Google announced at the end of May 2013 that the Gmail inbox would have a new look. The changes included having the inbox separated into three different main tabs: primary, social and promotions. Gmail users are reporting that they like this new feature.
The “primary” tab includes the user’s emails marked as important or, for example, emails from people who they exchange messages with the most. The “social” tab contains messages from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social network platforms. Lastly, the “promotions” tab consists of deals and marketing messages.
So what does this mean for businesses? It means, more than likely, your marketing and promotional emails are being filtered—for customers using Gmail—into a folder with all the other marketing emails the individual receives.
What’s the good news? If your messages are going to someone who uses a Gmail account to forward to their company email through a different email client, such as Outlook, the new tabs will have zero effect on your emails. Although there is some research currently being done, it is still too early to tell how much of a difference marketers will see in the open rates. However, you should keep an eye on the open rates of your promotions at all times and determine the impact of this change to prospects and customers using Gmail.
If you use an online email marketing tool such as Constant Contact, continue watching open rates over time to see if there are any differences developing. Emails from a tool such as Constant Contact are destined for the promotions tab.
What can businesses do?
At this time, there is nothing new that you need to do for email-marketing. Email subject lines and content needs to continue to stay interesting, attention getting, engaging and relevant to the individual.
With the new Gmail inbox, the goal for marketers is to continue to develop a personal relationship with your customers so they will mark their future emails as primary, or so they continue to open your emails. As they continue to open your emails, it would leave Gmail to believe your messages should start showing up in the primary tab. One thing you can always do, is ask your Gmail recipients to star your email or click and drag your email from the promotions tab to their primary tab so they are sure to receive your messages there in the future.
Will Gmail’s new inbox affect your online marketing strategy? Have you seen changes in your marketing and promotions open rate? If so, please share with us.