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New Study Shows GMAIL Tabs Don’t Hurt

In the roughly four months since Google rolled out their tabbed inbox there has been a lot of talk about its effect on marketers.  At first, most marketers were extremely worried that having the promotions tab receiving all their emails would decimate the effectiveness of email marketing.  While it has been a learning curve for some, the end result seems to be that there wasn’t really much negative impact at all. In fact, having marketing email go to a promotions tab actually provides some benefits that most people didn’t expect.

A new study from Return Path, which looked at three million users gmail inbox accounts (with their permission of course) found that there was only a very slight change in the user engagement since the change.  The report states that, “Almost no commercial mail is reaching the “primary” tab, but instead of ignoring marketing messages, Gmail users are actively searching for them and reading them at almost the same rates at which they did before tabs.”

In addition, the tabs seem to be working just the way gMail had hoped.  With 90% of all promotional email messages being delivered to the ‘promotions’ tab, 9% being delivered to the social tab and just .3% going to the primary inbox.  The report found that messages going to the promotions tab are getting a 14% read rate, which is not significantly different than the read rate prior to tabs.  Those that do make it into the primary tab are getting a 24% read rate, however, they are also being marked as spam twice as often.

One big beneft that many marketers did not account for seems to be that with marketing emails going into the promotions tab, people can easily ignore them until they are ready to read them.  Rather than having them clutter up their main inbox, they are hidden away until the customer has the time and energy to look through them.  This seems to be a significant benefit for the customer, as well as for the marketer.

This report does not specifically say anything about the click through rate, or what affect the changes may have had on the purchase rate of marketing email, but it seems like there may be some benefits.  If customers are only reading their marketing email when they are actually interested in it, they are much more likely to take the time to click through on links and even make a purchase.  Of course, there hasn’t been any released study on that so far.

What has your experience been with the tabbed inbox from gMail?  Please share your experiences in the comments below.

You can read the full report from Return Path HERE.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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