If you have noticed a drastic dip in Gmail open rates, this is for you.

May 8, 2018

Have you noticed a sudden dip in Gmail click/ open rates? Don’t worry, you are not alone. And, hopefully, it’s not going to last forever.

At Caspar Technologies, closely monitoring the email performance of our campaigns is part of our brand DNA. We live and breathe email and are proud to say we know it like the back of our hands. Our decade-old experience with email marketing empowers us to spot changes early on.

In the history of email marketing, there have been several reported instances of dip in open and click rates. However, from 22nd April 2018, our email team has documented a very drastic dip in Gmail open rates.

One of our own time-tested strategies to account for the changes in email delivery was by modifying the multi-part HTML to a single image and then tweaking the codes to make sure it landed in the primary tab. This approach was not a sure shot method as Gmail had never officially recommended or declared that these mailers would land into the primary tab. Essentially, this provided an opportunity for smart marketers to deploy intelligent strategies to find a home for their mailers in the primary tab and bingo, it more or less worked till the fateful 22nd of April, 2018.

Come 22nd of April, things took a different turn, or, should we say, a difficult turn.

We started noticing some unusual trends with Gmail.

Most of all, we found it difficult to place the mailers in the primary folder. But that wasn’t the end of it. This email which missed the bus to the primary folder, didn’t reach the spam folder either. Even non-modified emails which were earlier placed in the primary tab started landing in the promotions folder.

We were aware of some of these Gmail updates from forums and e-marketing networks, but it wasn’t officially declared. While we were left wondering, on April 25th, Gmail officially announced that there was a massive revamp. Now, this is good news. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel. There is clarity now to what was happening.

So, this is what they said: The new revamp is focused on security and efficiency. We now have an all-new Gmail, with a fresh look, and intelligent applications of Google’s AI.

We are told these uber new features would take Gmail security a few notches higher than the older version.

Along with the addition of new features, it’s now evident that email filtering was subject to several changes, which explains the sudden dip in Gmail open rates, the disappearance of several promotional emails and whatnot.

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We are equally excited and worried about the possibility of Gmail re-classifying the promotional mailers into two i.e. top promotion and other promotions. However, as of today, as we are publishing this blog, it’s not officially declared by Gmail. Currently, all Gmail users are not seeing this division over the promotion tab.

This new announcement from Gmail certainly throws light on the new trend of dip in email open rates. However, it also throws open a pandora’s box- of new challenges. As most of us are aware, email placement in the primary inbox is decided based on Gmail’s algorithms. Having said that, we should say this is now a global challenge for all email marketers and possibly, an opportunity for us to put our thinking hats on.

Among several strategies that we can think about, optimizing the mailer base is a no-brainer. It would help maintain our domain reputation based on the metrics which we are getting right now.

There’s more.

We understand that among several top-notch features, AI would prompt users to unsubscribe from emails if it meets certain criteria. That puts the onus on email marketers and businesses to add value to every email that they send, making sure the user looks forward to receiving it, and possibly, take action on it.

With these new features, users can even scan emails without opening them. So, what’s in it for email marketers and brands reaching out to customers via email? To up the ante with respect to quality of the emails, to entice the receiver with engaging content, and, to create differentiation in terms of design and value.

Gmail has upped the game with respect to email efficiency. The question is: Are we ready to take on this challenge? Are we poised to engage users with content and design in tune with the times and take email user engagement higher and higher?

With these new features, Gmail is trying to make promotional emails more relevant, urgent and fun for its users. What is your take on it?

We welcome your thoughts.

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    1 comment

  • Anna Minu May 9, 2018
    Reply

    Engagement is key. Email marketing is poised to take on bigger challenges in design, relevance and content in addition to these technological changes or shall we say, disruptions. With GDPR coming into effect, in the European markets, emails would reach only customers who have opted for it. Which means, it would reach only an intentional user’s inbox. In this case, the user is clearly looking for a piece of information, or is willing to be engaged at a content/design/knowledge level. So, would that make it more challenging for marketers, or does that make it easy?

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