Harness The Potential Of Gmail’s Quick Actions

If you use Gmail then you may have noticed that the Google team recently added a new feature called ‘quick actions’. This new feature lets users perform ‘actions’ from their inbox without even having to open the email that the call to action is sat within.

When Google unveiled the feature they said that ‘email is an important part of how we get things done — from planning an event with friends to organizing that family vacation to Costa Rica’ and now, ‘getting those things done is getting a little easier with new quick action buttons in Gmail, designed to help you tackle your digital to-do’s as quickly as possible.’

Do You Send Emails That Ask Your Recipients To Do Something?

If you answered yes (which I’m willing to bet most of you did), then this new feature could prove to be pretty exciting for you.

When launching the product, Google asked their audience ‘how many steps do you think it takes to review a restaurant’?

Shalini Argawal, a product manager for Google then talked the audience through the typical journey of someone who might get a request via email to review or comment on a product or service that they’d used recently.

Here are the steps she outlined:

  • A user gets the email
  • They open it, read it, and then decide that they’re going to click on a link
  • They click on the link and wait for it to load
  • If log in details are remembered then a user can log in using them, if not they need to register and/or request new details
  • A user rates and reviews a restaurant and then clicks submit
  •  A user then finally closes the tab and (if they remember) return to their inbox to view the next email

As I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a rather awkward process and it’s likely that no matter how engaging and persuasive the original email copy is, users will be lost along the way.

So, What’s The Solution?

Google say that they’re making emails smarter allowing users to take action without ever leaving the inbox. They claim that their new feature wipes out all but 2 of the steps mentioned above.

In the demo that they showed when unveiling the feature, they talked about a food order that had been made through ‘India Clay Oven’ via ‘Seamless Web’, a website that manages takeaway orders for various restaurants.

The following day, Seamless Web sends the user an email asking them to rate their experience.

Gmail Inbox

The screenshot above is of a Gmail inbox and the top message is one from Seamless Web. If you cast your eye to the right of the message, you’ll see that there is a button that asks for a review, this is there because Seamless Web has added actions to their emails.

When a user hovers over this button, ‘a beautiful picture from the restaurant and a quick rating widget’ appear. It is right here that a user can rate and add a comment about their experience.


Schemas In Gmail

 Efficient, huh?

So, How Can You Start Using The Feature Within Your Own Sends?

We already add mark-ups to our websites to improve search results, but now we can add them to our emails as well to allow our recipients to take actions directly from their inbox’s.

Google say that using schemas to add quick action buttons to the emails you send is easy. ‘All it takes is adding some mark-up to your HTML emails, together with your regular content, in one of the supported formats – Microdata and JSON-LD’.

I Don’t Need People To Rate & Review, What Are The Other Actions I Can Try?

Gmail currently supports 4 types of actions and 1 interactive card. On top of the review action we looked at above, Gmail supports:

We’ll be talking about the potential of each of these actions in a later post, so stay tuned to the blog and subscribe to our posts to find out more about how the feature can transform your email marketing efforts.

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