Gmail just announced some big changes to the look and function of the inbox, which could impact a sender’s email metrics. This will affect primarily B2B senders that focus on small business, and B2C senders.
As of May 29, 2013, Gmail is rolling out an update that will group recipients’ email into categories which will appear as individual tabs. Recipients will have the ability to customize the new inbox by choosing to display only the tabs they want, and they will be able to set filters so email is directed a particular tab.
The four tabs that will that will be generally available are:
- Primary, which will be like the standard inbox now in use
- Social, which will contain email from social networks such as Google+ or Twitter
- Promotions, which will contain promotional and marketing email
- Updates, which will have Google and Gmail update-related messages
It’s possible senders will see a drop in open rates when sending to contacts that use the Promotions tab, because the email will not be received in the standard inbox as it was before. If a drop in open rate occurs, senders may want to use a plain text email (which will go to the Primary tab) to advise contacts with a Gmail address to check their Promotions folder for their latest marketing message.
Email recipients who don’t like the new tabbed system will be able to roll the change back and return to the classic Gmail inbox.
As always, the best way to ensure that your email gets read is to send email messages people want to receive. You want your email to be welcomed into the Primary group, not filtered into the Promotions tab.