Gmail Tabs: Marketers Ask Their Subscribers to Take Action

Last week's Gmail Tabs Analysis report surely came as a relief to many email marketers since initial numbers do not show a big drop in response rates. But some marketers aren't taking any chances. We've noticed several brands sending emails to their Gmail subscribers asking them to move the company's messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab and taking action to ensure they are delivered there going forward.

Gilt has tried two different approaches. First they sent a campaign where an animated GIF at the top of the campaign addresses how to find Gilt emails and how to make sure future messages are delivered to the Primary tab. First one image displayed for 3-4 seconds, then the next one.  

Gilt Gmail email

Gilt Gmail animated GIFs

In addition, they also sent this dedicated campaign that walks the subscriber through the three steps for ensuring future messages go into the Primary tab. The subject line was “Gmail Users: Never Miss a Must Have Steal! “

Gilt dedicated Gmail email

Below is an example from Life After Bankruptcy. A bit sinister in look and tone (the subject line was “I’m about to disappear from your life…), this one gives the recipient three options: how to remove tabs altogether, how to make Life After Bankruptcy emails go into the Primary tab or in the P.S. (wait for it…) just switch to Yahoo or Hotmail! 

Bankruptcy Gmail email

Finally, we have a more concise approach from men’s retailer Mr Porter. The subject line was “Gmail users: don’t miss out.”

Mr Porter Gmail email

Is this the right move for your company? It's probably not necessary since at the moment it seems that engaged users are still interacting with messages in the Promotions and Social tabs. However, it's still too early to measure long-term habits. We also don't know yet whether these types of campaigns have any positive impact – do subscribers move the messages and if they do, does it help or hurt? I've been thinking through possible negative side effects. For example, perhaps these campaigns could cause a spike in complaints. Or future messages may irritate subscribers who find they don't like seeing them amongst all of their personal email. Users could end up reporting the messages as spam instead of moving them back to the Promotions tab. Please feel free to post your pros and cons here.


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