Changes coming for inactive email accounts.

If you’re an email marketer, you have likely heard the news about changes in sender requirements from Google and Yahoo, set to go into effect as of February 1, 2024. You can read more about what these new requirements mean, plus what we’re doing. In our blog post, 2024 Guide to Google & Yahoo’s New Privacy Protections.

Before that February 1, 2024 date, Google will take additional steps to strengthen email credibility and security, including removing inactive accounts. As of December 1, 2023, Google will begin to delete inactive accounts, or those not used within the last two years. According to the team at Google, “If an account hasn’t been used for an extended period of time, it is more likely to be compromised. This is because forgotten or unattended accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords that may have been compromised, haven’t had two factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.” 

If you use emails to reach customers.

If you use an email service provider (ESP) to reach out to or engage customers, this change may also be noteworthy. While those using ESPs, like our own Marigold customers, won’t need to take action on this particular instance, there are a few things to consider:

  • Google will be deleting a significant number of inactive email accounts, meaning those accounts that haven’t been used in over two years. 
    • What does this mean for you? You may have been emailing inactive accounts as part of your audience list. This is a good reminder to regularly audit your audience lists and practice ongoing database management based on your subscriber engagement.
  • Deleted accounts may increase the chances of “hard bounces.”
    • What does this mean for you? Once accounts have been deleted, they’ll be marked as “hard bounces,” or accounts where emails cannot be delivered. Despite these accounts not being particularly helpful for your business, you may also see a shift in your email analytics, especially a higher “hard bounce” rate. 
  • Inactive accounts may be the result of consumers sending unwanted emails to those accounts.
    • What does this mean for you? Keep customers from sending your emails to an unwanted “email jail” by keeping content relevant and personalized. Consider using preference centers, segmented audiences and content strategies, and zero-party data collection tools. According to Marigold SVP of Global Infrastructure and Delivery, “At the time of sign-up, be clear to your subscribers about the content they’ll receive and the frequency of delivery. As well, if an email address is required to access your content, use a confirmed opt-in validation process and always provide an easy way to opt-out.”

This first step of improved inbox credibility from the team at Google will soon be followed by others, including requirements around email authentication for bulk senders, ease of opt-out for consumers, and new language around spam thresholds. For Marigold customers, stay tuned for upcoming resources, webinars, and documentation to make the process seamless.  And if you’re looking for more information about how to address these changes, check our guide “Do Marketers Need to Worry About Google’s Plan to Delete Inactive Accounts.”

P.S. If you have a Google account.

If you have a Gmail account that might be considered inactive and you still require access, you need to take action. Two years may seem like a long time, but in reality, it may go faster than you think. If you plan to continue using your Google account, log in immediately and use your email. As a best practice, you should also consider updating your password and consider enabling two factor authentication.

If you are no longer using your inactive email account, you can still access the content from within your inbox. According to Google, you can log in to download files, media, or any other materials from your inbox anytime before December 1. You can also use the Google Takeout function, allowing you to download and export content to be stored elsewhere.