When Google unveiled the new tabbed email organization to its Gmail users this summer, consumers had mixed reactions. Most people are resistant to change of any kind, and the tabbed email switch was a fairly radical move that seeks to reinvent how email inboxes are designed and used. A large portion of Gmail users have opted to keep the tabbed approach, and Google has since made it the default method of viewing your email in both its desktop browser inboxes and through its mobile apps.
The functionality is a boon for users, but it’s created a nightmare scenario for marketers. Because of this innovation, email marketing campaigns have had their effectiveness turned upside down. Marketers are scrambling to find alternate solutions and other ways to regain some of the campaign value that’s been lost thanks to Gmail’s tabbed inbox. But some businesses might not even realize the implications of a product innovation that, on the surface, seems to improve the user experience. Here’s a quick rundown of the change and what it means for your email campaigns.
Your Marketing Emails Are Being Diverted …
Gmail’s default tabbed inbox features three tabs: Primary, Social, and Promotions. Primary consists of personal email that is sent directly to you and does not fit any other categorizations. Social email relates to all emails sent from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other notifications you may be receiving in your email. Promotions, meanwhile, features daily deals emails, sales offers, and — unfortunately for email marketers — pretty much any other marketing content you might be receiving.
Only emails in the Primary inbox count as unread emails on your inbox counter, meaning there won’t be any reminders if consumers view a marketing email in the Promotions inbox but choose not to open it. And since the Promotions emails aren’t immediately visible when you access your email, there’s a reduced chance you will see these Promotions.
.. And There’s Not Much You Can Do About It
In the first days after the tabbed email was implemented, marketers tried a variety of tricks to try and subvert purgatory in the Promotions inbox. Unfortunately, none of those tricks were built to last. Gmail uses a sophisticated system when it evaluates emails and assigns them to inboxes, and though it might be tempting, it’s unlikely that email marketing can consistently arrive in the Primary inbox.
Email Open Rates Have Taken A Hit
The big way tabbed email cuts into email campaign values is probably obvious: If emails aren’t as visible — that is, if they’re easier to ignore or overlook — those emails won’t get opened as often. Less eyeballs on the emails means fewer opportunities to make website referrals and, ultimately, sales. For businesses that rely heavily on these emails to drive business and transactions, the hit to revenues can be considerable — and the value of the campaign is reduced in the process.
One study by MailChimp found that the open rates for such emails declined by a little less than 10 percent on the average week — not a huge drop, but enough to make a dent in revenues for any organization.
But You Don’t Need to Fret
Tabbed email may drive businesses and marketers to panic, but there’s plenty of reason not to overreact. First off, keep in mind that Gmail is only one email provider your customers use — the others haven’t followed suit by creating tabs of their own. And, while the return on your email marketing investment might be lower than you’re used to, the change isn’t severe enough to nullify email as a viable marketing channel altogether. You may need to get smarter about how you target through emails, but businesses are still driving business with emails.
Gmail’s new system stresses the importance of inbound marketing. Making sure you are delivering relevant, valuable content to your readers is the most important piece in making sure your email campaigns are read. No matter what tab your email falls under, if it’s information the reader wants to see (and opted into), they will still read your messages.
If you’re concerned about how to drive business through email or other platforms, don’t waste another day bleeding referrals and sales. Contact the best Denver inbound marketing firm, DBC Digital, to reclaim your campaign potential and get back on track to sustained sales growth.