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What does the new Google Inbox mean for the public sector?

Google’s at it again, redefining Gmail and the inbox experience. For public sector communicators, that means new opportunities and a whole lot more reason to boost their best practices.

On October 22, 2014, Google launched Inbox, an email app designed to do what many email users have struggled to do for years: organize emails and sort through them efficiently. As Google describes it, this is “the inbox that works for you,” making it easier for users to quickly see the content they need and avoid the content they don’t. If you aren’t familiar with Inbox, you can watch Google’s brief introduction video here:

According to a recent study by Gigaom and Extole, email remains the most effective digital marketing channel for organizations to build awareness, boost acquisition and increase conversion. It makes sense, then, that the public sector is greeting Google Inbox with lots of questions, namely, how is Inbox going to affect my communications’ impact? The short answer is this: Google doesn’t control that – your content does. Inbox just makes your content easier to evaluate.

Opportunities with Inbox Abound

Let’s take a look at some of Inbox’s new key features and what they could mean for your next email.

Snooze – An increasing number of email users are accessing their inboxes from mobile devices. These on-the-go audiences might not always have time to act on emails right away, resulting in buried and forgotten emails. With Snooze, users can set an email to reappear according to a date, time or even location. They can also pair snoozes with reminders of an action they need to take, such as Renew license or Get a flu shot. This means fewer messages get lost in the shuffle and more of your communications get noticed and acted upon.


Highlights – Highlights works to take the inbox’s traditionally text-heavy previews to the next level. In addition to subject lines and pre-headers, Highlights surfaces important information, actionable items and attached images so users don’t even have to open the email to get what they need. With Highlights, public sector communicators can do even more to make their emails stand out by incorporating attention-grabbing visuals for powerful at-a-glance information.


Bundles – This feature combines labels, filters and smart tabs into one solution, auto-categorizing messages and grouping similar emails together. Inbox comes with a predefined set of Bundles, such as Travel and Promotions, but users can add other categories and modify their preferences to train Google on how to sort their messages. With Bundles, users can quickly access emails that are important to them and dismiss the rest without ever taking a look. This is good news for the public sector communicators looking to stand out from the clutter – so long as their content holds up.


The biggest lesson to take away from Inbox’s launch is that what’s important in an email now will become even more important in the future – and that’s the quality and relevance of your content. Don’t let innovation distract you from that.