Gmail’s new Categorical format…

As marketers and business owners you’ve probably noticed that Google has changed the Gmail mail box format and split it into categories. The new format divides emails into 3 maim categories which are previewed in 3 separate tabs: “Primary”; “Social” and “Promotions”… it seems that this minor change can rock the advertising world and affect email marketing as we know it. Nevertheless; the new method has advantages for those who know how to acquire trust amongst their recipients.

The “Primary” tab will include messages sent from miscellaneous email addresses that weren’t otherwise specified. The “Social” tab will include messages sent from social networks such as: Facebook; Twitter; G+; LinkedIn; Pinterest etc. last but not least – the “Promotions” tab will include messages sent from advertisers and brand managers.

Promotion-wise; this changes means that newsletters will be easily spotted for those recipients who registered to receive them and no longer will be lost within a sea of miscellaneous messages. If recipients found the content appealing they will search for it periodically on the designated tab. If they found the content enchanting and want to differentiate it form any other promotion they receive; they can simply do it by sending the newsletter to the primary tab. Upon this action; Google will prompt a message asking if they wish to automatically sent emails from that certain address to “primary” in the future and once they click “yes” your newsletter will be considered as primary.
Email marketing – the best ROI in town

Anyone who uses online marketing as part of their advertising strategy; knows how valuable is each and every single email address and how high is the ROI form email marketing. Sending promotional email messages is one of the cheapest most effective marketing methods. The cost of a newsletter is no more than few cents and the ROI is 39$ for each 1$ invested.

So how will the new format affect email marketing…

Gmail’s new format changes the roles of the game and places email marketing messages one more click away. Customers who so far ignored newsletters will find it easier to ignore and customers who want to read the newsletter will find it a bit harder to reach. According to Comscore Data; about a third of all worldwide surfers are using Gmail as their mail box. That means a third of all newsletters sent will be directed into a tab that either says: “warning – promotional content you don’t have time to read” or “good news – you got another one of those interesting messages you signed up for”.

Business as usual.

One would have expected that the new categorical division will downgrade the advantages of email marketing as sales & loyalty program enhancer; but in fact email marketing’s ROI is so high that even if a 33% decline in newsletters’ opening rates will occur  – marketers will still get excellent results using this medium.

A statement of trust in email marketing
The fact that Google has went through the effort to make email marketing easier to consume says a lot about the rate of relevancy it give to that digital marketing asset.
You could say Google legitimizes email marketing messages by giving them their own spot light. The new format will enable better control of the mailing process for marketers and recipients as well. The only platform that might be negatively affected is Google’s Smartphone app; since on cellular grid; the mail box only previews the “Primary” tab. The assessment is that if Google sticks to the new format; it’ll upgrade the Smartphone app accordingly.

The new format’s advantages
1.    Better exposure – messages placed in the “promotions” tab will get closer attention as recipients will be able to review them when they choose to make time for it. Instead of taking a quick glimpse at email marketing messages as part of the never ending list of miscellaneous mail items; the recipient will scan each tab separately. Therefore – your newsletter will no longer compete over attention in a range where social; friends and family are much more interesting. As of today; your newsletter will only compete amongst its on type (promotions). This new exposure opportunity might be translated into a more responsive approach towards email marketing.

2.    The Relevant survives
– the new division might motivate recipients to re-examine the necessity of each email marketing list they’ve registered for in order to narrow down the number of email marketing messages arriving at their mail box each month. If your brand is considered interesting or entertaining by the recipient he or she will probably favor it in place of other newsletters who didn’t manage to capture them. In such territory – where the competition is conducted between a handful of finalists; the recipients will be more willing to “go the extra click” and read your message.

3. Its flexible and intuitive –
it seems that Google is aware of the fact that we might just not like someone else to divide our mail for us. (How many of your friends and long distance relatives got directed into the promotions tab?). That’s why they made it easy for the surfer to go back to the old format or re-divide the tabs. To do so one simply drags a stray message into the right tab or go to “definitions” > “define incoming mail” to uncheck and deactivate the unnecessary tabs.

4. A “to do” tab – some of the recipients might ignore the promotions tab for a while thinking they’re saving the best for last and they’ll get to it eventually. But watching that little number indicating the unread messages increase will push that button of curiosity or at least arouse the urge for a periodical clean up. In that context; you might want to remind the recipients on some (or all) of the newsletters that your discounts and offers are time limited.

Change is progress
The digital marketing realm is upgrading by the hour… and marketers who know how to make changes work for them are sure to benefit. It is still too soon to tell in which manner the new Gmail format will influence the consumption of email marketing but so far innovative technology hasn’t failed us. The new Gmail box might be a quite friendly one; one that will not make recipients feel like their flooded with content but rather getting no more or less then the content they wanted.

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Gmail’s new Categorical format…
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