Several weeks ago, we mentioned that Gmail would be rolling out a new format for the inbox: Gmail Tabs.
Well... as it's been rolling out to select users (since the end of May), there's been quite a bit of buzz about it and what it means for marketers!
While there have been various quick opinions formed as how this will affect email marketers, there are a few things to consider when looking at the big picture and what it really means!
First, in a nut shell, Gmail has created 5 tabs and automatically filters your emails into the following categories: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums.
This appears to be in response to some changes MSN rolled out last August when they began the move to Outlook.com in attempt to compete with Gmail and to gain back some market share. Google's new filtering is similar to what MSN has done with some of their tags/categories.
Here is a brief description of each tab and the gist of the filtering behind each.
The Primary tab is the default tab you see when you log into your Gmail inbox. This is where all the emails that are sent from “people” will be displayed. Also, according to Google, all emails that are ‘starred’ will show up under this tab as well.
The Social tab is where you'll find all emails from senders like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media notifications.
The Promotions tab is the tab where all marketing emails such as Google Offers, major retails chains such as Target, Best Buy, Office Depot, etc…, major reputable brands such as Groupon and Living social, as well as newsletters will appear. This is MOST LIKELY where your emails are going to show up unless they are trained to go into another folder.
The Updates tab is where you will find confirmations, invoices, bills and other emails that are automatically generated.
Forums is where any notifications regarding discussions and/or comments will be filtered.
Now that you have an idea of the breakdown of the new inbox, here are a few thoughts and considerations for navigating through the changes.
First off, while Gmail does its best to determine which email goes into which tab, users can easily "train" the system to route mail to other folders. It’s as simple as dragging the message from one tab to another to let Gmail know where you want the emails to go moving forward. (You can easily train your active subscribers to do this and may want to consider adding this step to your initial welcome series.)
Also, users can simply (and very well may) revert back to their old inbox view. So, it will not be known for some time the exact extent of the new inbox usage and if it will stick at all.
Next, let’s look at the companies that are listed under the Promotions tab above. These are companies like Target, Best Buy, Google Offers, Groupon, Living Social, etc. As you will notice, these are not small businesses that are easily looked over. These are basically all of the major retailers out there! Heck, Google Offers are categorized as promotions as well.
So the question is, will there actually be inherent benefits of being grouped in with these major corporations? For example, people who are registered with Groupon WANT to see their daily Groupons! As a result, they will go to this tab to get their Groupons! People who shop at Best Buy, and have signed up to receive their emails, will check the Promotions tab to see their special offers.
These companies that have spent years building their brands and establishing solid reputations. Other companies in this category just might get a bump in credibility. (Consider testing your )
Also, another potential benefit is that people checking mail inside the Promotions are very motivated buyers! There are actually LESS emails to compete with once they do click the tab.
Certainly, it will take some time to see what the overall outcome will be and if the new Gmail inbox will be here to stay or not. Here is a link to a Google video describing the new inbox to give you an idea of what to expect and how you may wish to address it with your subscribers as it's rolled out.
The bottom line is this: Like it or not, it's something, as marketers, that we're going to have to live with and address (at least until we see whether it sticks around for the long term and if users actually adopt it).
Author: Heather Seitz
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This information has been provided by http://www.EmailDelivered.com and written by Heather Seitz. To find out more about Gmail Tabs, visit http://www.emaildelivered.com/email-marketing/gmail-tabs/. Don’t forget to sign up for the EmailDelivered Pulse newsletter for articles, tips, and recommended resources related to email marketing and email deliverability.
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