Posts Tagged ‘Gmail’

Quick email is flooding, the promotions tab is going under! Get all your emails to higher ground! Get them into the primary tab! Quickly before every email dies unseen!

No this isn’t the end of days. This is simply another change in a constantly evolving industry.  I agree with MediaPost about NOT asking your subscribers to filter you into their primary tab.

From my perspective, I am seeing more and more senders asking me to put their emails in my primary tab however I am not going to. The primary tab is for friends and family and people that I know in real life and I plan to keep it that way. Marketing and promotional email will stay under the promotions tab. I like having my email divided by type because, like MediaPost says, when people go to their Promotions tab, they’re in the shopping mind-set- they expect to find promotional emails in the promotional tab and that’s what they get, so they can be in that buying mind set instead of flicking from a personal email to a promotional email and back. I completely agree with MediaPost’s statement  “…by asking subscribers to move your email from the Promotional to the Primary tab, you’re essentially closing your store at the mall and deploying door-to-door salesmen that interrupt your subscribers’ conversations with their friends and loved ones. You’ll be more visible, but also probably more intrusive and less welcome”. 

I have received this great email from Archetype showing how easy it is for me to re-tab their emails from the promotions to the primary tab. (Just drag and drop!) If you would like to see it, click the image below to see the full version of the email. If you are planning on sending such an email to your subscribers this is a great example on how to do it.

Apart from my personal preferences and the views of others, are there any other reasons you shouldn’t ask subscribers to re-tab your email? Here are a couple of considerations for you…

- While it is still too early to tell what the impact on open and click-through rates will be, marketers are concerned that emails placed in a separate tab will be out of sight, and may also be out of mind. It is still very early days and it will take a bit of time for the stats to settle down and for us to see some real representative data.

- Tabs only affects a small percentage of your subscribers. On average, according to Litmus, Gmail opens only account for about 4% of total email opens, and less than half (41%) of those opens are occurring in email clients that support Gmail tabs. Also, Gmail’s new inbox only affects the shrinking number of desktop users, not the growing number of mobile users.

- Gmail users are in the learning and adjustment period as much as the marketers are. Some will end up turning off Tabs, others will move email streams around until they get senders’ emails into the tabs that are most convenient for them.

Finally here is some of the latest findings – ReturnPath are reporting that Gmail’s new tabs are making the engaged subscribers open more emails, and the unengaged subscribers open less. So there is an interesting divide starting to show and to me this is more about working on engagement with your subscribers rather than worrying about which  tab you are on.

So don’t panic – your emails will live if they stay on the promotions tab. As long as you continue to send relevant, targeted and engaging emails.

Last month’s Gmail Tab roll-out has been closely watched by marketers who are all worrying that their emails would be out of sight, out of mind, and many predicted a drop in open rates. Now it seems the opposite is happening. For those subscribers who were engaged, we are seeing open and read rates climb.

This is according to Return Path who have released the Gmail Tabs Analysis, a report on how inbox delivery rates and read rates have changed since the Tabs were implemented. They report that for most marketers, the Gmail tabs feature is in fact a positive change and these stats indicate that.

• Highly engaged users are reading a slightly higher percentage of marketing messages (58.64 percent before Tabs vs. 59.88 percent after Tabs)
• Moderately engaged users are reading a slightly lower percentage of marketing messages. (10.55 percent before Tabs vs. 9.81 percent after Tabs)
• Users who rarely engaged with marketing messages before Tabs are engaging at a significantly lower rate (2.19 percent before Tabs vs. 0.42 percent after Tabs)

The other impact to metrics is the fact tabs are only available on the desktop, not on mobile. So with 44 percent of email being read on mobile, the impact of tabs is only coming from desktop use which accounts for 33%.

Besides that a couple of things really stand out to me. The tabs roll out applies to everyone across the board so no particular group of marketers appears to be disadvantaged. Sure those subscribers who were inactive or disengaged or simply tolerated the promotional emails in their inbox before may now simply ignore their commercial emails since they are filtered off into another tab. On the flip side, those subscribers who are engaged will continue to seek out and read those emails that interest them or provide value, and we are seeing proof of that in the stats.

In fact according to these increased open rates it seems they are more likely to read and react to promotional emails when grouped together, because the tabs categorise email and this makes it easier for certain subscribers to find and read email instead of having to sort and filter through one big pile of email. Potentially also subscribers may be in a shopping mind set when reading all their promotional emails at once on the promotions tab.

