Not even a year ago Google launched its revolutionary new way to organize the Gmail inbox. Google claimed that the new inbox puts the users back in control. And this is exactly what happened. Online marketers worst fear was proven to be right as email open rates declined after the new functionality was made publicly available. And yet again Google is taking a further step and introducing a more visual way to look at your Promotion tab.
It looks like this in my inbox:
The new outlook is something that users haven’t really seen before in their inboxes. It resembles what you would actually expect in a regular offline postbox when you get any promotional materials. Images, catchy headlines and instant information at a glance. Google believes that the grid view option will help users to filter the promotional emails easily based on the images that the email might contain.
But will your message automatically look okay on the grid? Have a look on the above screenshot and you can right away see that two of the three emails looks okay. However the email from Air New Zealand (which should appear on the Primary tab..) doesn’t contain any images and is not formatted well enough to provide an outstanding user experience. Thus senders should definitely consider looking into the provided Google Developers Site to learn about how to specify the image and subject line that should appear in the grid view. A little time invested into the proper setup of promotional emails could result in higher open rates if the user (for some reason) ends up in the Promotion tab.
This new functionality is in trial phase and currently only available on request. It’s worth a look, especially if you are in the business of email marketing. Having the correct formatting might add some further todos to your responsive email design but this is something you should pay attention since Gmail has the 4th biggest market share amongst email clients on the market.
The grid view is definitely in favor of online marketers but the questions remains: how to convince your subscriber to open the Promotions tab? If you successfully manage that, you might win more open rates with the new Promotions tab.