How Gmail’s New Inbox is Impacting Your Open Rate

Gmail desktopLast summer, Gmail launched a new feature for Gmail users (both business apps and straight up Gmail users) – called  Tabbed inbox aka “New Gmail Inbox”. As a user, this change can be a helpful feature to help you see and read emails more easily. It automatically moves emails into one of four standard categories (but you can change this however you like). The standard categories are Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates. This is great as a user, in Google’s phrase “it puts you back in control” and to be honest, a lot of people feel like their inbox is out of control, too many emails that they have to process.

But as marketers this matters because, Gmail is filtering messages based on the content, and moving it into pre-defined tabs automatically. Most likely your messages are being put into the Promotions or Updates tabs and not the Primary where you’d like to be! This is a frustrating change to you and me too, but unfortunately there isn’t any way around it. If you send to a lot of gmail.com email addressees, your email will not be in the primary inbox – unless your users manually tell Google to place it there. (which isn’t likely to happen no matter how much they  love you).

So the question is – how is this impacting your open rates on email?

Thankfully Mailchimp put their data machine on it and churned out some interesting results after analyzing over 1.5 billion emails.

GmailTabs02According to Mailchimp, there is a “a small but definite drop.” – before tabbed layout the open rates were above 13% and after the tabbed layout, they hovered right above 12%. This is a small change, and an unwelcome one.  So far, there isn’t a way to “fix” this – it’s more important to be aware of it, then worry about it or try to work around it.

What should you do? You need to look at your list and determine how it is impacting your open rates and plan accordingly moving forward.   I know it’s frustrating  to be impacted by something 100% outside of your control.  Just take a deep breath and keep on producing a great product and marketing it well.  The results will come!

PS – if you’re looking for a deeper dive in the new inbox, Hubspot has a great (and lengthly) post on it.

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