Google’s inactive account policy:  how will it affect your marketing?

 Starting December 1st Google will start to delete inactive Gmail email accounts, as part of their inactive email account policy, but how will that affect your marketing as a small business owner?

Let me explain how Google’s inactive email account policy will affect your marketing strategy and the actions that you should take now as a small business owner to help overcome the changes.

What does Google define as an inactive account?

Google classifies an inactive account as one that hasn’t been logged into for more than 2 years. There are some exceptions to this rule which you can read about here, but in my opinion, these exceptions are unlikely to heavily affect many small businesses.

What will happen when Google deletes inactive Google accounts in December?

The biggest thing to be aware of when Google deletes inactive accounts is that this can negatively affect your email send reputation.

When the accounts are deleted the email accounts associated with those Google accounts will also be deleted and become non-functional. This means that any emails sent to those email accounts won’t be delivered. This is known as bouncing and in this instance can be defined as a hard bounce.

How will the inactive Google Account policy negatively affect my send reputation?

Your email send reputation can be negatively impacted by hard bounces because one of the measures that email service providers (ESPs) – think Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail – use to determine whether or not your email account is a spam sender is the percentage of emails that are being sent to active or real email accounts.

What do I need to do when Google deletes inactive accounts?

In short, what you need to do is mostly what you should be doing anyway. Ensuring best email marketing practices will also ensure you are taking action to ensure and preserve your send reputation, which includes regular cleaning of your database to remove lapsed (no longer engaging) and bouncing email addresses.

Read on to find out what specific actions you can take to minimise the impact of this policy.

I realise now that whilst I talk a lot about preserving send reputation on our Instagram account, I have not yet written a blog post about it, so that will be happening ASAP, like, yesterday.

Coming up are the things you should do before you next send an email newsletter to ensure that you are not negatively affected by Google’s inactive account policy. This is specific to this policy change and is not an exhaustive list of everything that you should be doing to ensure send reputation or email marketing best practice.

What can I do now to minimise the impact of the Google inactive account policy:

It’s simple. Clean your email marketing database.

How do I clean my email marketing database?

There are a few steps that you can take to scrub your email marketing database clean, but what you need to focus on doing before sending after Google starts to delete inactive emails (from December 1) is simple.

Remove lapsed emails from your main mailing list.

Lapsed emails are email contacts that have not opened or engaged with any emails that you have sent to them in the past 6 months. Create a dynamic segment (one that automatically updates itself) of these email accounts that you will now exclude from all future emails.

Note: You shouldn’t be emailing these lapsed guys your standard newsletter anyway. But, that’s a broader email deliverability conversation, not what you need to do right now to avoid any negative impact of Google’s inactive account policy. Let’s stay on track! Send your lapsed segment a dedicated reactivation campaign to try and get them re-engaged. When they re-engage, if your segment was set up to be dynamic, they’ll automatically fall back into standard mailing.

Taking this action now should minimise any negative impact that Google’s inactive account policy could have on your email marketing.

Have questions? Hop on over to Instagram and send me a DM.

Alternatively book a 1:1 session with Charlie where she can walk you through how to do this and anything else you need to know. It’s 60-minutes to ask her anything.