Gmail’s New Promotions Tab Changes: Boon or Bane for Email Marketers?

by on March 27, 2014 in Email Marketing
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Gmail has been on an “upset the email apple cart” tear in the last 12 months.

When first announced, Gmail Tabs struck fear into the hearts of email marketers. The way that Gmail set about auto-organizing emails into tabs caused a great deal of uncertainty and worry. Now that the dust has settled, the overall consensus is that good email marketers and brands sending quality messages and practicing email best practices have not experienced many problems with Gmail Tabs.

However, Gmail did it again this week with a new experimental and (for now) very limited change to the promotions tab. Gmail’s new promotions tab changes are pretty dramatic.

Aaron Rothman, Product Manager at Google said this about Gmail’s new promotions tab changes on the Gmail Blog:

Promotional mail has a lot of images, from pictures of snazzy new shoes to photos of that rock-climbing gym you’ve been wanting to try. But right now, those images are buried inside your messages—and with only subject lines to go on, it can be a challenge to quickly pick out the deals and offers that interest you most. To help you find what you’re looking for faster, you can now sign up for a new field trial for Gmail that lets you view the Promotions tab in a more visual way.

Similar to the success of Pinterest, Gmail is bringing large images and new infinite scrolling into the Promotions tab:

gmails new promotions tab changes

The new feature is not rolled out to all accounts and is currently only available in English for addresses (not available on Google Apps accounts yet).


The new Gmail promotions tab change is fantastic for professional email marketers.

The new visually-focused presentation of the promotions tab from a generic subject line driven spreadsheet-like look to the bright, engaging, and colorful graphics based display is a boon for email marketers and consumers. It acknowledges that promotional emails are typically more graphics and html heavy than standard emails from friends and coworkers. And it actually presents them in a much more positive light.

The bottom line is that, just like the previous Gmail changes, these changes to Gmail’s promotions tab are good for email marketers and seem to be good for email consumers.

It seems to give a positive nod to the fact that the vast majority of marketing emails contain images and html and promotes, rather than hides, these positive differences. After all, we spend a great deal of time creating visually appealing email messages that far too often are never seen. With Gmail’s new promotions tab changes the likelihood that your great looking emails will be seen is potentially much higher. The consumer can now see what the emails look like before they open them. When the customer wins, the marketer wins.

An interesting twist to these changes is that the subject lines of marketing emails are now more matched to the appearance of the emails. For the first time the visual appeal of your marketing emails might just be more important than your catchy subject lines.

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