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New Gmail interface affecting delivery of promotional emails

September 6, 2013

For many businesses, email blasts are a major component of their marketing strategy.

For many businesses, email blasts are a major component of their marketing strategy. However, recent changes made to the Gmail interface are affecting the way readers consume these messages, as well as how often they check for them.

Managers everywhere rely on emails to drive customers directly to their products and online credit card processing terminals, but the recent changes – which separate personal, social media, and brand-related email messages into different tabs – mean that many customers likely won’t see promotional emails until long after they’ve been sent. Approximately 46 percent of Gmail users reported that they only check their promotional email tab once per week, according to a report from StrongView, indicating that entrepreneurs who rely on time-sensitive emails to direct customers toward their small business online credit card processing terminals may need to alter their strategy.

“Youth typically lead the general population in adapting to changes in technology, and the rollout of Gmail Tabs is no exception,” said Shawn Myers, vice president of marketing at Strongview. “As the younger demographic changes how they interact with incoming messages, they provide insight into how most consumers will eventually interact with email marketing content going forward. Marketers need to take these changes into consideration when planning their campaigns, not just for Gmail users, but also for all consumers as their behaviors change across email platforms and other media.”

Customers in different demographics interact with promotional emails differently. Approximately 58 percent of users aged 25 to 34 check their promotional tab less than once a week, as opposed to 46 percent of the general population, according to the report. However, these emails are still getting through to customers, even as they read them less often: 100 percent of users aged 18 to 24 noted that the new interface hadn’t caused them to “lose” any of their branded emails, as did 87 percent of the total population.

Another recent study illustrated the need for businesses to optimize their email offerings. In a poll tracking customer satisfaction, the CFI Group found that customers are “far more likely” to engage with associates in a meaningful fashion if they can select the manner by which they communicate – such as via email. It also noted that millenials prefer passive communication, making clear the need for e-commerce retailers to focus on emails that do not require time-sensitive responses. 

“Understanding what drives customers back to the store is critical to a retailer’s business performance,” said Sheri Petras, the CEO of CFI Group. 

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