Actions Within Gmail – Grassroots Implications

Action within GmailA lot of great ideas and new functionality came out of the Google I/O conference this week. While I’m looking forward to testing out the new Google Maps when it comes out, one of the more immediate updates was new functionality available in Gmail. The idea that with code snippets, brands/groups can now allow users to take actions from right within their inbox.

So what does that mean?

What we’re talking about is providing users with the ability to click on a button within an email and perform an action. That button would then send a request to a site and receive a response, all without the user having to leave their inbox.

Think about the possibilities.

Those launching straight out of the gate are those companies with the simplest of actions – think reservations or adding a movie to your Netflix queue:

A few of the implementations being discussed:

OpenTable. Imagine getting an email from open table asking you to confirm your reservation for tonight. You click Yes and, without leaving the email, OpenTable sends you a response with your confirmation. No new browser window, no going away from what you’re doing, it’s all right there.


Now think how it might work with Netflix or Evite. Get an email from Netflix announcing the latest releases, click a button right from your inbox that then adds it to your queue. With Evite, respond to an invitation in seconds.

The key, allowing users to continue what they’re doing without distracting them or adding extra steps.

Advocacy Application

Think ease of action and lowering the bar for new advocates. No more requiring users to go out to a separate tab/window and enter their information to perform an action. Your users can now sign a petition, write to their legislators and more, all from within their Gmail inbox.

Event signups, renewals, whatever it might be, Google has taken that extra step out and allowed your users to immediately know that their action has been completed and recorded.

Of course, this is just another addition to your grassroots strategy. Because the functionality only works in Gmail, it doesn’t apply across the board, so a majority of your users may never get to use the quick response tools we’re talking about above. That said, with the right backend we can easily segment users out, targeting Gmail users and lowering the barrier to get them involved.

In short, Actions within Gmail has the potential to unlock a whole new group of users who were reluctant to join your effort previously but can now get involved quickly and easily.

Again, it’s all about finding the sweet spot with each of your stakeholders. This is just another arrow in the quiver towards Grassroots and Advocacy success.