Gmail’s new inbox makes it harder to reach your readers

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Gmail LogoIt’s happened again. . .Google, in this case with its Gmail email reader, has changed things up and they’ve done it automatically.

While they claim they’re changes “put you back in control”, reality is the user has to take action/initiative to change what Google/Gmail has alredy decided for them.

No, “do you want this new format” question, the new format, with all of Google’s decisions about the content of those emails is in place the moment a user opens her inbox.  Note that not everyone is seeing this yet as it’s currently being rolled out.

We discussed that email service providers were starting to deliver emails based on reader engagement, this is another refinement of that strategy.

Gmail now has “tabs” and Google/Gmail decide which emails go under which tabs:

  • Primary
  • Social
  • Promotional — defined as “deals, offers and other marketing emails”
  • Updates — defined as “personal, auto-generated emails” (frequent emails who don’t use a “pretty” template can end up here)
  • Forums

Your newsletters show up under the “Promotional” tab, just like the latest Harry & David offer, restaurant coupons, etc.  There’s no distinction between the valuable content in your communications and the “free appetizer” that Longhorn Steakhouse sends.

What Gmail’s inbox change means for you

  1. You need to have such a great relationship with your readers who use Gmail that they either need to consciously move you from the “Promotional” tab to the “Primary” tab or
  2. they need to consciously go to the “Promotional” tab to search for your communications, never knowing exactly when you’ll be sending and having to weed through every other promotional offer out there — your newsletter and Viagra are now in the same category.  They can choose to eliminate the tabs altogether, but most won’t.

And with their “Social” tab, your readers can access social media comments, updates within Gmail, including responding to them without ever going to Facebook.  That’s more of your communications that they may miss, unless you give them a reason not to.

Is it all bad?

No, absolutely not.  If your readers regularly engage with your email communications (meaning they open it, click through, reply, etc.), those same communications will end up under their “Primary” tab rather than their “Promotional” tab.  Remember — engagement is rewarded as discussed in this earlier article.

Here’s a video from Google explaining their new inbox:



Gmail is one of the most used email readers.  In order to ensure your content is read, you must give your community a reason to tweak/change the system Google and Gmail has set up for them — otherwise Google decides where your emails fall.

Have you given them that reason?  Or are you keeping company with Viagra?


If not, or you’re not sure, check out the upcoming trainings on Engagement and Nurturing Sequences — they’re the perfect mix of strategy and how-to, at an investment level that makes them an easy “must have”, especially in light of the above and we’ll be covering exactly what to do to actually reach your readers.