Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: Did Gmail’s tabs spark the death of email marketing?

By Larry Alton     Mar 12, 2014 in Technology
Last year, Gmail users started receiving notifications about yet another change to their email interface. Gmail implemented its infamous tabs. What has been the fallout of Gmail’s tabs, and how are marketers affected?
Last year, Gmail users started receiving notifications about yet another change to their email interface. Gmail implemented its infamous tabs, designed to make it easier for users to sort incoming mail by category — and to make it easier to ignore marketing messages by shunting them to a separate “Promotions” tab.
Gmail users had reactions ranging from satisfaction, to indifference, to annoyance (especially when Gmail started sending their own ads to the Promotions tab, disguised as emails). For marketers, the opinions are generally on the negative side. With email marketing such a huge channel for online marketers, what has been the fallout of Gmail’s tabs, and how are marketers affected?
What marketers are doing to combat the tabbed interface
The ever-evolving Internet means that online marketers need to be flexible and adaptable. Gmail lobbed a pretty big curveball with the introduction of tabs, causing many marketers to immediately take proactive steps to overcome this potential road block.
One popular strategy for marketers has been to ask their email lists to “whitelist” messages, so they’ll be delivered to the Primary tab. It’s easy enough for Gmail users — just drag any message from a friendly company to the Primary tab, and select ‘Yes’ when Gmail asks if you’d like future messages routed to your main inbox.
Big companies like Redbox and Kroger sent these “please don’t ignore us” messages out fairly quickly after tabs were implemented. However, this raised an issue: with so many companies sending similar notifications — with instructions on how to whitelist them — users became confused and annoyed.
Other businesses chose to increase budget and activity across other channels of their online marketing campaigns, like social media marketing, SEO, and content marketing.
Will Gmail tabs end email marketing?
Based on the limited data available and a few studies already conducted, there has been a small but noticeable drop in open rates among Gmail users since the tabbed interface was introduced. Litmus, an email testing and analytics firm, tracked an 18 percent drop in Gmail opens from May through August 2013. However, that may have been due to normal marketing cycles — which tend to lose a lot of juice over the summer months.
One vote of confidence for the health of email marketing is that Litmus reported that only 19 percent of people with Gmail actually read their messages in a web client, and late last year that mobile opens hit a record high of 47 percent. The majority of users check Gmail on a mobile device (more than one-third on iPhones, another 20 percent on Androids) — and the mobile Gmail platform doesn’t support tabs.
Conclusion
All in all, it seems that Gmail tabs haven’t caused the death of email marketing, as many marketers feared. Instead, open and click rates are slightly down, but the rising trend of mobile device Internet usage seems to be countering the negative effects experienced by users on desktop Gmail clients. For now, email marketing is alive and well; it appears to have only sustained a minor setback from the implementation of Gmail’s tabs.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Gmail, Google, email marketing
 
Latest News
Top News