Gmail Inbox Tab Placement

Good news for email marketers: Gmail’s tabs are nothing to be afraid of, even the Promotions tab! Keep these two important facts about Gmail tab placement in mind:

  1. Emails are considered delivered no matter which Gmail tab they land in
  2. Studies have shown that recipients actually read emails that end up in the Promotions tab!

Gmail User Behavior is the Primary Method of Tab Placement

Google’s tab placement mechanisms are highly influenced by individual recipient behavior. This means that some of your Contacts might move your emails to their Primary tab, while others leave them in the Promotions tab. Google clarified the importance of Gmail users' own actions in  this blog:

While Gmail takes [many factors] into account, the most important one is your direct input. Your actions teach Gmail how best to sort your email based on your preferences.

Gmail Users Read Emails the Promotions Tab

"But, Sendlane! Marketing emails are now hidden from our Contacts, and they have to actively go and find them! They'll never be opened!!!" we know, it sounds scary and possibly detrimental to your business. But check out this finding from Return Path's The Tabbed Inbox study, emphasis ours:

Some commercial senders – especially marketers – worried that their messages would stop reaching users’ Primary tabs in the new Gmail inbox and wind up in a secondary tab where they’d be ignored. They were half-right: Almost no commercial mail is reaching the Primary tab, but instead of ignoring marketing messages Gmail users are actively searching for them and reading them at almost the same rates at which they did before tabs. Gmail has essentially created a second inbox where users hunt for email offers.

The Gmail Promotions tab puts people in the mindset of being open to marketing offers! Rather than skimming over your email while also looking for emails from family, friends, and social media, Gmail users who use the Promotions tab open your email ready to learn about your offerings.

How To Get Emails Into the Primary Tab

Because Gmail's tab placement algorithm depends so heavily on individual user behavior, it's tricky to determine tab placement for your Contacts. However, there are a few best practices that can influence Gmail tab placement:

Ask Contacts to Whitelist You

Emails from addresses in a Contact's address book are more likely to land in the Primary tab. Try inserting a link to this article with a request to your Contacts to add your business to their address books in your next Campaign.

Personalize Your Emails

Emails in the Primary tab are generally from people or organizations the Contact knows personally. Insert personalization tags in your emails' subject lines, preheader, or body to show a personal connection to your Contact.

Follow General Email Marketing Best Practices

It never hurts to revisit the basics and make sure your email marketing strategy is aligned with email marketing best practices!

Additional Resources

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