In a stated effort to unclutter its users inboxes Gmail radically changed its interface with an email sorting system. All incoming emails are clasified into the optional tabs below, the primary tab being the most prominent :
Although this new change could potentially greatly improve Gmail’s users experience it also raises concerns among marketers. Let’s review them :
Less exposure for promotional emails
Chief amongst those concerns is the issue of visibility. With gmail’s big redesign, gaining the susbscriber’s attention only becomes possible if he finds the time to explore the promotion tab or don’t ignore it altogether. The tabbed inbox also takes away an ally of email marketing that has always been taken for granted, the contrast effect.
In a non tabbed inbox promotional emails find their way to the customer’s inbox by breaking a stream of personal professional emails and this contrast made them all the more visible. Gmail’s redesign reduces the effects of this psychological phenomenom by shifting their context. In a tabbed inbox your newsletter suddenly finds itself amidst a sea of competing promotional emails. To make matters worst, Gmail sends its own ads as emails at the top of the the promotion tab.
More competition for the attention
Having all the promotional emails in the same category makes poorly made emails look even worst, they no longer benefit from a buffer of personal emails to protect them from an unflattering comparison with better crafted emails.
A possible effect on the subscription rate
Gmail’s filters move to the promotion tab most emails coming from Email service providers. As a result, your confirmation emails can end up in the promotions tab, away from your subscriber’s attention and easily forgotten.
An impact on open rates
Several of the largest email service providers already reported a small decrease in click-trhough rates from gmail users. The impact of this redesign appears greater amongst the less engaged consumers. According to the email deliverabiliy service Return path read rates dropped from 10.6% to 9.8% for the moderately engaged customers and from 2.2% to 0.4% to the less engaged customers. In contrast, the read rates increased from 57% to 59% for the most engaged customers.
How to be visible again ?
- Educate the customer
A simple drag and drop is required to receive a specific sender’s promotional emails in the primary tab. Some companies are already encouraging their customers to do it (see gap’s email below). This approach is however contingent on the subscriber’s willingness to take this extra step
- Extended email campaigns
Marketers can take the more passive approach of lengthening their email campaigns to leave more time to their subscribers to see their promotions. This however doesn’t really address the bigger problem of catching the subscriber’s attention.
- Gmail’s new inbox ads
Google offers more visibility at the top of the promotion tab with its new inbox ads (still in beta stage). The appeal of this solution might be reduced by its potential cost and its lack of personalization.
- Gaming the priority tab
Marketers are already looking for ways to circumvent Gmail’s sorting system with various tricks. This option can only be short lived as gmail constantly adapts to those workarounds. Furthermore, tricking its way into the subscriber’s primary tab could diminish the sender’s reputation.
- Relevant content
Gmail’s redesign doesn’t change a basic principle, customers will look for the shortest way to relevant content wherever in it in their inbox. A targeted message strategy in tune with your customer’s expectation will earn you the right to be moved to their primary tab, to gain visibility and to stand out from your competition.
In light of this different options, focusing on highly personalized messages stands as the most sustainable answer to the challenges posed by the tabbed inbox. The adoption of the tabbed inbox by the industry could usher in a new phase in the evolution of email marketing resulting in the extinction of the « batch and blast ».
Which tool to get there ?
We have seen that in a tabbed inbox more engaged customers means higher open rates which leads to higher conversion rates but how to get there ?
Intema answers this question with the most innovative solution on the market, The Smart E-Flyer and the Intelligent newsletter.
They integrate predictive analytics to email marketing by anticipating each subscriber’s next purchase and area of interest and generating a highly personalized content based on the predictive modelling of his behavioural data and purchase history.
This leads to :
- Relevant messages every time (higher open rates)
- Targeted calls to action (higher open rates)
- The right offer all along the customer’s lifecycle (Increased lifecycle value)
For more information visit www.intema.ca