to certain types of messages in your inbox and let you take action on an email without ever having to open it.” So in the example below, I can take care of the double opt-in process for these two email newsletters right from my inbox.
The benefit to marketers is clear, as we decrease the number of clicks a user has to make to complete a desired action. We’ve always turned to open rate as an email marketing success metric, but this feature might lessen the pressure to convince subscribers to open.
Other possible uses for Inbox Action buttons include RSVPing to a Gmail calendar invite, checking into a flight, or viewing an order confirmation. Gmail has a few early partners experimenting with Inbox Action, including Netflix and Spotify (example below).
In some cases, this feature is activated automatically. For example, users who subscribe to our Digital Dispatch receive a confirmation email from MailChimp that includes the “Confirm Subscription” button. MailChimp took care of all the behind the scenes work, and no action was necessary on our part.
Gmail uses Schema.org markup to make these Inbox Action emails work. Check out the official Gmail guide to get started with your own custom actions.