Should You Worry About the Promotions Tab in Gmail?

I’ve seen a lot of fuss about the new Promotions tab in Gmail. I started hearing about it before I saw the tabs in my own account, but once I got it, I could see why people were concerned. Emails you send to your subscribers may be banished to the Promotions tab, and who knows if your readers will actually check there? That’s a huge problem to consider.

These new tabs aren’t sorting my emails nearly as much as I have sorted mine already. I use filters extensively, so the one thing this is doing is showing me a few holes I missed or just haven’t gotten around to yet. Sorting emails is a huge help, but yes, it does mean certain types of emails are looked at only rarely.

There are, of course, many things you can do within your own Gmail inbox to handle this situation. You can turn the Promotions tab off by clicking the gear icon at the top right and selecting “Configure Inbox” then unchecking the box for the Promotions tab.

You can also drag emails in your Promotions tab into the Primary tab, and future emails from that source should go there. I’ve heard starring the email may also work.

None of this, of course, solves the problem for you in other people’s Gmail inboxes. You don’t have any control over that. But you can ask your subscribers for help. Given that Mail Chimp found that the Promotions tab drops open rates by 7%, this is something worth paying attention to. This is very early data, of course, but I suspect the percentage will get worse as time goes on. I could be wrong, but I think people may learn to ignore what’s behind that tab over time.

Mention on your subscription page that your emails will be more visible to Gmail users if they move them to the Primary tab. You may also want to note this in the emails you send, so that current subscribers start doing this. It’s just an inbox at a time, but that’s the only way you can really handle something like this.

I don’t believe there are any ways you can sneak your emails into the Primary tab by default, although I’m sure there are people looking for ways. The one way that works is to get subscribers to do it for you. If you can get your subscribers to do this, think about the huge positive. You got them to take an action to ensure the best possible chance that they will see and read your emails. That’s huge. They’re that interested in what you have to say to them.