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How Do Gmail Tabs Affect Your Email Marketing?

Written by Anna Milward on June 9, 2014

Email marketing is an important part of any marketing campaign and if you’re spending time creating and sending emails, you want to know they are being delivered to the right place.  Last year, Gmail implemented a new system of filing emails known as tabs and this has created a few challenges for email marketers.

Gmail’s tab system creates separate inboxes for primary emails, promotions and in some cases also for social media updates and forums. This means that all emails received in Gmail are sorted into the different tabs according to the recipient’s relationship with the sender and other information that Gmail’s algorithm extracts from the content of the email.

As an email marketer there are two main tabs that you will probably need to know about. These are the promotions tab and the primary tab. Where your marketing emails get sent can have a drastic effect on your email open and click through rates with figures showing a decrease of around 1.6% in open rates since the introduction of Gmail tabs.

What is the primary tab and why should your emails be sent there?

Arriving directly in the primary tab is the goal for most email marketers. The primary tab is where emails from friends, family, colleagues and trusted companies are displayed and it is almost definitely the place where your recipients spend most of their time when they are on Gmail.

If you can get your emails to arrive in the primary tab, there is a better chance they will be read than if they are diverted to one of the other tabs.

What is the Promotions tab and how can it affect your email marketing?

The promotions tab is where marketing emails are generally sent and if you are using an email service provider to send your marketing emails. they will probably end up in the promotions tab unless your readers specify that they want them to arrive in their primary inbox.

Emails that are placed in the promotions tab are now in direct competition with other marketing emails and Gmail’s own advertising. This means that it’s more important than ever to have attention grabbing subject lines and a well-designed marketing email format if you want to stand out and get noticed.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – in spite of not being the primary inbox, many recipients still look in their promotions tab regularly, and chances are when they do they may be more likely to  make purchases if they see a good deal.

Do all your Gmail recipients use tabs?

Just because you have a large number of Gmail recipients on your email list doesn’t mean that they are all going to be affected by the tab system. Gmail can be opened on a variety of platforms including Microsoft Outlook, Android and iPhone email platforms.

Not all these platforms support the Gmail tab system and if your Gmail recipients open their emails on one of these platforms they will appear as they would in any other inbox.

As an email marketer it’s important that you understand Gmail tabs and how they can affect your email marketing so you can make sure you aren’t disadvantaged.

Still not sure how Gmail tabs can affect your email marketing? Feel free to ask us!

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