Recently Google started rolling out their new Gmail layout. This includes an out-of-the-box Gmail promotions tab, social tab and primary. As someone who just created a new email marketing course for bloggers I know I'll have many students asking me what it all means.
Primary will be all of your personal connections. Social will feature anything involving social media and promotions is for anything promotional.
This started a few weeks ago and is making it's rounds into the entire database of Gmail users. In fact, mine finally updated, just earlier today and I've known others who were upgraded weeks go.
(Click Any Image To View Close Up)
Here is what this looks like:
Notice the settings?
I would be slightly more worried if Google decided to make it to where the promotions tab doesn't show when you get an email. But, here is acually what happens when you have an email in your promotional area.
So the green light lights up to let people know that new promotions are in the inbox. Not bad.
So on a standard desktop or laptop computer it's not too bad and we should still be able to see that we have emails over there.
Here is a quick view under the promotions tab.
My Initial Take On The Potential Impact To Harm Email Marketing
From a marketer's perspective it can certainly be scary wondering what is going to happen.
Will people see my emails far less?
Will people even know about the new tab?
Will people be confused?
These are all good questions! My early thoughts are that we'll see open rates decline from our Gmail subscribers for awhile,but, they will increase back up over a small amount of time as people get adapted to the new settings.
One Thing That Will Hurt Open Rates
Mobile. I decied to see what happens when a promotional email comes into my email inbox on my Android phone.
You know the little blinky green light that notifies you when you get an email? It works fine for your primary emails, but, promotional and Social emails are getting absolutely no green blinky light love.
However, when I do log into my email inbox to check my emails on my Android I do see a social and promotional setting is atually right on top.
Check it out:
This is a screen shot I took from my wife's phone using my phone. So I had to mark out her email account address and some of the promotions that she recieved for privacy. Not that she wouldn't want to have some of my readers email her, I am sure she would love that!
Notice on top they have the promotion and social tabs. When something is in either box the number of unread emails will appear there. So while I think open rates will go down from an initial send to mobile devices I don't think it will kill the campaign so much. However, that said, time sensitive campaigns MIGHT suffer some setbacks.
Think about this. Let's say Macy's is having a sale and sends out a promotional email the night before. Many of their customers might not see that intial email right away.
This is obviously not good for the advertiser or the reciever who obviously signed up forpromotional offers from the company.
One solution is to offer longer advertisement periods to get around this. Optionally, send a couple additional emails to promote as well.
Still one of my hopes is that Google will realize this isn't helpful and turn the blinky light thing on for promotional emails as well. But, who knows what the will decide to do.
So As An Email Marketer What Can You Do?
Well a few things.
#1. Make sure you are always mailing relevant offers and not taking advantage of your list. I mean, this one is common sense, but, with some of the shady junk I've seen go on, it had to be stated. People will be more likely to look for your emails if they actually like you.
#2. Ask them to add you to their Gmail contacts list. This will get you included into the Primary list and likely get your offers seen more. Like the next thing I'll mention, do this in your welcome email, not the confirmed opt in page.
#3. Ask them to STAR your email address. But, ask them to do this in your first email, not on the confirmed "opt-in" page. Putting it on your confirmed opt-in page could cause some confusion resulting in the person not even confirmng their subscription to your email list (bad obviously).
Inside of Gmail this is what it shows when you're reading about the tabs.
Notice the little check box near the save button? It says "include starred in primary" and it's also checked by default.
So encouraging your readers to do this will be helpful to your email marketing campaigns. This way your messages end up in the Primary section.
#4. Finally, get people into other channels that you own. This can be social media like Facebook, Twitter and especially Google+, membership sites, Facebook Groups and anywhere else you have accounts.
So What Are Google's Motives?
It's hard to say right now. It's being touted as a way to clean up the email inbox for the folks.
Some believe Google has far more sinister goals; citing possible ads all over the promotional area. Other's believe it's going to force advertisers to buy more ad spots with Google.
At this point, we don't know.
I for one am looking forward to what the large email companies have to say about this. I also am looking forward to some large scale tests by these large email companies.
In time we'll see how much this new Gmail layout will impact us email marketers but, like always, we'll adapt.
One thing I will tell you though, is to NOT give up on your email marketing campaigns. Just be smart about how you go about it.
Questions, thoughts? Having an impact on your already?
Also, if you like this write-up would you mind sharing this with the world? It means lot to me that you would share this information. After all, isn't that what the Internet is for?