In 2013, Gmail rolled out a new "tabbed" inbox layout that automatically sorts incoming email into one of three tabs: Primary, Social, and Promotions. Some customers have asked if this new layout will affect their open and click rates, and want to know what they can do to prevent their emails from being sorted into the Promotions tab.
The good news is that a recent large-scale study of 3 million Gmail users found that the Promotions tab did not hurt open rates at all. In fact, the new tabbed inbox resulted in higher open rates, better deliverability, and reduced spam complaints. It should also be mentioned that many Gmail users in fact do not use the tabbed inbox (they use the traditional layout), so the impact of the new layout is less than what you might imagine.
There is no guaranteed way to "outsmart" Gmail's filtering when it comes to the Primary/Social/Promotions tabs. Gmail does not give the sender any power over which tab the email will be filtered in to. It does, however, allow the recipient to choose which senders should be routed to the Primary tab.
You can tell your recipients that if they would like your emails to appear in the Primary tab, they should do one (or both) of the following steps in Gmail:
- Add your "From" email address to their Gmail Contacts list, or
- Move one of your emails from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab
If your recipients do this, then future emails from you will appear in the Primary tab.