This summer, we are observing a number of updates coming out of Google. First came the Google’s new productivity tool named Google Keep, and then came out some massive search algorithm changes through the Google Panda updates. Only a few days ago, the newest version of Android (version 4.3) along with a revamped Play Store, has been launched. However, there was one update that brought serious concerns for email marketing entities. Starting last month, Google began rolling out a new self sorting tab-based Gmail for both desktop and Smartphone users. Marketing pundits have considered this new face of Gmail to be ushering in the slow downfall of email marketing: at least for the 1/3 market that Gmail represents.
What’s in The New Gmail?
This is not the first time Google has tried to bring out changes in its emailing service. Making inboxes uncluttered and organized has been the main reason businesses and individuals turned towards Gmail. Almost a year back we saw “Priority Inbox” that could automatically identify the important emails and bring them to the top. Having low adaptation rate, the new tab-based inbox is coming to your Gmail as default.
Under the new inbox, emails and notifications can be categorized into 5 tabs namely Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. Individual messages and conversations land into Primary tab keeping all other marketing emails and notification into other tabs.
(Image Source: Google Blog)
The Impact on Email Marketing:
The separation of marketing emails from the rest of the mails is seen as a serious blow to marketing companies. Email marketing is considered as highly economical especially for small and medium businesses. Now they have to wait for the user to click on promotions tab where their email will be in amalgamation with all the other emails giving discounts or pitching sales. Chances are the user might delete your email without even looking at it, let alone opening and reading it.
In my personal experience, built over the last 15 days of using the new Gmail interface, I checked the promotions tab only twice; that too when I had a few extra minutes to read the email titles and delete those that I felt were unnecessary (read: spam).
However, Google has a sort of selfish answer to this issue. It has started giving out targeted ads on the top of the inbox that look like emails. This means Google has plans to grow its revenues over the remains of email marketing.
New Gmail interface on Android
Source: Google Blog
The Future of Email Marketing:
Now, with your email in the same den as the rest of the companies (read: competition), the slightest chance of your email getting the targeted users’ attention is through the title. The title needs to stand out amongst the rest, prompting users to click on it.
It is highly probable that slowly and gradually email marketing will come to a personal level too i.e. you will need to have a direct connection with your potential and current customers that is based on more than just promotional and automated emails. Before things get out of the hand, marketers need to explore new resources for conveying their message. In-app advertisements, notifications and push messages can be a great alternative for marketers to convey their message across the board.
We, at Gaditek, have been working on email marketing for a long time. After recent changes in Gmail, we can say for sure that email-based marketing will never be the same. The course of future might require the companies to quickly adapt to the changes, or they might lag behind. Stay tuned, as we are keeping a close eye on the changing ‘return on investment’ or ROI for email marketing through Gmail.