Tackling Gmail’s New Inbox: Online and On the Go

GmailMobileInboxIt’s certainly no secret Gmail’s recently introduced tabbed inbox has caused many companies to take a second look at their email marketing strategies.

If you’re only concerned about the effects of these changes to inboxes viewed on desktop browsers, have you stopped to think about those users who mainly keep their email accounts in their pockets? With the rate of mobile email users increasing, and Google’s Gmail mobile application being no exception to tab changes, there’s even more reason to examine your current email marketing plan. Gmail’s changes may not be as bad as you think when you take the time to understand how the mobile user experiences email. So whether they are on the computer, or buried at the bottom of a bag, your emails still need to be opened, and WhatCounts is here to help!

The key is to evaluate, create a plan of action, and then follow up on mobile.


First, it’s important to remember metrics should drive any change in your strategy, not what’s going on in the industry. Evaluate your own open, click and conversion rates and how they have changed in relation to the new Gmail interface. Some companies have actually seen increases in their engagement based on the new inbox organization. However, in the case that these rates have decreased, you can make changes to your marketing strategy to help with engagement.

Send a Message

One option is to send out a message encouraging users to move your emails from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab. It’s important to explain the instructions for doing this to you users to ensure their execution of the steps. You can also encourage users to star your messages, which will automatically move them to the Primary tab. It’s important to note with this option, the move will only apply to those specific messages, and not to all your company’s future emails.

Mobile Follow Up

Since Gmail’s mobile application is also affected by the new tabbed browsing, it’s important to modify your plan of action to reflect on mobile, as well. First, you should look at your mobile statistics specifically to see if they have been affected by the changes, as this may
differ from metrics for your desktop views. As mentioned before, a notable aspect of mobile email is the fact that users are more likely to receive emails in real time as they come in. This makes the notifications section of Gmail’s mobile application important for your plan of action.

As a default, these settings notify the user only when the Primary tab is populated. So while you’re informing users to assign emails to the Primary tab, it’s also helpful to encourage them to set their notifications to All. This ensures every email draws attention to itself on the user’s phone. Likewise, it’s beneficial to realize the explanation for re-assigning your company’s email to the Primary folder is different on the mobile application.

Providing simple instructions for re-assignment on the mobile application, as well as online, is necessary to catch all of those subscribers who only check their email on the go.

To move emails from one tab to another in the Gmail app on Android mobile devices, open the email and tap the option button on the phone.


Select the “Move to” option, and choose the new tab to which you want to send the email and future emails from that sender.


To move emails from one tab to another in the Gmail app on iOS mobile devices, open the email and tap the arrow in the right hand corner of the screen. Then hit the “Move” folder graphic.


Then, choose the tab to which you want to move the selected email and any emails from that sender in the future.


Check out more delivery best practices by downloading the slides and watching the recording of our recent webinar, Deliver Smarter: Insights on Reaching the Inbox.

Jenna Dundore
Marketing Intern, WhatCounts
Twitter: @jcdundore


More to explore...

September Holiday To-Dos

September Holiday To-Dos

August Has Come and Gone, and We’re Steadily Heading into the Busy Season for Retailers If you haven’t turned your attention to your holiday strategy,

Read More »

Ready to See WhatCounts in Action?