Gmail, Where The Heck Did Our Mail Go?
Gmail has apparently been busy quietly rolling out a new tabbed layout. There has not been a lot of fanfare about it (yet), but it may change the way we receive emails and read emails. And it certainly needs to be on the radar of anyone sending marketing emails.
On the surface the change looks pretty simple. Instead of one email stream you now will see three tabs at the top of your email. One is labeled “Primary” – your personal email automatically gets filtered into this one. All of your email received from your contacts goes here.
The other two are labeled “Social” and “Promotions.”
“Social” is for notifications you receive from social media sites such as G+, Twitter or Facebook.
“Promotions” is for what Gmail calls “deals, offers and marketing emails.” But what I see here is EVERYTHING not a notification or from a friend.
This may be a problem.
I remember when Gmail started automatically filtering what they deemed “Spam” out my feed for me. At first I would check it once a week to make sure no “real” emails got in there by mistake. Now I rarely check it. I can see this “Promotions” tab going the same way – it will be way too easy to ignore that tab when I get busy and only focus on my more relevant “Primary” email.
More concerning for me as a marketer, was that when I looked in my “Promotions” email I saw all of the emails we send out on behalf of clients on a regular basis. Even the custom ones with notifications that a child needs permission to enter s sweepstakes, and the ones we send notifying people that they are winners in a promotion.
Even More Tabs!
I did some more checking on the filters and there IS a way to add two additional tabs to your Gmail: “Updates” and “Forums.” You do this by checking on the “+” icon to the right of the tabs. This opens a dialog box like this:
If you add “Updates” it will move all of your “personalized” bulk email into one tab. The theory here is that your phone bill notification sent in bulk from Verizon, and that PTA announcement and things like that which have your name on it will make it to this tab and not get lost in the “Promotions” tab.
“Forums” is for messages from message and discussion boards.
I added everything.
Now my Gmail looks even MORE crowded and instead of a quick glance to see what new mail has come in I have to check even more tabs! I wonder how long it will take me to simply ignore the additional tabs? What about your average American user?
So what are the implications for promotional marketing?
Clearly, all subscription email and email notifications (winner notifications, COPPA emails, etc.) may have additional issues being read since they will be filtered into the “Promotions” tab that people may not check as regularly. If they are personalized, there might be a higher chance that they are seen if people know how to turn on the “Updates” tab and actually check it….. but this is highly doubtful. Open rates may go down, and lower redemption of offers is sure to follow.
We already know that the Internet is an ever evolving entity. The Gmail changes are just another thing we will have to find a solution for. And we will evolve our delivery strategy accordingly!
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