Earlier this year, Gmail decided it would be helpful if the tool cataloged all of your incoming email for you, dividing it into 3 separate categories. The home tab features all of the “important” information from individuals. Social messages on tab two and promotional messages under tab three.
For people who use Gmail to process a lot of email probably love the new system. Businesses who send marketing emails. . . not so much.
Look at this chart from a new report by Sailthru:
What we’re looking at is a comparison of open rates on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 vs 2013. They looked at Gmail and Yahoo mail. On both days, Gmail open rates took a significant dive. 12.8% down on Black Friday over last year. That hurts.
Yahoo showed a significant increase, especially on Cyber Monday, so you can’t blame it on general consumer email ennui. No question here, it’s a Gmail problem.
The New York Times says the situation is worse than it seems because Gmail users tend to be more affluent, so it’s an even bigger loss than it appears on paper.
There is a bright spot in the data:
The other upside is that everyone but Gmail saw an increase in unsubscribe requests over the weekend. This means one of two things. Either Gmail’s email filtering system did the job and kept people from being overwhelmed by too many marketing emails or shoppers didn’t even look at the emails so there was no need to unsub. I’m going with that last one based on my own behavior. After the weekend, I simply clicked the “all” box on Gmail and deleted 50 messages unread.
Note to the people who send me marketing emails: if I really like your brand, I give you my real email. I use my Gmail for junk mail.
I guess that’s what surprised me most about this and the other studies mentioned by the New York Times, that many, many people use Gmail as their primary mailbox. Given that fact, I can see how the new tab system could be putting a damper on email marketing sales.
If you want more data on Black Friday email marketing, Sailthru has it and will give it to you for free.