Gmail Adds Filters; How This Will Affect You as a Marketer

Email marketing likely plays a role in your marketing. It continues to be highly effective in terms of its reach and low image

Google has made a major change with the way it presents mail to its 425 million Gmail accounts. The new approach features Gmail Tabs which affect whether your readers are likely to view your campaigns – unless you take some steps now to help educate your users on what they can do to make sure they see your email campaigns.

Here is an outline of what Gmail Tabs are and how you can minimize the likely disruption to your campaigns.

What are Gmail Tabs?

Tabs are a new filtering program (rolling out this summer; you may not have it yet) that breaks messages into 3 categories: Primary, Social and Promotional.

Gmail users will first view their inbound mail in their Primary Tab by default.


Here is the challenge: your emails are likely going to the Promotional tab. A significant percentage of Gmail users won’t bother to look beyond their Primary tab. So recipients will need to take an additional step to view your messages in the Promotional tab.

What Can You Do to Minimize the Impact?

The good news is you can educate your recipients on how to make sure your campaigns show up in your Primary folder.

Here’s the key: recipients need to “star” your message which tells Google that your email is important. This star gets your emails into the Primary folder.

Social Media Examiner, a terrific website for all things digital, lays out 5 steps to educate your readers of these changes. The key is explaining them by using a video to visually detail how to make your emails “preferred” (with the star) which puts them in the Primary folder. You will find these steps (titled “Your 5-step plan for dealing with Gmail tabs”) about a third of the way down on Social Media Examiner’s post.

I recommend you employ these recommendations.

What are the long term implications of this Google move?

Email has always been an attractive vehicle for marketers where they knew that their messages would be delivered.

We’ll see how this move by Google affects email marketing moving forward.

We may see other email deliverers like Yahoo, Comcast, and MSN embrace this new approach- especially if users voice their approval of Gmail Tabs as well. Will this lower the chances of our campaigns being viewed?

If Gmail’s approach catches on among consumers, marketers will see more of this filtering and need to adjust to the changing digital marketing landscape.

Stay tuned.

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