Gmail's New Inbox - Improve Your Marketing Alongside the New Changes
 

Gmail's New Inbox - Improve Your Marketing Alongside the New Changes

on

  • 3,591 views

In late May 2013, Google announced a new inbox that “puts users back in control.” As a marketer reading this, you may be concerned that: ...

In late May 2013, Google announced a new inbox that “puts users back in control.” As a marketer reading this, you may be concerned that:

Your messages will be relegated to somewhere other than the primary inbox.

Your email subscribers will no longer notice your marketing messages.

You’ll see an overall lower return on investment (ROI) through email, as measured by clicks, opens, and sales.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
3,591
Views on SlideShare
3,591
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
1
Downloads
10
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Gmail's New Inbox - Improve Your Marketing Alongside the New Changes Gmail's New Inbox - Improve Your Marketing Alongside the New Changes Document Transcript

    • “These Gmail changes are part of a larger trend that’s been in motion for years and will continue.” Chad White Principal, Marketing Research ExactTarget In late May 2013, Google announced a new inbox that “puts users back in control.” As a marketer reading this, you may be concerned that: • Your messages will be relegated to somewhere other than the primary inbox. • Your email subscribers will no longer notice your marketing messages. • You’ll see an overall lower return on investment (ROI) through email, as measured by clicks, opens, and sales. While these worries are common among marketers, there’s nothing to fear. In this paper, we provide the tactics and tips you need to stay top-of-mind among your subscribers who use Gmail. We’ll explain what has actually changed, the impact that the new inbox will and won’t have on your marketing, and how to tailor this inbox change to your brand’s benefit. New Inbox Rollout By the end of July 2013, it appears that all Gmail users will be switched over to the tabbed inbox interface. By default, Gmail gives users a tabbed inbox experience with three initial tabs: Primary, Social, and Promotions. If a user clicks on the plus button (+), they can edit which tabs are displayed. Two additional tabs are available: Updates and Forums. These two additional tabs are not enabled by default. There’s also an option to change how “starred messages” will be handled. By default, starring a message will ensure it is included in the primary inbox. The user can disable this if desired. Improve your marketing alongside the new changes with these steps. Email Gmail gives users a tabbed inbox experience with three initial tabs: Primary, Social, and Promotions. Gmail’s New Inbox exacttarget.com
    • Subscribers Can Still Find Your Messages Because we at ExactTarget have yet to observe a negative impact against open rates or click rates, we believe that Gmail-using recipients are still easily able to find, read, and interact with your email messages. If you’re sending mail that is truly desirable, subscribers will continue to find you— even if your emails are located in a different tab. Any negative impact from this change is more likely with messages that subscribers find less desirable. It is very important to continue to focus on subscriber engagement— “edge case” senders that already struggle with inbox placement are more likely to find open rates and click rates decline, as they’re more likely sending messages that subscribers find less interesting. The Ever-Evolving Inbox Chad White, ExactTarget’s Principal of Marketing Research, remarks, “It’s important to put the new changes at Gmail in context with previous changes at Hotmail, Yahoo, and other inbox providers. These Gmail changes are part of a larger trend that’s been in motion for years and will continue. The inbox is bifurcating because email is so highly used that better organization is needed. My opinion is that marketers should applaud changes that make the email experience more positive and more efficient.” Has this change made the email experience more efficient for users? It’s too soon to tell, but it’s also too soon to deduce whether or not email ROI will be significantly impacted by the Gmail update. Certainly, email ROI was not destroyed by previous, similar changes made at various Internet service providers (ISPs) and webmail platforms. So far, open rates and click rates do not appear to have significantly declined. At this time, available data does not indicate lower open and click-through rates due to the new Gmail tabbed inbox. In short, we are not seeing a significant impact to subscriber email message interactivity. This could change over time—we will monitor closely and update our guidance as necessary—but so far, the new inbox has not severely impacted subscriber engagement with marketing messages. exacttarget.com Email Gmail’s New Inbox
