In the ever-evolving landscape of digital security, Google has taken a significant stride to enhance user protection. Commencing in December 2023, Google is set to enforce a new policy that concerns inactive accounts. Accounts that have not been accessed or used for a period exceeding two years will face deletion by Google.
This transformative step aims to bolster security measures by eliminating vulnerable accounts that lack crucial security protocols. Yahoo had previously implemented a similar approach, permanently erasing inactive accounts after 12 months.
Why is Google making this change?
Defining account activity
Exemptions to the policy
Deletion targets: What’s at stake
Implications for marketers: Challenges and prospects
Embracing change with Insider
At the heart of Google’s policy revision lies a strong emphasis on security. Older accounts—often devoid of robust security features such as two-step verification—remain susceptible to cyber threats and unauthorized access. With the deletion of inactive accounts, Google is proactively addressing potential security risks, thereby safeguarding the integrity of user data and ensuring their privacy remains intact.
To keep their account active, users must engage in various activities within the Google ecosystem. This encompasses actions like sending or reading emails, using Google Drive, watching YouTube videos, downloading apps from the Play Store, using Google Search, and signing into third-party applications or services via “Sign in with Google.”
Certain accounts will be exempted from this policy to ensure specific user groups remain unaffected. School and corporate accounts, due to their distinct usage patterns, fall under this category of exemption. Additionally, accounts with YouTube videos and those subscribed to services like Google One will be spared from deletion.
Accounts labeled as inactive will undergo permanent data deletion. This encompasses all emails within Gmail, along with documents, spreadsheets, slides, photos, and other files stored on Google Drive. However, it’s important to note that YouTube videos linked to the account will not be subjected to deletion.
For marketers, this policy shift ushers in both challenges and opportunities. Attempting to send emails to dormant accounts could lead to hard bounces, thereby negatively impacting deliverability rates.
However, it also presents a unique chance to strategically segment and target inactive users. This personalized approach could potentially reignite their interest through tailored and precisely targeted content. Nevertheless, if you’re already leveraging Insider’s robust capabilities for user engagement, these concerns might not be on your radar.
Insider is equipped to guide marketers seamlessly through this transitional phase. We’ve joined forces with ISPs to categorize deleted accounts as invalid within the Insider panel. This measure ensures that deleted emails don’t tarnish your reputation, mitigating any concerns about deliverability rates.
To maintain customer engagement and steer clear of hard bounces, consider implementing the following strategies:
In essence, Google’s proactive stance toward inactive accounts signifies a pivotal stride in enhancing user security.
For marketers, adapting to this change is paramount in maintaining deliverability rates and fostering consistent customer engagement. Insider’s marketing solutions serve as an invaluable compass to navigate this transition, potentially eliminating the need for arduous engagement tracking. With a focus on targeted communication and insights derived from data, marketers can seamlessly transform this policy shift into a unique opportunity to bolster engagement and foster enduring customer relationships.
A product marketer by craft and business storyteller at heart, Divya has 8+ years of experience in positioning and crafting powerful technology product stories. At Insider, she's extending her passion by marketing and launching Insider products out in the world. Divya also actively influences women's representation in the tech space through various tech and socio-economic initiatives outside of work.