Do you skim over those sales and marketing emails in the Gmail Promotions tab? Hey, I’m guilty of doing the same, so don’t feel judged. However, a dive into the inner workings of this tab has made me rethink my efforts to avoid its seemingly chaotic cluster of spam emails.

“Whoa! Spam? Don’t even get me started!”

Dont Get Me Started on Gmail Promo Tabs

What is the Promotions Tab, Anyway?

You’re right, Jeannie Darcy—the Gmail Promotions Tab isn’t merely spam, even if it looks like it at first glance. Rather, the promo tab stores a collection of emails that have been automatically filtered away from your primary inbox, allowing you to better focus on messages that may be timely or important.

I know—I’ve confused you. To clarify, emails in the promo tab are actually still in your inbox, just separated by a “tag” to make it easier for you to decipher the “must-read” messages from the “maybe-read” messages. If you were to remove the tab altogether (instructions here), those messages would begin showing up in your inbox alongside the dozens of emails from Mom.

Simply put, think of this tab (or any tab) as a way of auto-organizing your Gmail inbox. If only the USPS would do the same for those unsolicited credit card offers, am I right?

Promo Tab Not Spam

All About the Pretty Data

Google has been automatically segmenting these emails for about 4 years now. As a reader, you’re not likely to notice or want many of these emails, which is why you may consider them to be spammy.

But data suggests that emails in the promotion tab see higher open rates, decreased spam complaints, and increased deliverability. In fact, 93% of commercial messages sent through the promotion tab are delivered, as opposed to the 77% rate seen in primary inboxes.

Promo Tab Data

However, metrics aren’t everything when it comes to marketing your brand via email campaigns. Messages delivered to the primary inbox are more likely to be seen in general, even if there’s a higher chance that they’ll be marked as spam by a curmudgeonly recipient.

Why? Gmail’s delivery settings are designed to push notifications when messages hit your primary inbox, but emails in the promotion tab are silently delivered. And, as you know firsthand, most people (about 2 in 3 users) aren’t checking their promotional tab.

How Your Business Eblasts Can Avoid the Promotion Tab

Although there’s no surefire way to guarantee your company’s emails make it past the promo tab filters, the best solution is to produce unique and valuable content that your subscribers and readers will want to read. Don’t fall for clickbait headlines, heavy amounts of HTML, “FREE” deals, or any of that other nonsense. Google (and its users) are onto those tactics.

Other ideas on how to skip the filter include:

  • Ask subscribers and customers to add you to their contact list.
  • Ask readers to also drag emails into their primary inbox, as future messages are more likely to land there.
  • Keep your image-to-text ratio under 20:80. You want more text than images, essentially.
  • Avoid including too many external links. While this tactic is usually good for SEO, external links in an email can be viewed as spammy.
  • Personalized messages including the customer’s name and other collected information have a 75% higher open rate. (Just don’t go overboard, creep.)
  • Ensure your “reply to” and “from” email addresses are the same.
  • Don’t send emails out at a ridiculous pace. Minimize sends to once or twice a month, or whenever the season or market dictates.

Tired of having your emails hit the promo tab pipeline? At Opportunity Max, we’ve helped our clients achieve great success with their email campaigns. Our Lead Response and Digital Promotions products include thorough anti-spam testing and mail client customization to minimize the risk of sales eblasts falling through the cracks.

Give us a ring-a-ling to see if we’re a good fit for your business!


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