It’s highly unlikely that you missed seeing the tabs GMail added to your inbox recently. Promotions, updates and social mail get automatically sorted and sent to specific folders accessible through tabs.
This is one feature launch that’s been pretty effective and widely applauded! Most users have found them intuitive to use, accurate and hence instantly useful.
Not unsurprisingly, it has also set the filter cat amongst the marketing pigeons!
Why? Because marketers don’t like their mails getting filtered out of your Inbox.
And there’s dozens upon dozens of them – from the outright spammers who promise to keep your sex life abuzz to badly targeted matrimonial marketing to daily deals and other e-commerce allures and even useful, informational newsletters that you signed up for – they’re all vying for your attention.
Marketers are seriously worried you’ll let it lie in the new folders and never get to their content, and now have an easy way to select and delete all of them at one go.
True that. Cannot disagree with the theory of that scenario.
Except, I’m reading, or opening or at the very least glancing through a lot many more newsletters, e-commerce mails these days! I noticed my own unexpected behaviour and tried understanding why this was happening. Here’s what I jotted down from a deliberate observation:
The Inbox is less cluttered, and email overall feels less overpowering and anxiety inducing.
The trust in the new filters is way higher than in the spam filters. Also, we pay a smaller price for Google’s classification errors when they do happen.
I tended to “go check out” the various tabs at leisure, when I had a few minutes available for them.
I was marking fewer mails as spam!
What was undeniable was that the mails already were less of a psychological irritant than they used to be earlier. Many were from sources and services I’d subscribed to, one way or the other, and whether or not they felt spammy at a given point in time depended as much on my state of mind and Inbox as on the content itself. (When I happened to be looking to replace my phone – I actually found the same information useful!) What GMail’s new tabs did was to reduce the irritation levels in dealing with the same mail a LOT!
So I now give the various tabs a varying, but finite amount of time and attention (the one from the fora I’m a member on obviously get more), and end up at least skimming through the subject lines, if nothing else. Overall, there might be fewer random, accidental opens (so yes, those metrics might take a hit – but they weren’t the best proxy for useful marketing anyway!), but the engagement and intent will certainly be of a much higher quality. Oh wait – there might already be early indications of that!
I’d say marketers might just have not only no reason to not fear this change, but should actually thank Google for it!