Gmail tabbed inboxSince the introduction of Google’s controversial ‘tabbed inbox’ earlier this year, marketers have been concerned that their emails would stop reaching users’ primary inbox. The tabbed system groups emails into specific lists based on their perceived content. One of those lists is called ‘Promotions’.

A recent report by Return Path has revealed that a massive 90% of commercial emails end up in the Promotions tab, with only 0.3% ending up in the Primary inbox. However, this appears to have had little impact on the user, as it transpires that people are actively searching their Gmail accounts for marketing messages; the read rates for such emails are almost identical to what they were before the introduction of tabs.

Many experts had forecast a decline in email marketing following the introduction of Google’s new inbox sorting system, fearing most other webmail providers would follow suit and consequently lead to a far wider shunning of promotional emails. However, while the other providers such as Yahoo! and are yet to go to the lengths Gmail has, Return Path’s findings have proved these fears to be entirely misplaced. Read rates on the whole have been unaffected with some industries  actually seeing an increase in the lead up to Christmas.

A common tactic among marketers has been to try and encourage subscribers to move their emails to the Primary tab, thus ensuring future mailings end up there. Unfortunately, this seems to have had little impact: just 0.1% of users responded to these requests. However, with such positive read rates taking place in the Promotions tab, there’s little doubting that email marketing messages are best left there!