Posted 30th July 2013 by APSIS

Gmail introduces tabs

– this is what marketers need to know

E-mail has seen a stable development and growth over the last 30 years. Gmail from Google has since the launch in 2004 taken a central and innovative position in the market, currently with a market share of approximately 4% according to Litmus.

Every now and then, developments are made to improve the email experience. Google previously launched priority inbox as the first step to help users sort between important and less important email. We have not seen a lot of traction for priority inbox after the launch. This however does not stop Google from taking the next step with the introduction of tabs in Gmail.

The next step for Gmail is to automatically sort email into a primary inbox and four categories:

”Social”: Will contain notification from services such as Facebook and LinkedIN.

”Promotions”: Will contain commercial emails and newsletters.

”Updates”: Here you will find email containing order and shipment confirmations and other system generated email updates.

”Forums”: Contains notifications and updates from forums and old-fashioned mailing lists.

The Primary inbox will contain personal emails and other emails. As the features are new there will still be some time needed to se how this develops and the sorting mechanisms behind these features.

The new tabs is rolled out during the summer of 2013 and is seen both in the web based Gmail client and in the Gmail apps for smartphones.

What does this mean for senders and marketers?

As a marketer you need to be prepared for the fact that recipients who use the web-based or smartphone bases Gmail clients will no longer see your emails in their primary inbox, but rather need to navigate to ”Promotions” to see your emails.

For these recipients, we expect the following:

  • Longer time from sending to opening of emails.
  • Lower open rates.
  • Higher click to open rates.

The total effect should be a slight decrease in both open and click rates for these recipients. However, relevant and valuable sender will of course see much less effect than less careful senders.

What should you do about this?

Trying to contact Google to get your emails into the primary tab is probably as efficient as trying to contact google for an improvement on your organic search results.  We recommend the following basic two steps to ensure best delivery and results after this development:

  1. Continue to work on and improve the quality and value of your email. This is the only long term and universal key to email marketing success.
  2. Help your Gmail recipients on how to get your emails into the primary folder.  Create a list of your users with ”” as their email domain.  Create and email telling them how to automatically get your emails into the primary folder.

It is really simple: Just drag and drop an email from the ”Promotions” to the Primary folder and click ”yes” to automatically do this for other emails from this sender in the future.

Remember: Few recipients will probably feel that your emails are as valuable as you would like them. Your email with instructions will need to make a strong sell - maybe with humour as an edge?

Good emailing!