What the New Gmail Tabs Mean for Your Promotional Emails

by Emily Thousand Second Street

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Gmail has begun to roll out changes to their customers’ inboxes. Instead of funneling all emails into one main inbox, inboxes are now divided into up to 5 tabs and Gmail automatically sorts incoming emails by type.


There has been concern among marketers that all promotional emails – including deal offers, contest reminders, and any other updates sent to your promotional list – will wind up buried deep in the Promotions tab. While it’s worth taking some time to reconsider your email marketing strategy in light of the new inbox division, it really isn’t bad news.

First of all, remember that this inbox change affects only a small percentage of your audience. Only those using the web-based gmail.com interface or the Gmail mobile app on Android or iOS devices will be affected. Those using other email software such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, or the default Mail app on the iPhone will not see any change.

Furthermore, even those people who are affected by the change, will have the ability to customize which messages are sent to which tab. This means that they have the capability to move your messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab, either on an individual basis or permanently.

The major takeaway here?

If your emails provide value, your audience will continue to read them.

That said, it’s still a good idea to send a message to your subscribers – ideally, only your Gmail subscribers – explaining the change and showing them how to move your email from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab.

To move messages from one tab to another, all people need to do is click on the message they would like to move and drag it up to the tab of their choice. Once the message has been released, a message like the one below will appear at the top of the inbox:


To apply the change to all future messages from the same email address, all people need to do is click the “Yes” button.

While it’s very easy to move messages between tabs, it’s worth reiterating that the absolute most important thing to keep in mind when sending email messages is that everything you send should provide value for your audience.

Think of it this way: if people were anticipating and reading your messages before, the new tab system won’t stop them. It will just help them keep their inbox better organized.