Gmail’s recent changes – image displays & tabbed inbox

gmail-conversion-testingGmail has made some news of late, first as it unveiled a new tabbed inbox and now as it has changed how images are displayed for its users.

Let’s start with their most recent change: Images setting

Previously, someone using Gmail to read their email would be asked if they wanted images for that email to be displayed. Now those images will just load automatically. Instead of pictures loading from the senders’ servers, they’ll now be loading from Google’s. This is a nice convenience for Gmail users, but worrisome for email marketers. This TechCrunch blog cites a Google spokesperson who said marketers who track open rates through images will still be able to do so. They suggested that the data might be more accurate now since open rates will count users who read the emails but don’t load the images. What won’t get tracked, however, is other user data like users’ IP address. Knowing an IP address important for geo-targeting messages and sending tailored content.

Another change is the potential to track multiple opens by subscriber. But, as MailChimp pointed out in its blog, this change may allow for better tracking of unique opens, which is given greater importance by most folks than total opens.

Source: Official Gmail Blog

An update on Gmail’s tabbed inbox

Since it was unveiled earlier this year, marketers have been tracking the effect of this new inbox on their open rates. In this blog post on Marketing Land, a Gmail product manager suggested that focusing on open rates might not be the best idea for email marketers. Gmail users were sharing positive feedback for the new format because it allowed them to better process their incoming email. This more efficient approach of having all promotional messages grouped together could mean that when recipients do open their emails, they might be transacting more rather than dismissing emails.

If open rates are your bag, this blog post from MailChimp says rates are in fact lower for Gmail users post-rollout of the tabbed inbox.

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