What Do Gmail’s New Inbox Tabs Mean for Marketers?
Google recently rolled out a new inbox format that categorizes one’s inbox into different tabs. Tab options are Primary (emails from personal contacts), Social (social network-related emails), Promotions (marketing and offers), and Updates (bills, receipts, etc).
Gmail users can use any combination of these tabs, or none at all, with similar inbox formats across Gmail’s web and mobile applications. By default, one’s new inbox opens on the Primary tab, with the ability to toggle between tabs as preferred.
If you’re a Gmail user, you’ve most likely noticed this change—and the fact that marketing messages from both for-profit and nonprofit organizations are filed under the Promotions tab. (Note that the iOS default mail inbox does not have the tabs, but the Gmail app does).
So what does that mean for marketers (i.e. us!)? Initially, the change has prompted mass panic amongst email marketers, concerned that their messages will be exiled to oblivion and not seen by the intended recipient.
But in reality, people will check their Promotions tab and read the emails they care about, so those who are engaged with an organization will still identify its messages. Now, people may take the time to look at these non-personal communications at a time that’s convenient for them, so they may even be more apt to read or click through an email. This categorization may delay the actual email open if people do not check their Promotions tab as frequently, and this should be considered if including a hard offer deadline within email communications. Based on the email content and offer, it may make sense to allow for a longer deadline if email response time is not as prompt.
Another potential upside for marketers? Now your messages are only competing against other marketers, not personal emails, social networking updates, or bills.
There are proactive steps to help bypass this tabs system. TLC suggests including a line of text at the top of emails asking Gmail users to add your message to the Priority tab to maintain prompt receipt. For important emails (like your Cyber Monday campaigns, for example), we always recommend alerting followers of your message on Facebook and Twitter. Finally, if TLC manages your emails, you can rest assured that your Digital Services and Account teams will be closely monitoring email open, click, and purchase activity to ensure that the new inbox format does not adversely impact overall results.
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