How Are Gmail’s Tabs Affecting Email Open Rates?

How Are Gmail’s Tabs Affecting Email Open Rates?

Many marketers have worried about how the integration of Gmail tabs — which require extra clicks for a user to view social and promotional messages in their inbox —  would affect their email marketing efforts. And if you have ever sent out marketing emails for your business, you have probably wondered the same thing since Gmail started using tabs in 2013. Now that it’s been more than six months since the change was implemented, you can get some definitive answers based on recent studies on email open rates regarding the promotions tab.

The Rate of Email Opens Is Down

It probably comes as no surprise that email open rates on Gmail have decreased. Depending on who conducts the study, the rate has dropped by anywhere from 13 percent to 20 percent. Either way, this news may be concerning to anyone who uses email marketing for business.

The bad news doesn’t end there. Studies from the end of 2013 have also found that people are taking a little longer to read the emails that end up in the Gmail promotions tab. Not surprisingly, users are likely to read the emails in their main inbox first, and then several minutes or even hours later, they get around to looking at the promotions tab. This means time-sensitive emails might not be working effectively unless they are still good several hours after they are sent.

So the Gmail tabs have resulted in some challenges, but the changes have not been all bad. Now for the good news…

The Rate of Email Unsubscribes Is Also Down

Studies show that people are not unsubscribing from marketing emails as much as they used to. In the past, folks might have received and opened promotional emails quickly, but would often unsubscribe as soon as they could find the proper button to do so. Now they are more likely to allow companies to continue sending marketing emails, and if they like what they see, they can even tell Gmail to start sending a particular company’s promotional emails to their main inbox.

If you’re looking for more good news when it comes to Gmail tabs, you should know studies show that people who are engaged with a certain brand already are actually more likely to open emails from them now that they go into the promotions tab. So your best customers might become even more valuable to your business. This finding also indicates that now is a great time to really focus on targeting the right market, if you haven’t already.

What You Can Learn from the Studies

So now you know to expect your email open rates to be down, at least among customers who are not already engaged with your brand. In addition, you should assume that most people won’t read your promotional emails right away. At the same time, you now know that a lot of people don’t bother to unsubscribe anymore, so you may have a better chance of reaching customers, and readers may engage more with your content since they know what to expect in the promotions tab.

You just have to work on catching their eye by writing effective email subject lines that are concise yet descriptive. Once you have achieved the goal of getting people to open your email, you should work on persuading them to move your emails into their general inbox. You can do this by reminding them why they do not want to miss an email from your company. Then walk them through the process, which is as easy as dragging any of your emails from the Gmail promotions tab to the regular inbox.

Have you noticed any changes in your email open rates or overall conversion rates since Gmail rolled out the tabs last year?

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