Will promotions tab reduce click rates?

Is Gmail ‘promotions’ tab really just a demotion for email marketing?

This summer, Google implemented changes to Gmail, stirring worries among many companies about how their business email initiatives would be affected.

The multi-tabbed system introduced includes three sections – “primary,” “social” and “promotions” – effectively screening emails and sending them to the correct locations. For businesses, this spurred many concerns about how successful their online newsletters, updates and discounts could be if they were no longer occupying a place of prominence in recipients’ inboxes​, and instead were relegated to “promotions.”

Small businesses aren’t the only entities that could be hurt by the changes. Nonprofits, which often rely on direct email campaigns to boost funding or collect signatures, would also be funneled into “promotions,” International Business Times explained. Yet will the new tabs really hurt companies’ bottom lines or open rates?

Studies from MailChimp and Constant Contact have only found slight decreases in open rates since the changes went into effect, with the former noting that the percentage of recipients reading marketing messages dropped from 13 percent to 12 percent. However, both firms emphasized that it’s still too soon in the system’s deployment to truly gauge how it will affect the number of people on their targeted email lists reading their communications.

“Don’t overreact to a change like this,” Julie Niehoff, director of field education and development for Constant Contact, told the news source. “This is not the time to change your marketing strategy. It’s too early to tell.”

However, other industry insiders offered an even more pragmatic outlook on the development. Lyris CMO Alex Lustberg told Marketing Land that consumers have always filtered their emails, so the new system isn’t really that different at all. Instead, Google just does the work for them.

A deep understanding of how the “promotions” tab affects business will require at least a year of observation. Until then, the general advice seems to be, “stay calm and keep emailing.”

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