Recent Gmail inbox changes and what they mean for you

Read about Gmail inbox changes.

Google is switching things up again.

This time it’s in the inbox with many Gmail inbox changes such as email snoozing, confidential mode, nudging and a new unsubscribe feature. While these changes aren’t available to everyone just yet, the global rollout began April 25.

Different than past rollouts, these changes go only to subscribers who are invited to opt in, rather than all Gmail users.

Jacob Bank, lead product manager for Gmail, said Google’s redesign was done with an eye on “making people safer and more productive.” This sounds like a good thing, but how does this all play out in inboxes for email marketers?

Let’s take a look at two of the new features – snoozing and the new unsubscribe – that email marketers may be able to use to their benefit.

Gmail inbox change: snoozing

Google has integrated email snoozing directly into Gmail. As you place your cursor above each message in your inbox, you’re presented with a hover menu showcasing the most common options you may want to make with an email: archive, delete, mark as read, or snooze for later.

When you snooze an email, Gmail gives you the option to resurface it later in the day, tomorrow, later this week, on the weekend or next week.

For people who like a clean inbox, this is a great feature to use to keep your inbox tidy, while still having the knowledge that an important email needing your attention later will show back up in your inbox when you want it to.

At a quick glance, it may seem as if snoozing is a Gmail inbox change that could hurt open and click rates shortly after a send. However, it might prove to be beneficial for marketers for the following reasons:

  • Without the snooze feature, the subscriber only has the options to read, ignore, archive, delete, unsubscribe or click SPAM
  • The snooze feature gives the subscriber the option to save your email for later when they have time to focus on it instead of ignoring it, deleting it, or having it get lost in their inbox
  • As subscribers begin to use this feature, email marketers may notice their email engagement metrics are distributed more throughout the week after sending rather than within the first 24-48 hours after the send
  • Email marketers who have time-sensitive sales need to be sure they’re clearly stating the time constraint (possibly in the subject line) so subscribers who receive the time-sensitive email take that into account when choosing the snooze option

Gmail inbox change: new unsubscribe feature

Gmail’s new unsubscribe feature asks consumers if they want to unsubscribe from mailing lists to which they have not responded in a month. They are provided two choices: “Unsubscribe” and “No thanks”

However, this feature only seems to work on emails Google is able to flag as promotions, so people will still need to keep an eye on their inboxes.

This new Gmail inbox change may present some challenges for email marketers who already struggle with low open rates and/or engagement in the inbox. To help combat that, marketers should employ the following best practices to help stand out in the inbox:

  • Perform subject line a/b testing whenever possible
  • Switch up the time of day or day of the week that emails are being sent to see if certain timeframes or days perform better from an open rate perspective than other times/days
  • Provide fresh, different content from email to email so things don’t get stale and folks become unengaged
  • Test out animated or interactive features to encourage folks to engage with your emails
  • Video has been proven to boost engagement with email. Incorporate video whenever it makes sense

What are your thoughts on the new Gmail inbox changes being rolled out?

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