With Google’s new Priority Inbox Gmail feature being released to users over the next week or so, the landscape for email marketers just changed.
The cute video Google has put together (see it here), nicely shows the different levels of emails users can receive – spam, marketing emails and emails from friends and family (at around the 50 second point in the video).
The way the algorithms work is based on:
1. How often you read the email
2. How often you reply to the email
3. Manual adjustments using the increase or decrease importance buttons
I am sure there are other factors not disclosed – potentially this might include whether your email address is in the contact list.
This all means that if you want your emails to appear high up in the priority list, you are going to need to deliver content that are consistently worth opening.
This makes the mantra of providing content that is in someway valuable to the recipient more important than before. Sending an email with a bunch of products in it that bears no relevance to what the user wants is likely to result in obscurity.
A couple of keywords to think about to ensure your emails are engaging or worth reading:
1. Valuable – the recipient should feel like it is in his or her interests to open the email – an offer, unique content etc
2. Interesting – if you are delivering content, make sure it is relevant to the recipient. Interesting content that makes the recipient look good if they forward it on is a definite bonus! The recent music video that went viral is illustrative of this – it allows you to place your home street into the music video itself.
One potential side benefit is that we might see a potential decrease in unsubscribes as more emails are just demoted rather than unsubscribed or worse from a deliverability perspective – marked as spam.
Sidenote: Microsoft also released a feature in its Hotmail platform which allows you to see only those emails from people in your address book. This means it is even more important to encourage your recipients to add your email address to their address book.
[update] An interesting conversation on Twitter with @iamelliot led to another point around unsubscribes decreasing – there is a potential negative. Being lost in this new in between world of being de-prioritised and being unsubscribed could lead to a scenario where your email is no longer seen at all and with no way for the sender to know that this is happening.