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New Gmail Tabs Feature May Be More Beneficial Than Marketers Originally Predicted

A recent study by Return Path closely analyzed the new Gmail Tabs feature. In the study, Return Path said that the program was a success during its first week. Tabs was made to categorize inbound messages. While some marketers predicted a decline in marketing performance due to messages being filtered out of recipients’ inboxes, people who had opened marketing emails prior to the release of Tabs were actually reading more marketing mail. However, those who did not previously read marketing mail often read it less after Tabs’ release. Overall, Return Path’s study showed that the new Gmail feature proved to be beneficial for marketers.

The reason it was beneficial was because the feature made it easier for people having a history of high engagement with marketing mail were more likely to make purchases. With the new feature, they are able to review various offers without having to sort them and decide which ones to open. People who were only moderately engaged in marketing emails did not use the Promotions tab as much, but having the marketing emails automatically sorted makes them easier for this group to access when they do decide to shop online.

While some marketers may feel discouraged to hear that people who do not routinely engage in marketing emails are even less likely to read them now, the good news is that this group is small in comparison with people who do read their marketing mail. Marketers need to focus on the group that was already reading and using their email messages, and that group is now opening even more mail. However, marketers who had small amounts of readers before Tabs may see a sharper drop in responses. Some industries may be more affected than others. The majority of industries saw very little change or a slightly better rate with the roll-out of Tabs. With a read rate increase of nearly 35 percent, airlines saw a significant increase. Both daily deal companies and credit card marketers also saw significant increases.

Since research shows that Gmail users still seek out and read marketing messages of interest to them, marketers are hopeful in gaining higher read rates in the future. However, the small change brought about by Tabs can be attributed to the increased use of mobile mail, which is more common today than opening email on a computer. There are still two other issues to consider, which are habit and novelty of email features. It is possible that some Gmail users were enticed by the new Tabs feature, and this lead them to open messages to see which companies’ messages had been rerouted. If this is the case, they may not be as enticed by the feature in the future. However, users who want to read their messages may develop the habit of clicking on the Promotions tab, and this will make enticing marketing messages more likely to be opened. Time will tell if read rates rise or fall, but this new feature is certainly something every company should consider when creating email marketing messages.