What’s the Read Rate for Emails in Gmail’s Promotions Tab?

February 2, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Digital | Email | Financial Services | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op | Real Estate | Retail & E-Commerce

Email messages tagged as Promotions have a relatively high inbox placement rate of 84.5%, reports Return Path in an analysis [download page] of more than 6 billion messages sent to Gmail users between October 20 and 27, 2016. That was only slightly behind messages tagged as Social (87.2%) and Updates (86.8%), with those lacking a classification struggling to reach inboxes with a placement rate of 55.5%.

Subscriber engagement was lowest for emails tagged as Promotions, though. The read rate of 19.2% for Promotions emails was well behind the leading tab, Updates (28%), though more in line with other tabes such as Social (22.4%) and Forums (21.1%).

Return Path notes that the rates are based on the activity of all Gmail users regardless of whether or not they have tabs enabled, as Gmail automatically classifies all incoming emails.

An accompanying Google Consumer Survey fielded by Return Path found that two-thirds of Gmail users currently use tabs to sort their email, and that around 9 in 10 believe that Gmail is accurately sorting them. (Of course, that means that close to 1 in 10 feel that Gmail doesn’t sort emails correctly.)

The analysis of emails sent to Gmail users found that more than two-thirds (68.4%) of all incoming messages are classified as Promotions, with Updates (transactional emails such as receipts and shipping notifications) accounting for another 22.1%.

The share of messages classified as Promotions is especially heavy in the Pets, Sporting Goods, Deals & Rewards and Apparel categories, and it exceeded 85% in several industries.

Some industries were more heavily weighted to Updates, including Banking & Finance, Business Services, Distribution & Manufacturing, Insurance, and Real Estate.

A Litmus analysis of more than 13 billion opens collected worldwide last year found that Gmail was the second-leading email client in December 2016 (20%), increasing its market share from 16% in January.


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