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August 29, 2013

Recent Gmail Inbox Changes: Don't Freak Out! Yet.

August 29, 2013

If there’s one thing that’s never changing on the Internet, it’s your e-mail inbox...right? Always full of (or overflowing with) brightly shining unread messages, and grayed-out subject lines that you’ve filed away in some dusty mental bin.

Google, determined as always to shake the status quo, has been rolling out an update to its Gmail inbox which separates it automatically into...3 separate inboxes! I’m sorry. I wish I had something more exciting to type in italics. You’ve still got your stand-by inbox, but now it’s called “Primary”, and is joined by partners “Social” and “Promotions”, which receive auto-filtered emails based on their content.

Xzibit heard you like inboxes.

(Know your meme!)

Here at SmallBox, we view email messaging as an important digital marketing strategy to stay top-of-mind, drive traffic to specific pieces of content, and stay engaged on a consistent basis with clients, consumers, co-workers, and other awesome subscribers. Needless to say, some of you may be wondering about the new inboxes, and how they’re affecting your ability to communicate effectively with your email audience.

In four words: Don’t freak out. Yet.

Here’s why:

  • Open rates seem to be relatively steady. According to MailChimp, the limited data we’ve seen from tabbed inboxes only shows a drop of less than a percent in open rates. So for the most part, messages are still getting the eyeballs we’re all looking for.
  • Gmail still has a small market share. Even though in the tech world it can seem like everybody and their brother uses Gmail, that’s just not a fact that carries out into the world at large. According to Litmus, in July 2013, Gmail accounted for only 4% of email opens. The two biggest, Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Outlook, combine for almost 42%. Now that’s serious market share.
  • Are you serving your audience? If you’re focused on delivering valuable, authentic content to your actual audience(s), then they’ll want to read a message from you. Right? Don’t waste your breath (er...finger-speed) typing non-essential communications to your community. Give them what they want! Promote events, specials, coupons, or curate great content that honestly communicates the value of your organization. People are going to gravitate toward human-focused content no matter what tab it falls under.

Whew, so that’s settled. If you’re not convinced, here’s a somewhat-laborious guide to getting emails filed under the “Primary” tab. Until sustained data shows a drastic effect, and Gmail gains more worldwide popularity beyond the young and tech-savvy, you’re better off concentrating on content and messaging. Got more questions? Leave us a comment...or email me about it!

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