Digital Marketing Trends


Will Google’s New Inbox Spell Disaster for Email Marketing?

Google’s New Gmail Inbox

The New Google Inbox has been rolling out this week and promises a way to manage the overflow of emails by sectioning them into 5 groupings: Primary, Social, Promotion, Update, Forum.  Users can drag and drop emails between the groupings as well, and instruct Google to change the way certain types of emails are grouped.   If you don’t see it now, you can check your gear box and enable it, or you can just wait – you’ll get it soon.

Google's new inbox
Google’s New Inbox may spell disaster for email marketing

This is the way the screen looks as I was checking which types of emails would go into each category.  Google does a nice job of showing you examples of each when you click the little “+” on the new navigation menu.

gmails new categories
Google’s new categories automatically post emails like newsletters into the promotions tab

Google’s New Gmail Inbox Rolling Out on Mobile

Today I see that Google is also rolling it out on mobile devices, with apps for the iPhone and Droid available.   Google’s product manager for Gmail, Alex Gawley, told TechCrunch that the motivation for the switch was to help users manage the sometimes overwhelming influx of new emails by adding filters.  While these filters are somewhat customizable, it looks like the architecture is in place to add more customization in the future as well.  The logic is that users can respond to different types of emails all at the same time, rather than one by one as they come into the inbox.

Google's new Gmail on the Android and iPhone
Googles new Gmail on the Android and ipone shows the new categories as well

You can choose to turn off notifications for all but the primary inbox if you desire as well.  Also the default setting for the new feature is to see all your emails in this new way, but you do have the option to turn off each new category as well.


When I started looking at the way emails were funneling into my Gmail today, I see why users may find this a really great way to manage emails, but I also see that it will also cause email marketers a real problem.  Email marketing is a bedrock for both B to B and B to C advertising.  It is one of the cheapest most effective marketing tools to promote specials, news, events, and stay in touch with customers.  The email marketing statistics for 2013 projected that this would continue, with click through rates increasing.  You can see the 2013 email statistics on SmartInsights.  If Gmail places all email blast emails into either the promotions or the updates categories, people will ignore them and look at all of them at one time, lessening the chances for click through and eventual sales.

I’ll keep you posted!