The desktop version of Gmail includes a feature called inbox tabs. This feature uses different tabs to organize your mail into categories.
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, inbox tabs don’t affect all Gmail users. Some users view your campaigns on mobile devices, which do not display tabs, and some desktop users may have tabs disabled.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When using the Search and Filter option, we'd also recommend checking the box for Never send it to Spam, as this will help to ensure better deliverability of your emails.
Use the Which Gmail Tab? tool from Litmus to test content and preview where Gmail will deliver your message.
If you have access to a developer, custom DKIM may help messages arrive in Gmail’s Primary tab.