Gmail is often the toughest environment for senders to achieve consistent inbox placement. Why? Because Gmail is on the cutting edge of the industry, constantly striving to improve their filtering process to give their users the best possible experience.
Every mailbox provider has a proprietary set of criteria they use in their filtering algorithm. Those criteria typically include factors like sending history, volume, complaints, and spam traps. Gmail is different because they incorporate additional information into their process—data that comes directly from user behavior. We learned over a year ago that Gmail, and some other providers, are gleaning engagement data from the various inbox activities their users conduct as indicators of preference. Since then, we have seen the influence of engagement data from subscriber behaviors/preference grow. A year ago, engagement was something to be aware of, as it may impact your delivery rate. Today, engagement needs to be a critical part of your strategy in order to successfully—and consistently—make it to the Gmail inbox.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps marketers can take to improve Gmail delivery:
Gmail will continue to evolve their filtering algorithm. This isn’t going to be a one-and-done process, but something we’ll need to collectively monitor and tweak to optimize. Remember, Gmail’s goal is to provide the best experience to their end users. It’s not about your latest news or hottest offer—it’s about your subscribers. Staying abreast of their expectations, needs, and engagement with your brand—then adjusting your email strategy accordingly—is the key to success.