Gmail has recently switched on its new tab based interface. As a general rule – when the leading email provider changes something so signifiant in its interface, it must be somewhat important. On one hand users get a cleaner, marketing free first view of their inbox. On the other hand, and marketers should really be worried about this – users get a cleaner, marketing free, first view of their inbox.
What are the changes in Gmail’s tabbed interface?
First and foremost Gmail changed the stream – like view of incoming email to a tabbed organizer, that seems to organize individual emails pretty well into 5 main categories:
- Primary – usually email from individuals
- Social – emails focused on social media activity
- Promotions – marketing messages from brands you’ve subscribed to
- Updates – usually transactional emails such as internal messages notifications, registration confirmation and others
- Forums – notifications from forums or groups you’ve subscribed to
Of course – as any automated organizer system, Gmail’s tabbed interface may sometimes be wrong. Users can now move incoming emails from one tab to another and “teach” Gmail where to put incoming mail.
Why is the tabbed interface so important to Google and Marketers ?
Google, through its AdWords advertising program and contextual traffic sends much of the qualified traffic to online stores and other online marketers. It is so good at generating qualified traffic that it’s only real competitor so far is email marketing.
As you probably know – Google is all about advertising. Its main revenue source comes from AdWords and as such the “Do no evil” company needs to protect its cash cow.
Splitting the screen will lower email open rate and, in turn , email conversion rates. Soon enough marketers will find that in order to reach their established customer database they will need to improve marketing efforts in order to move their company emails from the dreaded “promotions” tab to “primary” by the incentivized will of their subscribers.
Is the tabbed inbox going to change email marketing?
Probably. What I definitely know is that online retailers will need to adapt to this change or risk cutting off one of their most profitable traffic sources.
Another thing that I find obvious is that this type of interface change will soon be adopted by all major email providers such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail and than we will see the real impact this change had.