Gmail filtering system heightens the need to engage

Email marketers have a lot of things going for them.

Russell Parsons

They have the opportunity to target prospects and customers with low-cost campaigns, in real-time if appropriate, based on solid data sets. They also have the ability to send highly personalised messages based on purchase history.

They also, however, face the sort of challenges that other direct marketers do not. Sensitive SPAM systems that decide on the reader’s behalf that this is not worthy of their time to overcome, for one, standing out from the ever swelling crowd of marketing messages, another.

And now, courtesy of Google, all emails that are sent to Gmail accounts by brands will now be dumped in what some would argue is a SPAM or JUNK bin in all but name.

A couple of weeks ago, Google introduced a three-pronged inbox. Emails are now categorised as Primary – personal emails, newsletters, updates from groups, Social – Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google + updates and Promotions – all marketing emails.

Having observed my own email account in the days since it was introduced, I can attest to its effectiveness, every email I would expect to be categorised as a promotion has been and not one has leaked into the mail classed as primary.

Furthermore, I have not clicked on the promotions tab once since its introduction. Not once. If my behaviour is typical then email marketers have lots to chew over.

By introducing the tab, Google is clearly attempting to improve customer experience. Those irked by the volume of promotional emails they receive will probably be breathing a sigh of relief.

It is not those customers or prospects brands should be losing any sleep over, however. It is the impact on those that were less staunch, that would have occasionally clicked into an email if attracted by the subject line and or brand that marketers should be worried about.

It is difficult to imagine a scenario where open rates will not be hit by the introduction of these filters. The answer is not necessarily to find ways to circumvent the filtering process, however but for brands to find a way to make their emails primary reads.

Brands should probably accept the dip in open rates. Instead they need to redouble efforts to make sure those that do click on the promotions tab are given a reason to read.

It comes back to fundamentals, produce engaging content then people will engage with it, especially if you have fewer eyeballs on it.

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