Google's New Promotion Tabs Prove it is all about the Email Address

Google's New Promotion Tabs Prove it is all about the Email Address

"Google’s recent redesign of Gmail has created unprecedented hand-wringing and blog writing. And for good reason. People’s cheese got moved. Hard earned spots in Priority inboxes got lost. But it was the flies in the soup that made everyone give this new place a bad review."

"Google has created a new form of email based advertising that isn’t ‘sent’.  It further proves that email marketing is not about sending email.  It’s about the email address.  The login."

Evolution is a fact of life, both real and digital.

There is no end to change, nor should we ever wish an end for anything we do. For as soon as the change is over, so is everything else. Other than certain immutable laws of physics, we should all expect constant, iterative, disruptive change. Change is the engine of profit.

Most importantly, change is good for our industry. It creates new reasons to innovate around a new set of obstacles. Change creates new opportunities to help clients and it creates new reasons to write blog posts.

Google’s recent redesign of Gmail has created unprecedented hand-wringing and blog writing. And for good reason. People’s cheese got moved. Hard earned spots in Priority inboxes got lost. But it was the flies in the soup that made everyone give this new place a bad review.

Of all the changes that irked people, the non-email email messages promoted by Google earned the most rancor.

Other webmail providers, perhaps caught off-guard by Google’s crafty and brilliant move, reacted by attacking these new Google placed ads within the new ‘promotions’ tab as GSpam, saying that people are being ‘scroogled’, meaning they are being tricked into thinking that messages in their promotions tabs that are from Google are actual, real emails.

Before I defend Google for doing what is clearly within their right – and very innovative – I would like to cast my own vote against spam. Spam sucks. It clogs inboxes. But this is not spam. This is a form of native advertising that Google, a publisher, has placed on their site.

Google has created a new form of email based advertising that isn’t ‘sent’. It further proves that email marketing is not about sending email. It’s about the email address. The login.

This development is iterative. If you take a look at this from a product development perspective, Gmail’s new email advertising product is nothing new for Google, and it’s nothing new for consumers. Gmail’s new promotion-tab-based fauxmails are the email equivalent of ‘sponsored links’ in search. This new product even has the look of a ‘related ad’ characteristic of a sponsored search listing.

Tabbing is also not new. Several years ago, OtherInBox created a tab-based approach to mail filtering that automatically shifted your mail to pre-set tabs based on categories. Priority Inbox also made decisions for you and forced you to vote on your own mail.

As a result of the ‘intent factor’, the Social, Promotions, Offers and Notifications tabs will drive click rates up. Watch. We all know that email is an intent-driven activity. An email open and subsequent click is part of a chain of deliberate user events that makes email very special.

Once your subscribers start getting used to Google’s new approach, your engagement will go up because users will be SEARCHING for your messages. When users search, they click. And when they click, they buy.

Google’s change has created opportunities. It is rewiring our approaches. It will change users’ perceptions of email. And ultimately it should improve the quality of interaction for marketers while improving user experience.

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