Say hello to Gmail’s new promotions tab and goodbye to email marketing software such as Aweber or Get Response.
In an effort to combat fear among email marketers, in a recent post Aweber recently told marketers to just relax . But, there will likely be no relaxing among one of the largest online marketing communities – Email marketers.
The bottom line is, if you use email marketing software such as Aweber or Get Response your emails will likely end up in the promotions tab on GMAIL. But is that really how Gmail is filtering emails? No one really knows what is sending them to the promotions tab, but we know it has changed the way we will do business with email marketing.
Many have argued that this wont make a big change among open rates and click rates but we recently did our own research and found out that this change is in fact a DRASTIC one.
Preliminary results show that people are treating the promotions tab just like they treat their junk folder tab. In other words they may open the tab, but if they do, it is likely after 4 – 7 days of messages piling up in there, then they browse through the list quickly and see if anything strikes them as critical then select all messages and hit the delete button.
Aweber argues that people will want to read your messages and will go the extra step to move your messages into their inbox. They have not provided any evidence to suggest this and in fact the only real evidence we see is in our own statistics.
We recently did a test on one of our lists containing around 4500 subscribers. Of that list we had a staggering 35% of our subscribers who use GMAIL. We did not target gmail users when creating the list it just worked out that way.
1st Finding – Slow open Rates
The test showed very slow open rates compared to our messages prior to the changes. Meaning the opens were spread out over 7 – 14 days as opposed to before where they would mostly occur in the first 1 – 2 days. So it is clear people are not actively watching for messages that don’t come directly to the inbox.
2nd Finding – Lower open Rates
The rates were lower overall. We will continue to monitor over the coming weeks, but they are low enough to suggest we may need to look at other solutions.
Aweber provides the following quote in their post with regard to knowing the real impact:
But as Silverpop’s Loren McDonald notes, “It will likely take 12 to 18 months before we can truly understand the impact.”
In our opinion we can “truly understand the impact” after just one 1 follow-up message. Now we need to measure the impact over a few weeks maybe a month and perhaps find another solution.
So What is The Solution?
Well we are not going to try and pretend we know the solution.
This is still a fairly new change many people are still trying to figure out how Google actually filters messages.
If history is any indication of what will happen next, then this is not just going to stop at Google. It likely won’t be long before Hotmail and Yahoo and other big players follow suit if they haven’t already.
Some suggest that the email headers are where the filter begins, some suggest it is the content in the message or a combination of both, and some suggest that we need to go to a server based email marketing system like Interspire.
One thing for sure that we know is, if our messages continue to go into the promotions tab the number of sales will drop as they have already. On that note, we will continue to monitor our stats and at the same time examine other solutions like Interspire or other server based platforms.
What do you think? Please post your comments below.