What are Gmail actions? We’ve all seen them in our inboxes–those little grey buttons on the right side of email subject lines that provide a direct route to that email’s call to action without having to open the actual email. We see call outs like, “View order” or “Track package.”

Gmail actions enable recipients to interact with your product or service from right within the inbox and without opening the email if they don’t need to (fewer steps means less friction). Gmail actions are a small advancement in making things and actions as easy as possible for the recipient.

Go-to actions in Gmail

While there are numerous types of actions that serve different purposes, we thought it might be most valuable to narrow in on an action that an email marketer/novice email coder (such as myself), could get up and running. For purposes of this post, we will be focusing on a go-to action.

Go-to actions direct the recipient to your website where they can complete their action. We’ll specifically discuss the “View Action” go-to action as opposed to the “Track Action.”

Use cases for go-to actions

If you’re wondering how you might use this type of feature in your email program, I want to share how we use the go-to action here at SendGrid. As part of our email sign up flow, we ask users to confirm their email address. When one of our email deliverability experts, Jacob Hansen, mentioned the idea of getting this setup for this, it made total sense.

How we did it

For the initial “Confirm your Email” we worked with our engineering team to get a “Confirm Action” (link to confirm action) button set-up in this initial email (as it’s sent directly from our application we needed help!). If you’re interested in providing a similar action, one that can only be clicked or used once, you can read more about that here.

If a recipient does not confirm their email in the first few days, we decided to set up a go-to action so that we can allow the recipient to confirm their email without even opening up our follow up email.

Outside of a bit of help with the script (Thanks Jason!), this go-to action turned out to be something relatively simple that we could implement ourselves.

Setup Steps:

Step 1: Grab the “View Action” script.

You can now add your information into the script. For example, the “Target” is where your button takes your recipient. The “Name” includes your CTA button copy.

Step 2: Confirm you’ve added it correctly.

See a green check mark and “No errors detected”? You’re good!

Step 3: Add the script just above the closing “/body” tag in your emails HTML.

Step 4: Send a “real-life” email from your production servers that include your added markup to schema.whitelisting+sample@gmail.com.

Step 5: Fill out the registration form.

Step 6: Wait for Gmail’s response that your sending address has been “whitelabeled” and set live!

Additional tips for setting up actions

Gmail wants to make sure only the most whitehat senders are using these, and has additional requirements such as that emails must be authenticated via DKIM, or SPF, along with some other guidelines.

Gmail actions are a great tool to reduce friction within your transactional emails, and there are tons of use cases for them. Hopefully, the example above can serve as a little inspiration as to how you could use a go-to action, or any other Gmail action, to move your email program forward.

And if you’re interested in learning about other updates to Gmail this year, check out: New Gmail Features Still Favor Recipients…How Do Marketers Play Along?



Austin Whiting
Austin is an email marketing associate here at SendGrid. When he's not planning and scheduling campaigns, he's out filming skateboarding, or hanging with his girlfriend eating Ben & Jerry's (he highly recommends Americone Dream flavor).