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Gmail tabs … good for marketers?

It appears to be Google’s turn as the subject of most of my blog posts these days.
Consumerist had a post up today talking about the new Gmail tabs. Interestingly enough, they’re quoting an Ad Age article that says the new tabs are not hurting engagement.

Early results are surprising. Response rates have actually gone up or stayed the same for most companies. Mega-marketer Epsilon notes that slightly fewer Gmail users are opening e-mails in the first place, but the same number of people are actually clicking through and buying stuff.

One thing I’ve found interesting is how much effort many companies are putting into emails to get users to move mail from the “promotions” tab to the “primary” tab. I’ve been recommending for years that companies enlist their recipients to improve their delivery. And many, many of these marketers have resisted asking users to take any steps that might help delivery, including asking users to click this is not spam or add to address book. Yet, now, marketers are creating entire campaigns to get users to move to the “primary” tab.
Marketers enlisting users to improve email delivery may be the first sign of a shift in the sender / recipient relationship. Instead of recipients being seen as passive, marketers are seeing them as partners. No longer are recipients just targets, but they’re actual participants in the merchant / customer relationship.
Alternatively, marketers are just panicking about a change outside of their control and are doing anything to try and stop that change. However, the data seem to suggest that this may not be a bad change at all. Not all change is bad.

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