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Are Google’s New Inbox Tabs Ruining Your Email Marketing Campaign?

This summer Google introduced a new tabbed inbox for Gmail, which displays emails in different tabs based on their subject and content. Just how Google decides which emails to display in what tabs remains a bit of a mystery for everyone. The good thing is that users can also filter out messages based on the sender, assigning them to a specific tab. For marketers, the key thing is figuring out in what tab their emails appear and whether that tab receives enough attention.

The Tabs

The Primary tab is theoretically the most important. It’s the one where you receive emails from friends, family, and colleagues, as well as bills for your online purchases, work-related files, and so on.

The Social tab is where emails from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks end up.

The Updates and Forums tabs serve more or less obvious purposes – think of the latter as a kind of social tab.

There’s one tab left, Promotions, and this is the one where most marketing emails should end up.

Impact of the Promotions Tab on Your Marketing

If all marketing emails end up in Promotions, that raises concerns for marketers — what if users start ignoring the Promotions tab? And wouldn’t it be better if marketing emails ended up in the Primary tab instead? Wouldn’t recipients regard them with better eyes then?

It’s good to look at your own marketing campaign numbers and try to understand what impact the introduction of Gmail tabs has had so far on you.

Look at recipients with a address and consider the open rate, the click-through rate, and the revenue per email. If numbers started to drop after July the 5th, when the tabs were implemented, then it could be because your emails are ending up in the Promotions tab, where they are ignored.

Note, however, that not all recipients with a email use the online Gmail interface. In fact, most users are reading and sending email through desktop or mobile apps.

Increasing Your Conversions

If Gmail tabs have a negative impact on your email marketing campaign, you have two options:

  1. Educate subscribers about the tabs and encourage them to move your emails to the Primary tab, providing a simple guide on how to do it
  2. Make your emails stand out from other marketing emails by using a call to action that cannot be ignored.

In the end, Gmail tabs are good for users. If they are bad for some marketers, it’s likely because the marketing messages they are sending are just not compelling enough. Don’t repeat the same mistake. Make sure every marketing email you send counts.

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