Email Marketing: 40% of Our Gmail Users Don’t Have the Promotions Tab On

Google has not released the number of email users in Gmail but it’s estimated that from a global population of 3.3 billion, there are nearly 2 billion active email accounts; and with 1 trillion emails sent on an annual basis, this means that every day more than one trillion emails are delivered to inboxes around the globe– which is quite unbelievable! On average, Americans receive roughly 50-150 promotional messages per week.

The “how do i stop emails from going to promotions in gmail” is a question that comes up often. 40% of our Gmail users don’t have the Promotions tab on.

You’ll understand if you work in email marketing as well.

Since the debut of their new version of Gmail with distinct tabs for social networking, updates, and — the most-debated among email marketers — the promotions tab, Google has been giving me a hard time. That was back in May 2013, and we all hoped that the new feature wouldn’t be quite so appealing.

Then, in October of 2014, came our second setback in less than a year: Google Inbox.

Google didn’t seem to be backing down from its aspirations to organize emails using tabs, as its new Inbox took them to a whole new level.

Gmail: Grief’s Five Stages

You’ll see why I’m not exaggerating: we include double-checks for read receipts for Gmail users alone at This implies that one of my key jobs is to interact with a 200,000-strong Gmail database, but our most essential communications will increasingly go to Google’s email users — and hence to their new Gmail tabs rather than their primary inboxes.

I first rejected it. I secretly hoped that this would be the next Google Wave or Google Buzz. By then, most of the items I read on the new promotions page had done the same.

Then I became enraged. I was certain that Google was taking away its consumers’ capacity to choose which emails were essential to them, with all the subjectivity that entails.

It didn’t take me long to start negotiating. So we understood what was going on, I sent tweets and emails to everyone who might indirectly get to someone who knew what Google’s goal was. Can we anticipate further adjustments in the future? What can we do to be ready for them? All I received was a lot of the same speculations that my colleagues and I were already debating.

Finally, despair set in. When we saw the numbers on it, it struck us really hard. The open rate had been affected, according to MailChimp, when the promotions option was turned on. We conducted a poll in October and discovered that about 60% of our European users (again, all Gmail users) had their promotions tab enabled.

Acceptance, on the other hand, was unavoidable. I recommend that you come there as soon as possible. In November, we decided to conduct another poll, this time on Google Inbox, and that’s when we realized we needed to adjust our email marketing strategy:

  • Gmail users in Europe are still cautious about Inbox, according to MailTrack, although roughly 80% of them were previously aware of the new function.
  • The vast majority (80%) in this category had tried or wanted to try Inbox.
  • A third of those who were aware of it believed it was a Gmail replacement.

When extrapolating these figures, keep in mind that we’re talking about MailTrack users in Europe who all use Gmail. Although the best suggestion is to account for this bias when interpreting the data, they can provide some insight into what could be going on outside of our startup.

You’ve obviously seen the positive aspect of our discovery: we have time to adjust. At least in our experience, 40% of our European Gmail customers don’t have tabs and get our messages on their main tab. In addition, 70% of people who tested Inbox did not believe it could replace Gmail (which is also Google’s official view on the two programs’ relationship).

Nonetheless, it’s evident that Google is working hard to expand the usage of these tabs. And, although no one can tell for sure that this is how we’ll use our email applications in the future, you don’t want to dismiss Google’s ideas. For example, Inbox is now only accessible by invitation, but once it is made public, a lot will happen.

So, what are your options?

First and foremost, do not be alarmed. If you’re an email marketer, you’re already accustomed to dealing with a channel that only reaches around 20% of your target audience. When your open rate exceeds 30, 35 percent, I’m sure you’re overjoyed.

The first thing to understand is that although the promotional tab makes planning and executing our email correspondence more difficult, it does not drastically alter your task. Many Gmail users seem to still favor the conventional mailbox over algorithm-driven inboxes. What you’ll need to do is come up with ways to accommodate individuals who prefer Google’s new email service as well.

The second thing I’d encourage you to do, like we did at our company, is to see how this news impacts your situation precisely. With your clients, do quantitative and qualitative research. Make an effort to learn how they use Gmail, what they think of these new alternatives, and how they could modify (or not) their attitudes about them.

If our approach to this area may help you reconsider yours, these are the options we’re considering or implementing at

  • We recategorized people based on their behaviour, and we tightened up on the volume and kind of messages each person gets. As a result, our emails got more relevant to each profile, and the association between emails sent and click-through rate increased.

We ensured that MailTrackers would associate our brand with important information by creating segmented ads. In some ways, Google’s moves lead us to believe that our email readership will decline in the long term. If this is the case, we must compensate by better segmenting our database and ensuring that messages are even more relevant to the perhaps fewer users we will contact.

  • We’re debating whether we should send certain emails without using email marketing tools – Amanda Gagnon made a solid case on AWeber’s blog for how the promotion tabs may really be good news for our promotional messages. However, this led us to believe that, at times, the most essential thing for us is to reach out to our consumers with a really significant message, rather than promoting ourselves.

We intend to contact them via their main mailbox by sending a basic email to them without employing an email marketing platform in this scenario. The primary issue is, of course, how to assess the solution’s efficacy.

We’ve come up with three different ways to evaluate this strategy:

  • We could split our userbase and send one message to thousands of people over multiple days using io, which is an email tracking service for single emails (unlike MailChimp, which delivers bulk campaigns). If you utilize Google Apps for Work as we do, you’ll be able to send and receive up to 2,000 emails every day. The disadvantage is that although our extension can identify opens, it cannot do so per email address. Even so, it would be a means to confirm the number of opens logged by a single email.
  • We could use a URL builder to highlight the link and monitor the amount of clicks on Analytics in circumstances when we wished to add a link. CTR is what we’d be looking for here, although it’s still preferable to have one signal than none. And it’s a metric we can compare to ordinary email marketing campaigns done via software.
  • Even if we sent the email with or without an image or link tracker, we could choose a sample of the recipients and ask them directly via surveys and interviews whether they prefer to receive plain-text messages in their main inbox alongside more essential, non-promotional communications.

I recommend that you put our and your ideas about this new issue posed by Google’s recent email app developments to the test. And I’d be grateful if you could share some of your thoughts and opinions about them here.

The “gmail categories not working” is a problem that has been present for a while. 40% of our Gmail users don’t have the promotions tab on, which means they will miss out on important emails.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why dont I have a Promotions tab in Gmail?

A: You do have a Promotions tab in Gmail. But it is not visible by default because the company that created G-mail has decided to hide features from new users for their own marketing purposes.

How do I enable Promotions tab in Gmail?

A: In order to enable Promotions tab, you will need to open the settings for your account. You can find this by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of Gmail and selecting Settings. Here, look for an option labeled Promotions. If it is not there already, select it from under General or Privacy options.

Where did Promotions go in Gmail?

A: Promotions was renamed to Promotions & Updates in Gmail.

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