New Gmail Tabs Still Reach Engaged Users

Email marketers: The sky hasn’t fallen with the new Gmail tab rollout.

Earlier this month, we answered some common questions and concerns about Gmail tabs that were fully rolled out in late July. And while it’s still early, ReturnPath found that these tabs actually allow highly engaged users to read more emails because Gmail makes it easier for these users to shop within their inbox. Those who routinely checked their marketing messages are still continuing to do so and read slightly more of these messages (approx. 60%).

However, those users who didn’t routinely engage with marketing messages prior to the rollout are reading fewer of these emails. One week after the tabs rolled out, these unengaged users went from reading 2% of marketing emails to around 0.4%.  The best part about these stats shows that your promotional emails are stilling reaching those who will be more receptive to your messages. Since engaged users have to navigate to a separate tab, it’s likely they will be more ready to shop than those who are randomly finding your marketing within their regular inbox.

Since it is still a new feature and these numbers are likely to change once users begin to get into a habit of checking their Gmail tabs, you might want to know ways you can avoid having a Gmail problem:


  • Check to see if you have a large percentage of low-engaged users. The biggest drop in engagement has come from the 1% of users considered low-engaged users. If you had a highly engaged database prior to this rollout, you could actually see an improvement in engagement.
  • Monitor Gmail by itself. Benchmark and compare, then monitor and learn.
  • Optimize for mobile: Most mobile usage is not affected by Gmail tabs. Be ready to capitalize on mobile opens with optimized messages.
  • Realize it’s still early. We are all still learning and will continue to evaluate. Know that each program and sender will be affected differently.

About Stephen Epple

Leave a Reply