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Is the Gmail Promotions Tab the Equivalent of Inbox Purgatory?

You may have recently become very aware of the new Gmail inbox tabs that seem to be sparking a heated debate.

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If you're a Gmail user then you may have recently become very aware of the new Gmail inbox tabs that seem to be sparking a heated debate. As the head of my e-mail marketing company VerticalResponse, I obviously have a vested interest in this topic for my customers and my business. But, I've gotta ask...Is the promotions tab in Gmail the equivalent of inbox purgatory, or is it just where your messages might want to be?

Take a look at some recent headlines from around the web:

  • Everything You Need to Know About Gmail's New, Super-Confusing Layout
  • Gmail Promotions Tab: Google's New Inbox Sparks Panic In Email-Reliant Nonprofit Sector
  • Tips on Getting Into the Gmail Primary Inbox
  • Google Just Did for Junk Mail What TiVo Did for Ads
  • Advertisers Reduced To Begging By Gmail's New Tabbed Inbox

Plus, your Gmail inbox may have been inundated by emails like these:

 

Maybe the Promotions Tab is a Good Thing?

So what do you make of all that? I'll give you my take on it. If you're a business sending e-mail to a list of subscribers who asked to hear from you, kudos. That's the way it should be. And if those subscribers asked to hear from you and most likely signed up for your list because they wanted to receive special offers, deals and discounts from you, then why is everyone worried about having their e-mail delivered to a tab that was created for that very purpose? Now instead of being mixed in with e-mails from your mom, or updates about your latest wine shipment, your offers and deals get placed in one easy tab for viewing. Sounds pretty great actually. Gmail even says, "These categories make it easy to focus on messages that are important to you and read messages of the same type all at once." To assume that your subscribers are only interacting with their primary inbox tab may be jumping the gun.

But Are the Rumors True that Gmail E-Mail Open Rates Are Declining?

So how have e-mail open rates overall been impacted? To present data from a neutral party (not an ESP like us) I looked at some information from our friends at Litmus. Since Gmail announced inbox tabs on May 29, Gmail e-mail open rates have decreased by 7.75 percent. Litmus says, "This may be evidence that Tabs are impacting Gmail opens, or just another blip on the radar." Litmus also shares that,"Gmail opens only account for about 4 percent of total email opens, and less than half (41 percent) of those opens are occurring in email clients that support Gmail tabs."

So while Gmail e-mail opens may be a bit down, let's not blame it all on tabs yet.

What's your take on the Promotion tab in Gmail? Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

IMAGE: xcode / Flickr.com
Last updated: Sep 9, 2013

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JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000.
@janinepopick




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