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Gmail tabs – a new problem for email marketers

This summer, Gmail users noticed a large upgrade to their inboxes with the introduction of tabs sorting their email into three buckets: primary, social and promotions. While this new functionality was introduced by Google in an effort to de-clutter their user’s inbox, this new tool is most likely sorting your company’s email marketing into what feels like a new Spam folder.

Can you control what gmail tab your email falls into?

The short answer is no, but smart email marketers are educating their customers on how to move their favorite emails/newsletter/discussions from the promotions tab to the primary tab.

Our favorite example comes from JetSetter.com, seen below. At the top of their daily email, they have a note that says “Gmail users, don’t miss another Jetsetter email” and instructions on how to drag and drop the emails to appear in the primary tab. (A handy tutorial on how to do this can be found here.


In another example, we interviewed Stephen May, President of Crescent Leaf Technologies, who does email marketing for several fortune 500 clients on how he is mitigating the “tab crises”:

“What we’re doing in MailChimp right now is creating a segment for Gmail addresses. Then, we’re issuing an email with basic instructions – i.e., want to continue receiving [our client's] promotions in your inbox? Follow these instructions. Then – we pitch the simple drag and drop method.”

For this client, Stephen noted that 44% of their subscriber base is on gmail… which is the largest representation of email client in the list. They also noticed a noticeable dip in their open rates and are hoping these actions will help.

How do you figure out if the new tabs are affecting your email marketing?

As Entrepreneur magazine recently stated, No, Gmail’s Promotions Tab Didn’t Just Kill Email Marketing

They also offer some great tips for email marketers to see if the new gmail tabs are affecting your email marketing:

1. Create a segment of your email list showing only subscribers with a Gmail address.

2. Run some reports to see what the historic open, click, and (most importantly) conversion rate is of your Gmail subscribers.

3. Run that same report but change the start date to May 29th, when Gmail first announced these changes. Keep in mind that the May 29th date was when it was announced. 

4. Finally, compare your historic metrics for Gmail subscribers to the new report. 

Need more help with your email marketing conversion rates? We’d love to help.

POSTED IN: Email Marketing
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