Blog Post

Targeting Your Gmail Users

It wasn’t that long ago that Google made the change over to their new tabbed inbox. There were originally a few concerns voiced by marketers who thought that these changes would affect their open rates and in turn ROI. So how do things look four months down the line? Have these fears been justified?

Initial research by Return Path showed that in the week after the introduction there was actually an increase of emails read by users who already had high engagement levels with the brand.

And there’s good news for senders with averagely engaged and unengaged users too – although the open rates of commercial messages sent to these recipients dropped, there was actually an increase in the volume of mail being delivered to their inbox, as opposed to the SPAM folder. This means that every time they decide to dip into the Promotions tab your recipients will see your brand. Therefore they are more likely to have you in the forefront of their mind when they do decide to make a purchase.

It’s also worth remembering that the change to a tabbed inbox will only effect recipients who open their messages using a desktop application or webmail. Mobile users, which account for some 44% of Gmail opens, will still receive your emails in the normal way.

Still worried? Although there is little you can do to stop your emails from going into the promotions tab, several clever companies have taken the direct approach and asked their users to move their emails into their Primary tab. This is an easy yet effective way to encourage your recipient to place your mailings into their inbox, enabling them to be easily seen without the need for any extra clicks.

Below you can see the way Kate Spade Saturday, Mr Porter and Groupon have achieved this using eye catching design. All of the creatives offer instructions for the recipients, detailing how they can move their emails into the Primary tab and the benefits this will bring them.


To give this a go yourself all you need to do is segment your data to leave you with a list exclusively comprised of Gmail users. This should be really easy to do in most ESPs, and in Variant4 the only commands that you will need to base your segment upon are ‘contains @gmail’ and ‘contains @googlemail’. You’ll also need to design a creative specifically for those Gmail users to receive – something eye catching and informative, letting your recipients know how and why they should move your mailings to the Priority tab. And finally, don’t forget a snappy subject line to encourage opens!


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