Another factor that may determine how subscribers ultimately react is habit. At the moment the tabs are still new and subscribers may be consciously searching every tab for your email while they learn which emails end up where. But once the novelty factor wears off will they still be searching through every tab? Will old habits die hard or will subscribers adapt to this as they adapt to all other changes?

It’s still fairly early days in terms of measuring Gmail tab’s effect on user behaviour or email metrics, however going by these early indications it seems fairly safe to say marketers can stop worrying about Gmail harming their open rates, and continue to focus on engagement and the positive results this provides.

Gmail’s new approach to categorizing messages using tabs has begun its rollout and is receiving mixed reviews from marketers and users alike.  While many users are loving the new compartmentalised inbox, others are struggling with losing emails and are already switching their inbox back to the original look.

While Gmail is touting the transition to this new inbox layout promises greater efficiency for recipients, it could come at a price for marketers.

For those of you who don’t already know, Gmail has updated their inbox so that instead of the traditional approach of displaying all your emails in one big list, Gmail now organizes your messages into 5 tabs with the categories being Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. All new emails that come in are automatically filed into one of these tabs, according to the type of email it is, and the users click through to the different tabs to view them.

Here’s a quick look at the types of emails you can expect to see under each tab:

  • Primary: person-to-person conversations and messages that don’t appear in other tabs
  • Social: messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, and other social websites
  • Promotions: deals, offers, and other marketing emails
  • Updates: personal, auto-generated updates including confirmations, bills, receipts, bills, and statements
  • Forums: messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists


In terms of how Gmail is filtering these emails, Campaign Monitor says on their blog “…pretty much all email originating from mass senders are ending up in the “Promotions” tab, regardless of content. So it’s likely that this determination is based on IP/sender history, instead of the message copy itself. That said, Gmail does give recipients the option of re-categorizing email, so hopefully we’ll see this process developed in order to ‘train’ Gmail to accurately categorize email from specific senders”

Really this is just one move in the trend towards automatic email filtering, which is being adopted by email clients and users alike. Our deliverability team have been monitoring this and say Gmail has always made more use of subscriber engagement to filter inboxes than other ISP’s anyway, so this is a minor change in the scheme of things.

In fact Litmus also says this will have a very minor impact… they have recently posted the following statement on their blog -  “With the release of Gmail’s new auto-filtering inbox, many have wondered if we’d see a decrease in Gmail opens. However, looking at the past year of Gmail opens, we’ve only seen a tiny decrease (just under a 9% change, and less than a percentage point). Since Gmail’s new tabbed interface is an optional addition, my feeling is that adoption has been low..”

I personally am on team ‘tabbed email’. Since using the new tabbed email interface it has correctly sorted all my email into one of the 5 tabs, and I now find it easier to read, find, and take action on each email I receive. For example it is as simple as clicking on the ‘promotions’ tab to see all your regular email subscriptions – so unless someone was just to busy to take that extra step, there is no way you could miss any emails. It also tells you when there is a new email under each tab so you can quickly find and read it. The same rule still applies, that if you send timely, relevant, expected emails, your subscribers will continue to read them.

However, if you are still concerned, here’s a tip – you could advise your subscribers that the email updates you send them may be going to their Promotions tab, and that if they still want to see those emails regularly they need to either visit the tab or mark the email “not promotions” for the future.

When a recipient marks your email as ‘junk’ or ‘spam’ in their inbox, a good ESP (email service provider) will receive that notification via the feedback loop  set up with the ISP.

This will unsubscribe the person so you do not send them any emails again, which is a best practice action and helps preserve your reputation as a good email marketer.

However, what happens when your customer wants to get BACK on your email list?  They have marked the email as spam so it will go straight to the junk folder each time.  Unless they reverse the action and mark it as ‘not spam’ or ‘not junk’.

If you need to pass these instructions on, you can send this page by clicking the title ‘Not Junk’ How to get your email back to someone who has marked it as spam  above, and sending the link to the page.

Here is what they need to do:

  1. Go to the Junk/Spam folder of the email client
  2. Tick the email(s) you wish to un-junk or un-spam
  3. Click ‘Not Spam’ or ‘Not Junk’ as indicated in the screenshots below.