Gmail Tabs: Don't Worry, You Will Survive (and Thrive).

NOTE: This blog originally appeared on When Gmail first announced its 'Tabs' feature, it seems the email marketing world quickly moved into worry mode. Numerous "how to survive"-type articles were written, while dozens of other articles wondered if Tabs would kill email marketing.

Once a larger rollout happened on July 22nd, folks found themselves scrambling to figure out what had happened. What were the results?

As it turns out, not much.

The dust has settled a bit now, and these past two weeks saw a variety of articles written (like this onethis one and this one saying what amounts to better-worded equivalent of "Dudes. Chill."

Not sure if email marketing dead

It's still very early to determine the overall impact of the feature, as it's only been a few months since Gmail Tabs came into our world and not all users have fully adopted them yet. For the data geeks out there, however, some initial research does exist in a recent study by Return Path. Here's a nifty chart from that research:

Return Path Research

In response to Gmail Tabs, some marketers have begun sending emails to customers educating them on the Gmail changes and asking those customers to move messages to the Primary Tab instead of Promotions Tab. While this might be a way to ensure more visibility of those messages, I'm not convinced that strategy should become a focus.

As Epsilon's Shannon Aronson and Dino Michetti point out in their blog post about Tabbed Inboxes, these changes are an opportunity to refocus on the quality of the emails being sent. Standing out in the new Promotions Tab (and maybe eventually getting moved to the Primary Tab) means focusing on strong subject lines and offering customers relevant, useful, interesting & engaging content. Personalization and customization become a must.

In response to the panic (or "panic") surrounding Gmail Tabs, we're launching a series beginning in September called "[INSPIRED]: Email Marketing at Its Best." In it, we'll provide a variety of tips, tricks, how-tos and resources on how to win at email marketing. The content will range from back-to-the-basics to more in-depth. We'll also include examples of those who have done it well.

Now, if you are planning on sending an email to your customer base informing them about Gmail Tabs, we've started a Gmail Tabs gallery on the Email Institute Pinterest page with samples of companies who have done it so far. Enjoy.