Gmail inbox“The new inbox organizes email into five optional tabs: primary, social, promotions, updates and forums. These categories make it easy to read messages of the same type all at once, and keep track of your mail.” – Google


Google has done what each of us has always wanted to do, have had the capability to do, but haven’t done on our own: Automate personal inbox organization.  Emphasize personal; the office inbox is rarely as colorful as the advertisement repository’s we know at home.

So what?  I can create folders and auto sort based on any number of eerily detailed rules in Outlook…  Where is the Google in all of this?


They did the work for us and they did it right

Gmail handles enough emails to know the most common categories, so they take care of this much sorting for us out of the gate:

  • Primary – Personal communications
  • Social – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & the like
  • Promotions – Daily deals, shopping
  • Updates – Transactional, bank statements
  • Forums – Message boards, blogs & such

They learn from their mistakes

Just like the search algorithm, Google pays attention to users’ interactions for constant optimization.  Drag and drop reorganization helps Gmail better understand your preferences.


What does this mean for marketers?

Two things stand out initially as important notes for marketers to consider:

Gmail two tabs

Promotions Tab

This view means game on for marketers – no more scanning through the noise for messages from friends and family.  This inbox space becomes incrementally more valuable as users have demonstrated at least some desire to shop, a small but key micro-conversion.  From there, it’s up to increasingly enticing subject line + pre-header combinations to win undivided attention.  On the other hand, the additional click is a small, but key barrier to entry that means the promotions tab may become easily deferrable in a time-crunch.

Updates Tab

Among other things, transactional emails live in the updates category.  Transactional emails can easily account for 25% of email revenue at 10% of total send volume (and cost) depending on the industry.  If you haven’t optimized your transactional emails from the plain-text, receipt-style ways of the past, add this to the list of reasons to make the leap.  Play your cards right and subscribers may even look forward to opening your transactional emails.  Great transactional emails anticipate questions & problems by offering common answers & solutions; excellent transactional emails anticipate and uncover wants & needs with intelligent, personalized content, products & promotions.

Gmail’s share

Gmail has reached the tipping point and is now recognized as the leading webmail platform.  This new inbox of theirs applies to the mobile app too, so expect adoption rate to be widespread.

Gmail's share of worldwide and US email

Credit: Gigaom

We’ll be watching KPIs by domain closely in the coming months to see what changes ensue on the Gmail front.  We hope you’ll do the same and tell us what you saw in the comments section below.

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