Gmail filters out Google's competitors

Gmail filters out Google's competitors

Summary: Promotional emails are placed in a separate Gmail folder causing marketers to cry foul.

TOPICS: Google

Promotional email has long been an effective way of delivering opt-in commercial messages and many marketers have rediscovered this method after experimenting with advertising, social media campaigns, and other novel forms of online marketing.

However, recent changes at Google's Gmail has marketers very worried.

The free email service has begun  filtering some emails into a separate "Promotions" folder, which shifts them from the prime position they had in the users' Inbox folder. Marketers are worried that conversion rates will be hurt by the change as Google rolls out the changes to its 425 million users. They could be right. 

Drew Fitzgerald at the Wall Street Journal reports:

MailChimp last month found the percentage of emails that were opened by its 3 million customers fell by about 1 percentage point for Gmail, to between 12% and 13%. Analysis from HubSpot showed the percentage of Gmail users who opened clients' emails slid slightly over the summer.

 Foremski's Take: This is very much in line with Google's latest strategies to isolate companies with marketing services promoting online businesses because it sees them as competition to its own services.  

Why should companies pay other firms for promoting content and online businesses on Gmail when that's what Google offers through its AdWords service?

The Google changes in Gmail mirror recent changes in its webmaster rules on links and keywords in press releases. Again, because press releases are often issued to promote online businesses and that's what Google offers, too.

Its search algorithm provides a lot of online businesses with free traffic but that is done on the basis that those sites truly provide a valuable service. Google hates anything that tries to dupe its search algorithm into providing an online business with a higher rank by gaming its algorithm through SEO. 

The same is true for Gmail. The appearance of the "Promotions" folder is part of this strategy to sideline competitors. Anything that requires an extra click to get to — reduces traffic significantly.

It's tough being an online marketer and it's going to become a lot tougher now that Google is stepping up its competitive strategies. After all, Gmail's audience belongs to Google and the free ride that marketers, and PR firms have had so far, will become increasingly difficult to exploit.

Topic: Google

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  • LOL

    Google just can't help themselves. I feel a smackdown coming
    • paid?

      Looks like a lot of paid comments by Microsoft and Apple

      Otherwise I can not explain so a lot of negative comments about an effort how to help the users :)
      • Are you saying that Google does not pay you?

        They give you the script to post from, and you do it for free?

        There can be no other explanation for all the negative comments about Apple and Microsoft and you just told us you don't get paid to do it.
        Timothy Cook
        • no, I just recognize the real evil, just read here ;)

          no, I just recognize the real evil, just read here ;)
          its horrible whats Microsoft + Apple doing!!

      • Oh Please.

        "Looks like a lot of paid comments by Microsoft and Apple"

        Do we really need such stupid commentary all the time?

        "Microsoft paying you"?, "Apple paying you"?, "Google paying you"?

        Its ridiculous.

        We know for a fact, its not some controversy, or still up for debate or something, its not a matter of personal opinion or subject to question; Google is a company that earns their bread and butter through advertising. Its a known fact. And long accepted by all.

        What does anyone think a company like Google is going to do? Seriously.

        In the long run, at least so long as Google relies very heavily on advertising revenue to keep their boat afloat, they are going to try and gradually squeeze out of play as much advertising as possible that's not generating some form of income for them. Its just competition otherwise.

        Companies simply do not encourage practices within their company or products that might give some competitive advantage to the competition. That in itself is understandable. By the same token, when using a product from a company, you might want to give it some serious thought if its the best product for you, if using that product means that the company that makes it is going to cause the aforementioned interference with their potential competition that's actually to your detriment.

        Look at printers for example. Companies that make printers also sell ink. They make a decision to sell the printers cheap but the ink expensive. They will make it difficult to impossible to purchase cheaper ink from an alternative company. You should at least be thinking about this when you buy a printer.

        Sometimes there may be little that can be done, sometimes you can make better choices for you.

        The bottom line for Google and its products, for some time to come at least, is that they want you looking at their ads, not someone else's. The freer the Google product appears to be, the more so this will play a part in the product. Count on one thing, Googles never going to be about providing some kind of free platform for others to deliver advertising to you.

