Place Emails in Primary Tab in Gmail

Gmail includes a feature called inbox tabs, which uses different tabs to organize your mail into categories. Tabs are available on both desktop and mobile versions of Gmail, although some users choose to disable them.

This new organization may cause your newsletters to end up on the Promotions tab, rather than in the Primary mailbox. While we have a blog post that outlines the change and the effects it can have on your sending, we'll share some tips we've learned to help ensure your email is delivered to the Primary tab.

About the Promotions Tab

Gmail’s Promotions tab contains marketing emails and promotional offers. When Gmail introduced inbox tabs, many marketers worried that subscribers would overlook mail in the Promotions tab.

Fortunately, studies show that people use the Promotions tab. According to ReturnPath’s study of 3 million Gmail users, the tabs improved deliverability, increased open rates, and decreased spam complaints.

Meanwhile, Gmail’s inbox organization won’t affect all your Gmail subscribers. Inbox tabs are optional for Gmail users, so many people disable them.

Get Future Messages in the Primary Tab

Gmail delivers messages to tabbed inboxes based on complex, dynamic algorithms that consider subscriber engagement, content, and sender information. Messages from Email Service Providers (ESPs), like MailChimp, often have a higher chance of being delivered to the Promotions tab.

If you prefer that future messages go to the Primary tab, there are three things to do.

  1. Keep your subscribers engaged and maintain high open and click rates.
  2. Ask subscribers to add your From email address to their Gmail contacts list.
  3. Ask subscribers to move your messages to the Primary inbox. This is the most effective way to teach Gmail to deliver future messages to the Primary tab.

Place email in Primary tab

The best way to ensure your emails appear in the Primary tab is to ask your subscribers to manually set this up in their Gmail account. There are three different ways your subscribers can ensure that an email will show in a specific tab.

Drag and Drop

The easiest way to move an email in your inbox is to left-click and hold on the email to drag it from the Promotions tab over to the Primary tab.

Drag and drop email

Release the mouse to drop the email into the newly selected tab. Once dropped, Gmail displays a yellow box that asks if you want to make this change permanent. Click Yes to ensure that all messages with the same From email address appear in the Primary tab going forward.

Mark as permanent


Similar to the drag-and-drop option, right-click on the email in some browsers to bring up a small list of options. Click the Move to tab option and select the tab you want to move the email to.

Move to tab

A yellow box will display that asks if you want to make this change permanent. Click Yes to ensure that all messages with the same From email address will appear in the Primary tab going forward.

Mark as permanent

Search and Filter

Search for the From email address in Gmail. When the results populate, click the small grey arrow to the right of the search bar to bring up the advanced search criteria. Click the Create a filter with this search link at the bottom of the results.

Advanced search

Near the bottom of the advanced filter window, you'll see a Categorize as section with a drop-down menu where you can select the tab you want. Once you've created the filter, all the emails from that address that are currently in your inbox will be moved to the Primary tab. Any new emails from this address will be delivered directly to the Primary tab.

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