Gmail New Changes Affecting Direct Marketing

Google Gmail has launched a new feature called “Priority Inbox“. It is very useful to users but is a new challenge for those who are dedicated to direct marketing through email. The new Inbox for Gmail priorities serves to categorize and sort all mail automatically goes to our account. Not enabled by default, but it is offered as an option next to our name in the top right of the application.

There are many videos online that clearly show how it works in a highly visual and entertaining way. Basically, once activated there is no need to do anything: the system works alone and independently, and users can also learn over time. What it does is sort all incoming mail automatically, showing what the system considers as important in a top group, the “highlights” in another (they are marked with stars), and the rest in a smaller group important called “Everything else”. Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 12.14.26 AM

As you may see, now the default input tray is not “Received”, but “Priority “. The criteria used for sorting are many and varied. Gmail does not disclose these criteria, but they have shown some of them:

  • Who sends the email (i.e. if you get a lot of emails from John and answer, it is most likely that his emails are important).
  • What words and expressions are found in each email (if you always read messages about soccer, with terms on this subject have higher priority )
  • Other actions you do on the mail that they consider important: when you mark with a star, reply, archive, delete (account negatively). According to them, when a user archives a message without reading it, this means it is less important than one with a star brand after reading it, but that depends on the use you make of the stars.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives us a good idea about how it works. We can instruct the system to better fit our tastes and interests by some indications, saying that a particular email is important and one is not. For this we have two new buttons in the top bar of the list box.  Some tactics have the effect of making it irrelevant to Gmail.

In effect, this is the exactly same kind of technique, traditionally used to combat spam and train the hated spam filters (based on conditional probability). Also, as a side effect with this, Google has more information about our interests and can better target advertising. On the other hand, Microsoft through its Windows Live mail service Hotmail has long been said to be working on something similar.

Is this affecting email marketing?

This feature is still in Beta and as it is enabled by default many users still do not have it. However over time, Gmail email accounts will have this feature or similar in operation. What about email marketing? How to avoid bad consequences? The challenge is not only to reach the user’s inbox but to ensure that the mail is of relevance to the recipient. This is exactly what should matter now. The most important thing in email marketing is to provide value to our communication received. Actually any type of direct marketing is important, but in the case of email it is even the possibility of being automatically filtered as spam. But now that this effect is accentuated by the new technologies of automatic mail sorting, it is necessary to think ahead and innovate.

To ensure success, repeat the mantra: “The lack of activity is no longer a neutral metric”. From now on, we need to get some sort of reaction from the most recipients. People don’t want pure spam. Make it happen! In addition, remember to consider the below points:

  • Add value in your communications. Do not just send a simple offer to everyone. Try to segment your audience and offer something that is of interest.
  • Analyze the activity of mass emails. If there are some that have never pressed on a link or give “acknowledgment” to email reading, it is best to remove them from the list. It sounds harsh, yet, it is better reach fewer but potential clients.
  • Be more careful than ever with shipping periods. If you usually send a newsletter once a month do not send anything out, unless it is really important. Your recipients will not expect it and can put it down or delete it directly. We must find the balance point and, depending on your audience estimate what is the best rate for shipping.

Although all indicates something that should be considered and carried out, with these new features, it is possible to give automatic prioritization of large mail providers. Some believe that the so-called deliverability problem is magnified. Yet, a lot can be done to avoid issues. We must focus on new email marketing practices.

All in all, the change aims to organize and segment the growing body of e-mails of the most various topics and levels of significance that users receive daily. Thus, the new Gmail new tabs in which, using an algorithm, it directs incoming messages depending on their category. The main criticisms of users and analysts revolve around errors generated by the algorithm in the distribution of some mails in the drastic change (to which we must devote significant time to understand) and the promotions tab showing on form of mails, commercials often not required by the user.

As stated, an email sent by a friend or colleague, will go to the main tab, will Facebook notices, requests mentions on Twitter and LinkedIn or Google+ and other social networks come to the social tab. All mails relating to appointments, meetings, subscriptions to newsletters, notifications or updates appear on another tab.

Wrapping it up, the most controversial debate is linked to promotions. There are various services to which the user can be subscribed as hotel reservations and tickets and discount coupons, deployed advertisements, in many cases required by the user. It is necessary to educate the algorithm. Plus, users can modify the order of the tabs, remove any or hide from the settings panel located top right.

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