    • A Percentage of a Percentage According to Google, there were over 425 million active Gmail users as of June 20121 . According to email testing and tracking service Litmus, approximately four percent of all email opens can be attributed to Gmail webmail users, as of June 20132 . Litmus data suggests that this ranks Gmail just behind the Outlook.com and Yahoo! Mail webmail platforms. Thus, it is important to remember that any potential decline in Gmail user email interactions will impact only some subset of that four percent of users reading mail in Google’s webmail user interface. Controlling Message Placement: What You Can’t Do Before focusing on recommendations for improving email open rate and placement in the inbox, let’s go over what isn’t currently possible. You can’t tell Google to move your messages to a different folder. Gmail has not published a list of criteria governing whether or not a message goes to the promotions folder. It’s likely that Google is using a combination of criteria and that these criteria will evolve over time. It wouldn’t be surprising if Gmail were including user feedback in this equation; they are encouraging users to drag email messages to different tabs as appropriate, so please your customers and you’ll continue to be rewarded by Google. There is not a switch or flag you can add to email messages to prevent placement in the promotions tab. At this time, there is nothing a sender can do to ensure that their email messages are routed to one tab versus another. We recommend that you keep calm, keep close watch, and be prepared to make changes to marketing programs or content in the future, if warranted. There is no “Google hotline” you can call to coerce somebody into re-allowing messages back into the primary inbox. For now, we strongly recommend against attempting to modify email headers or body content to try to get the Gmail system to route messages to a different tab. Google is very likely to consider this practice as gaming the system, and ISPs react highly negatively to these attempts. Bulk foldering or blocking could result, so maintain your typical email best practices and don’t try to find a sneaky way out of your inbox placement. The Rewards of Recognizable, Consistent Branding: What You Can Do Your email strategy isn’t doomed. In fact, this change within the Gmail web interface may help you edge above your competition if you play to your brand’s strengths. ExactTarget Senior Policy Compliance Specialist Mickey Chandler points out that with this change, Google displays the friendly “from” name of various senders in the various tabs. A consistent, appropriately branded “from” name means that your brand or company name will show up in the tab heading, making it even easier for a subscriber to know that an email message from your brand awaits them. Mickey notes, “I think this will reward companies who have a policy of using recognizable and consistent branding strategies in their emails and who pay attention to the details—whether that’s the branding of their ‘from’ lines, their preheaders, or their sending reputations.” Use this opportunity to improve your marketing. Regardless of updates and interfaces, marketers will always be rewarded by paying close attention to user interactivity and engagement. Email Gmail’s New Inbox 1 theverge.com/2012/6/28/3123643/gmail-425-million-total-users 2 emailclientmarketshare.com
    • ExactTarget Senior Marketing Consultant Jeremy Bromwell explains, “This change highlights the increasing importance of first-send interaction. A practice like double opt-in would require interactivity from a subscriber before allowing for future emails, strongly protecting your sending reputation. A series of well-done welcome marketing messages are another way to appropriately set the subscriber’s expectation with regard to content and frequency of messaging. And finally, remember the importance of truly personalized, behavior- driven messages to maximize the opportunity for action.” Another piece of good news for marketers: This change has a limited impact on mobile rendering, so your mobile strategy can remain business-as-usual for the time being. The Gmail app for Android and Apple’s iOS (iPhone) platforms does include the new tab functionality. However, Apple’s default mail reading application on iOS does not support this functionality. For recipients reading your email messages on Apple’s default iOS email application, all messages will be found in the old-fashioned inbox, not within tabs. According to recent data from Return Path, the vast majority of mobile email activity takes place from the default iOS email application. So, what’s the point? The new Gmail inbox’s current impact to mobile Gmail subscribers is very small. The Takeaway: Continue Building Your Brand and Helping Your Subscribers Regardless of changes to the inbox and new user interfaces, the principles of consistent branding, respecting your subscribers’ preferences, and offering valuable and helpful content remain the same. As always, we at ExactTarget will continue to monitor Gmail subscriber activity trends and will report any significant developments. Stay tuned to the email deliverability section on the ExactTarget blog for the latest in deliverability news and trends. Email “This change highlights the increasing importance of first-send interaction. A practice like double opt-in would require interactivity from a subscriber before allowing for future emails, strongly protecting your sending reputation. A series of well-done welcome marketing messages are another way to appropriately set the subscriber’s expectation with regard to content and frequency of messaging. And finally, remember the importance of truly personalized, behavior-driven messages to maximize the opportunity for action.” Jeremy Bromwell Senior Marketing Consultant ExactTarget Gmail’s New Inbox