How to handle the new Gmail tabs feature

Many of you have recently received an email from Google named “Welcome to the new Gmail inbox” where they explained how new tabs feature works. Google has decided to create preset tabs (it starts with Primary, Social and Promotions, but you can add new ones and edit these as well). The logic behind it is that Google will figure out what tab to put it in based on if it is a 1-on-1 correspondence, notification emails from your social networks, or the newsletters you are signed up for. For this purpose, we will, of course, discuss the latter.

When you send an email to your list, Google may classify your email as a “promotion”, and thus will not show it on the main (primary) tab.

Initially there was a lot of fear of what this meant for open rates, conversions, and whether your email would be ignored. For that reason, a lot of companies started to send out campaigns to their Gmail users with a message instructing them what to do. They would send you an email saying something like “Hey we are in your Promotions tab now”, and ask you to “fix it” by moving the message to the Primary view.  This is something you can do as well (will discuss that later in this post) but before we get to that, let’s see if its really the right move.

Is the promotions tab the end of email & newsletter marketing?

AdAge is reporting that despite the original panic, this is hardly the end of email marketing:

“Despite reports suggesting otherwise, Gmail’s redesign has not ushered in email marketing’s apocalypse, according to marketers and email vendors canvassed by Ad Age.”

Return Path has also seen some interesting affects this has had on inbox vs spam placement:

“Return Path measured a 17% read rate for July 2012 versus 15.6% for July 2013, but saw that placement rates — marketing emails making it into users’ inboxes instead of their spam folders — actually improved, said the company’s senior director of email research Tom Sather.”

Some are also thinking (and seeing results) that newsletter, updates, etc.. are beneficial to being in a tab.  The thought process being that people are using the primary inbox for non-stop email interaction and are more likely to discard, archive, or skim over content while when reviewing another tab they are in a different mode of email discovery.

Perhaps most importantly you should determine whether you need to focus your time and energy on Gmail Tabs or if you could improve your marketing by simply devoting that time & resources on creating engaging content that your contacts will love, interact with, and naturally be eager to open.

How to ask your contacts to move you to the primary tab

You can do the same using our system. It is easy to create a segment; you would create one that has a condition “email contains” to send only to people that use Gmail. Once you have a segment in place, you can create a message that invites your recipients to handle your emails differently. The email should contain a short instruction on what should they do:

  1. Click to open Promotions tab
  2. Drag and drop the message over to the Primary tab
  3. When prompted whether to do it for future messages as well, the recipient should select Yes.

Examples of companies asking to be moved to the primary tab

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