The Gmail Promotion Tab Update

Gmail Promotion Tab Update

Marketing Executive

I create content, publications and adverts for Wired Plus.  When I’m not writing, reading or blogging I enjoy road running.


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Our eagle eyed marketers don’t miss anything.  This week, the Gmail Promotion tab caught our eye.  Something had changed.

What Is The Promotion Tab?

Gmail is a free email provider from Google that boasts an impressive 1.2 billion users worldwide.

Gmail inboxes are split into three main sections:  Primary, Social and Promotion.  The Primary tab contains all the main personal communications that are received whilst the Social tab includes emails referring to any type of social media.

The Promotions tab was created in 2013 as a way to bring order to the inbox.  The tab is home to all the marketing emails that individuals receive.

What’s Changed?

Our Campaign Manager is a huge dog lover, gardening fan and a regular Aldi customer.  Conveniently, Gmail had ordered her inbox to prioritise emails from these senders in the ‘Top Picks’ section.  It turns out that this has started to happen for a lot more users than before.

Gmail Promotion Tab Update With Top Picks Prioritised

Gmail top picks in action

Seeing deals relating to my interests and hobbies at the top of the inbox was really convenient.  I am interested to see how this impacts marketers and email users alike – Amy, Campaign Manager

Although ‘Top Deals’ and ‘Top Picks’ have been around for a while, they are appearing a lot more in recent weeks.  We’re not sure whether this is part of a larger roll out but we would question why it has taken nearly 5 years since Top Picks first started appearing on Google’s forum.

But what makes something a ‘top deal’ or ‘top pick’?

Searching Google itself, it seems like there is no official answer for what makes something ‘top’.  This leaves a lot of room for people to question whether Top Deals are actually something they want.  Could it make inboxes less reliable and cause more recent deals to slip through the net?

Only time will tell.

However, it appears that users will have little choice as they are being rolled out to all Gmail accounts.

Google’s Community Managers seem reluctant to give a full explanation of what is going on in their community forum.  One conversation started with a question from Marco:

Google Promotion Tab Update Question

A question on Google’s forum about how Top Picks are selected

He received two evasive responses giving little clarification on the situation:

Google Promotion Tab Update Reply

Google’s Community Specialists have been evasive with their answers

The answer to the first part of Marco’s question is that Google aren’t filling these spots with paid ads.  As for his second question, it’s anybody’s guess!

Our Gmail Promotion Tab Update Verdict

We think this is a great idea as our inboxes are often inundated with 100s of emails.  It becomes difficult to decide which emails are worth opening and it can be tempting to delete them all as a result

Who has time for that?

Having your top deals appear at the top of your inbox, waiting for you to pounce with wallet in hand, is extremely convenient.  What is less clear is whether the rise of ‘Top Picks’ will see chronology ebb away from the inbox over time, wreaking havoc with the marketing landscape.

This change may be hugely beneficial for marketers.  It will be interesting to note how emails in ‘Top Picks’ perform compared with the rest of the Promotions tab.  Whether there will be a significant increase in opens and click throughs on these emails remains to be seen.

Emails that would have previously been missed will now appear at the top of the inbox for longer, but somebody has to miss out.

Things are rarely straight forward.  With little insight into what Gmail is using to classify emails I am inclined to view the update with some scepticism.  I don’t want my inbox to be organised by a series of algorithms.  Rather, I would prefer to be free to choose and organise them how I want.

If the furore that followed the roll-out of Facebook ‘Top Stories’ is anything to go by, people will resist the change, instead preferring to view their inboxes in chronological order.

The one thing we predict is that the debate over whether Top Deals are a good thing will rumble on for some time…

Marketing Executive

I create content, publications and adverts for Wired Plus.  When I’m not writing, reading or blogging I enjoy road running.



2 Comments on "The Gmail Promotion Tab Update"
  • Vladimir
    18th April 2018Reply

    Can't say I'm looking forward to being spammed with dozens of discount offers on my email just because I bought a similar product, searched for it or some company wants to sell more for holidays.


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