Have You Been Affected By Gmails’ New Format?


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If you are a Gmail user you certainly noticed a change implemented by Google a month ago or so. Basically instead of one inbox now you have three: Primary, Social and Promotions.

Under the perspective of a Gmail user I really like this change. My Primary inbox is much cleaner now, with all the social and promotional stuff going to the other two boxes. Usually I just read the Primary one, and once a week or so I select and delete and the messages on the other two boxes.

And this is exactly the problem for website owners and Internet marketers, particularly those who use email marketing (i.e., who run an email newsletter or list with Aweber, ConstantContact, MailChimp, etc.). Now your emails go to the Promotion box, and if most users are like me there are some good chances they will not open your emails as frequently as they used to, if at all!

I haven’t had time to track the numbers accurately yet, by my guesstimate is that my open rate has been reduced by 30% with this change.

This effect is pretty new though, so there are many questions on the air. Some that make me curious are (and if you have information about them please share a comment below):

  1. Are all email marketing software/companies having their emails going to the Promotion box or only some?
  2. Is there something you can do to get your emails going to the Primary box?
  3. Have any of you guys measured the effect on the open rate or clicks after this change?

I use my newsletter mostly to promote my own projects and to send tips I find interesting to the subscribers, so I am not that worried. There are many people who make a living out of their email lists though, so for those the impact is going to be big.


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10 Responses to “Have You Been Affected By Gmails’ New Format?”

  • Hemanth Malli

    I like the new gmail feature The Primary, Promotions, and social. Earlier my gmail inbox used to be too messy with promotional links. Now it is easier for me. As a normal gmail user this feature is useful but for the email-marketing people its totally annoying.

  • James Sullivan

    I used to use Gmail a lot, but since they changed it, I can’t get to grips with it at all.
    I like to have my e-mails all in one box together without having to keep pressing different tabs.

  • Vidushi Jain

    I feel this change is good for daily and business users. Now we are able to see the important mail without struggling. But it has am impact on the email marketing. I rarely open the social and promotion area.

  • Metz

    As a Gmail user, I’ve noticed and read a lot of articles about its change. The Primary, Promotions, and social. And recently, I’ve encountered a malfunction in opening my email.Well, for me, this new evolution in Gmail is fine but for business people or should I say Marketers, this one sucks.

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the IM social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  • Aqib Shahzad

    I am still using the old interference of Gmail due to the reason that it is better than the new look of Gmail. I read emails on daily basis and found it really comfortable.

  • DailyBestStuff


    My conversion rate, of weekly newsletters were worse than ever… I guess this “new gmail” is one of the main reason for it…

  • AJ Tyne

    I understand the reasoning, but I hate the new email. In fact, I hate pretty much all the recent changes to email that Google has done. I was trying to get my mother used to gmail so she could start to use a chromebook — she won’t go near anything google related now because it confuses her too much (she’s 76 and pretty savvy, but still 76). They have basically hidden nearly everything. You don’t even know where to look for something as simple as “reply to.” I get used to it, and when you do find the reply button, your reply pops up in a little window on the side, which I find uncomfortable and awkward. I know I can pop it out, but I don’t like to do that either — it’s still not “normal.”
    Now this three inbox thing makes it harder for me to see the things I need to see. I understand it’s supposed to make it easier, but Google needs to understand I am extremely busy and have severe ADHD. I forget about my other two boxes! I WANTED those so-callled promotional emails or I would not have signed up for them. Who is G to decide what is promotional and social for me? On the other hand, I don’t lose track of social info that I didn’t have time for earlier in the week — it’s easier to find. But I don’t see the headlines that would remind me of why I signed up for things like Daily Blog Tips. Out of sight, out of mind.
    Google should stop tinkering with gmail – for the last year or more it seems like every other month there’s a new change. It doesn’t help enough to put us through all the changes. It’s not as if somehow magically we will sigh collectively and realize this is just what we always needed and wanted. Nope. It’s just a new reason every couple of months to have to find the reply button or the save, or whatever.
    To answer your questions:
    1. Pretty much ALL were going into the promotional inbox, even things I had signed up for and interacted with. Lately I notice some are back in my regular inbox (or maybe they never left it and I just didn’t notice because of the initial shell shock.) Daily Blog Tips does show up in my primary inbox — which is how I got your email about this topic. A few others also land in the primary inbox. Most do not.
    2. Yes, you can change it. Just drag and drop emails into whichever box you prefer and they should continue to come into the new box you dragged them to.
    3. No I haven’t, but I imagine that it has hurt a lot of email marketers and newsletters.

  • Denise Hisey

    I Do Not like the new format from Gmail. I miss many emails that seem to be wrongly directed. It would be nice if once you drag an email from promotional to primary they’d remember you want that person’s email to always be in primary. Alas, that does not seem to be the case.

    If I wasn’t so entrenched w/several gmail accounts I would definitely consider switching to someone else.

    I’ve been on a bit of a blog hiatus so can’t really address how much it’s affected my readership. When I get back in the swing of things, I’ll have a better idea.

  • Marta

    Experian Cross Channel Marketing release a preliminary study at the beginning of August showing some promising results in opens from Gmail tabs. It might seem counterintuitive, but it also might be justified by the fact that customers now know where to find promotional emails that they are interested in. You can find reslts here

  • Arbaz Khan

    The impact is surely going to be a lot big as almost all the emails selling something or promoting any product ends up in the promotions tab.

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