How the new Gmail Promotions Tab changes Email Marketing

A notion of the past was sending promotional mail straight to your trash or junk mail. Today a copious amount of promotional mail is sent to email addresses, and people don’t always have the time to scroll down through all the mail they have received that day. The message gets lost and people move on to a more relevant email.

To get a reader’s attention the subject line needs to be intriguing or attention grabbing, and this is what email marketers spend their time working on. But this is all about to change… as Gmail has launched their New Gmail Promotions Tab. Following a similar suit to Pinterest and Tumblr, it is all about the image selling the product.

However this feature is not available to all Gmail users as of yet. The idea is that users can select what view they would like their messages displayed in, either as a grid view – which shows the images, or as a list view – which shows just the subject lines.

To take part in the field trial of this new promotions tab all you have to do is sign up at If selected you can utilize this new grid view, which will allow you to quickly skim through all upcoming deals.

So what does this mean for email marketers?

They will now have to keep both display options in mind. Aaron Rothman, product manager of the new Gmail promotions email marketing, explains that the main purpose of this product is to “to help you find what you’re looking for released an article suggesting that this new promotional tab will change the face of email marketing all together. For most marketing departments in companies, it means they no longer have to think of catchy subject lines to attract the customer, the images can speak for themselves.

According to Skip Fidura from BusinesstoCommunity, there are some technical requirements, for example the images displayed have to be 580x400px. This is not a very large image and is of a similar content style to most social media sites. The campaigns will be shaped around mobile optimization, with the thumbnails being the primary engaging factor to draw the customer in. The head of the creative studio at Businesstocommunity, Ger Ashby says this will be a “fantastic opportunity to maximise a brand’s inbox appeal”.

The new trial will have the brand’s company logo attached to every campaign featured. They will have to have their company profile picture from Google+ attached to the image itself. From the company’s perspective, this means they have to have their company registered on Google+ before they will be allowed to send out email marketing that will be compatible with the new promotional tab.

Wondering what sparked this development?

In 2013 changes were made to the layout of all Gmail users’ to display different tabs: primary, promotional and social. Users were able to select and deselect tabs they wanted in their inboxes. Google implemented this organization of emails, not to limit the amount of commercial email, but to allow users to organize and prioritize their email. They wanted the consumer to be able to choose what they wanted to see.

According to Tim Watson from, the purpose of the promotions tab is to allow the consumer to purposefully go “windowshopping”; in other words they want the consumer to choose to browse. Groupon is an example of a company that effectively gets consumers to do this. The consumer reading a Groupon mailer is given the choice to go onto the company’s website and engage with upcoming deals if they want to.

The promotions tab on Gmail is very similar in this regard, as it “puts you back in control”. From a company’s perspective, Watson says you need to look at this new promotional tab strategically: for example how many Gmail users do you have on your database? According to research from Return Path, the problem is that 90% of promotional mail goes straight to the promotional tab and not to the primary tab. The consumers then have to make the decision to go to the promotions tab and browse through the emails themselves. This is where the new Gmail promotions tab comes into play.

The new visual campaign strategy for the tab allows marketers to get their product out there more easily. It will make the consumer desire the product.

How to prepare your email marketing for the New Gmail Promotions Tab

The image will be displayed in grid view as previously discussed and will only allow a sender name of up to 20 characters, and up to 75 characters for the subject line. The outcome will be something like this: new gmail promotions tab As simple as it might sound from the view of the consumer, it really will be changing how email marketing operates, if it takes off. Although this is just a trial and marketers and consumers shouldn’t get too excited just yet, companies are preparing themselves for this move and the ones already part of the trial are tracking their performance.

However, consumers should be encouraged to sign up for the trial so that Gmail can observe the growing curiosity with the new promotional tab. It’s a click away, so try it out for yourself and let us know if you think this new promotional tab will be something of an upcoming trend in email marketing.