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What Impact Has Gmail’s Promotions Tab Had On Email Deliverability So Far?

Written by Anna Milward on June 30, 2015

It’s been almost two years since Gmail’s promotions tab feature came out in May 2013 and when it was first unveiled, many of us were worried about how this feature might impact the deliverability of our emails and our email marketing as a whole.

For anyone who isn’t aware, the Gmail promotions tab allows users to group their emails into different tabs including primary (their main inbox), social (for social media updates and emails) and promotions (for marketing emails, product information and special offers from businesses).

So how is it going?

The worries that were felt by email marketers at the time of the announcement mostly dwelt on concerns that promotional emails wouldn’t be sent to their Gmail recipients’ primary inboxes, but would instead be diverted straight into their promotions folder. This seemed like it would lead to a reduction in open and click through rates and have a generally negative effect for businesses’ email marketing campaigns.

Since the feature was introduced, the overall indications have been mixed, and show that there may have been a slight reduction in click through and open rates. Reassuringly, it would appear from the few studies that have been done on the subject that the results are far less catastrophic than were originally predicted.

This could be for a number of reasons. Having promotional emails in a separate tab could actually work in the email marketer’s favour as they are all there in one place for users to look at when they’re in the mood to shop. This could mean they pay more attention, not less and spend more time reading the marketing emails that arrive in their promotions box than they would if the same messages landed in their main inbox while they were busy working or looking at other emails.

If you are concerned that your open or click through rates may have been affected by Gmail’s tabs you can check your own data to see what the impact has been. There have been other changes to Gmail since the promotions tab was introduced and we can pretty much guarantee there will be more in the future as Google works to refine its email platform to meet customer expectations and needs.

When it comes to successful email marketing, nothing beats customer engagement. If your subscribers really want to receive your emails and they are engaged with your brand, chances are they will seek you out and find your emails no matter where they end up.

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