Articles on: Campaigns

Understand Gmail Tabs


Gmail introduced tabbed inboxes in 2013. Since then, it has delivered messages to tabbed inboxes based on complicated and changing algorithms that consider subscriber engagement, content, as well as sender information.

While these algorithms are not made public, you may be really concerned about how Gmail tab management impacts your marketing strategy as an email marketer.

So, in this guide, you will learn everything you should know about Gmail tabs. Let's explore!

What are Gmail tabs?

Gmail tabs allow you to focus your attention on specific categories of messages in your inbox. They also can be used in order to speed your inbox processing by emphasizing all the messages in a single Gmail tab at one time.

Each tab will show the number of new messages in it. The new Gmail tabs are available in the native Gmail app, and in the Android and iPhone Gmail apps as well.

The list of the default Gmail tabs includes:

- Primary. This is the main tab that contains conversations from friends, family, and business contacts. It also includes any other messages that do not fit into the intended use of the other tabs. It's the first tab that appears when you view your Gmail Inbox. This is typically where the most important and necessary messages end up, and pretty much all email marketers want their messages to land in.

- Social. As suggested by the name, this tab contains messages from social networking sites/ apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. These messages are often notifications of new posts, comments, or reactions that are associated with the recipient's social media profiles.

- Promotions. Any shopaholic will find their discount codes and coupons, special welcome email offers, as well as other marketing messages in this tab. This is where marketing emails tend to land if they don't make it into the Primary tab.

- Updates. This tab contains transactional messages, such as shipping notifications, order confirmations, invoices/ receipts, and assorted "program update" messages. If you share Google Slides, Google Documents, or other collaborative projects with your teammates, this tab will notify you when they have made edits.

- Forums. You can find all of your discussion forum, group, and mailing list notifications here. In addition, Google invitations sent to large groups of friends, employees, and other organizations will be found here.

These tabs help Gmail inboxes be a little less chaotic. This is a good thing because all too often, important and urgent personal or business conversations get hidden in the clutter of promotional emails, order confirmation, invoices, and social media notifications. Gmail tabs give users a way to organize their email clutter into nice, little promotional folders where emails are categorized and waiting for them to read at their leisure, while keeping the most important messages in the Primary tab.

Don't panic about the Promotions tab

Gmail's Promotions tab is considered all fine and great for recipients, but most senders would say that they are not so fine and great. As a business, you want your emails to get to the inbox.

Well, the good news is that if your emails land in any of these tabs, you actually did make it to the inbox.

Gmail tabs are simply the inbox broken down into different categories. And that is a lot better than getting blacklisted. Therefore, before you fret about your messages ending up in the Gmail Promotions folder, just take a minute to celebrate making it to the inbox!

Since emails are categorized, they are not fighting for space with different types of emails. So, when people are in the mood of shopping and looking for deals, they know to go directly to the Promotions tab. That means Gmail users are more likely to open your email at a time when they are interested in that type of message.

It is also important to note that not all of your Gmail users are using tabs. Around 35% of them have this feature disabled. Thus, the Gmail Promotions problem may not be as widespread as you think.

Send emails to the Primary tab

While evidence suggests there's no reason to panic over landing in Promotions, what if you still desire to end up in the Primary tab?

As a matter of fact, there is no proven way to outsmart Gmail's algorithms. The only way to increase your chances of landing in the Primary tab is to maintain a healthy audience. Engaged subscribers are more likely to make changes in their Gmail account to move your messages to the Primary tab.

You can encourage your subscribers to take the following actions:

- Move your emails to their Primary tab. Gmail users themselves can alter the default sorting system by moving a message from one tab to another and having Google always put messages from a specific sender in the tab of their choice. If this is essential to you, try making an appeal to your audience by asking them to drag your messages over to their Primary tab for easy access to your brand messaging.

- Add your From email address to their own Google Contacts. Emails from a recipient's Google Contacts always go to their Primary inbox. In welcome emails, confirmation pages, and campaign content, ask your recipients to add your From email address to their Google Contacts.

In addition, consider the following:

- Personalize, personalize, and personalize. If your emails are personalized, they will automatically be sorted in the Primary tab. Fewer personalized emails tend to land in the Promotions tab.

- Pay attention to your text-to-image ratio. Taking an image-heavy approach to email design can actually impact inbox placement. Spam filters are also suspicious of messages consisting mostly of images.

- Avoid RSS feeds. Some studies show that emails with RSS feeds tend to land in the Promotions tab.

- Avoid overuse of links. When you hyperlink your text, make sure that no links are broken.

Updated on: 09/08/2021

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