Gmail Promotions tab was threatening for all of us for the first sight. We felt that our well crafted messages will end up in a secondary – deserted – inbox and will never be read. But Gmail users made a great use of the new tabbed inbox. The tabs helped them to classify and prioritize their messages. Thankfully it didn’t mean that promotional messages will never be read and exactly the opposite happened.
source: Return Path
It was not a good idea to convince people to allow marketing emails to get to their primary inbox, since many of those emails ended up/marked as spam or were simply never read. That’s simply not the right place for you message to show up. I’m a heavy Gmail user, and I hate personally when my primary inbox gets infected with a marketing email. It’s pure distractions and annoys me like hell. I’ll have to either move the message manually to the promotions tab or mark it as spam. Sometimes (let’s say in 30% of the cases) it just feels easier and more honest to mark an invader email as spam.
So I’m not surprised that many industries get higher read rates in the promotions tab than in the primary inbox. Why? Because simply that’s the right place for your message in a Gmail inbox. People will read your email when they have time and thankfully will never be distracted.
There’s a fierce competition for subscribers nowadays. Since all promotional messages are read after each other (at least in Gmail), it’s easy to compare them head to head. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to create quality content with memorable email design.