        Google is the corporate embodiment of the saying "when the product is free, you are the product". Make all your Google related decisions based on that inescapable fact.
    • They can't help themselves... to provide an ever better service.

      I didn't like the new folders for about 2 days until I got used to them. Now, I love them. My main inbox stays free of promotions, and I'm finding I actually read more promotional e-mails now that they're segregated. Before, I'd quickly delete them just to get them out of my way. Now, I'll check them specifically after checking my main inbox. Win/win.
      • Ha! Facinating.

        "I'm finding I actually read more promotional e-mails now that they're segregated"

        Ha. Amazing.

        All that research, planning and implementation Google did to come up with a way (and make it no question, this was planned) to put all that non-Google advertising out of sight and out of mind of its users and there is still at least one person out there who "actually read more promotional e-mails now that they're segregated".

        Shows you; all those billions Google has and there is no such thing as a perfect plan, there's at least one guy out there that their plan caused him to read more advertising emails instead of less or none.


        There's always one in the crowd who will say he enjoys getting hit in the head with a brick.
  • LOL number 2

    The only folders you're ever going to get from Google are the ones that make them more money.
  • Google's bad press snowball grows

    Where it stops, no one knows.
    Sir Name
  • Google is E.V.I.L. incarnate

    Google is evil incarnate because they redirect spam to a spam folder... wait... what?

    Actually, this makes no sense. Any e-mail provider worth two doody kakas tries to redirect spam to a spam folder.
    • No, this is not spam. You dont understand.

      "Promotional email has long been an effective way of delivering opt-in commercial messages"

      Example, you shop online at some point at Store 'X'. Store 'X' askes you "Would you like to receive promotional emails from our online store describing new deals and sales of products similar to the one you purchased? You click "YES" because this is a unique store perhaps that you would like to know when they have a sale on, and what it is that's on sale.

      Two weeks later the perfect item goes on a good sale price, they send you their promotional advertising to the email you registered with them and it ends up in your promotions folder in Gmail, you are not thinking about what all may or may not be in that folder, so you don't look for a couple days and lo and behold when you do look the sale is over.

      Thanks Google. That worked. For Google. Next time that stupid company will brighten up and do their advertising directly through Google if they really want their customers to actually see their ads wont they!!
  • It's tough being an online marketer.......

    My heart bleeds!

    Between the gmail spam filter and the promotions tab my inbox is free of all marketing b*ll*x!

    For a company who earns revenue from ads I've seen less than ever since moving to Google services.

    PS: OwlllllllNet go get a self-hugging jacket and a comfy all-round cushioned room. Freak
    • Boothy_p....Don't pick on OWLLLLLLnet before he even posts

      We have rules here on Zdnet. You have to pick on Loverock Davidson FIRST because he's the longest poster in Zdnets history with the most FUD. Secound you pick pick on OLD ToddyBottom3 because he's never wrong about anything, just ask him. And than you can let OWLLLLLLLLey have it if you have any humor left. Have fun

      End Of Story
      Over and Out
      • The Three Stooges

        Funny post ... now we know which stooges to pick on and in which order.
  • Thats one way of seeing it

    Even though I do not use gmail much, I can see that this might actually do good for the end user. Marketing people can find other means to communicate rather than spamming my mail.
    • Ummm....article isnt clear enough I guess.

      Opt in promotional advertising is not supposed to be spam. Spam should go to junk.

      Opt in advertising is like getting a flyer in the mail from a company you asked to send you a flyer about their products. And Gmail now has a new special "bin" they throw that into. Its not junk, its not the trash, its just one more "out of sight, out of mind" place they can put something hoping you will not see it and hoping one day ALL companies decide they better do their ads directly through Gmail if they really want all their customers to see them.
  • everything from Google should go into this

    promotions folder.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Uhh, this has been out for a while . . .

    Uhh, this is part of Google's new tabs feature and has been out for a while . . . you just picked it up today?
  • Bogus spin

    What this is is a SPAM FILTER. Unsolicited promotional email is spam, period. Users don't want spam. So, good on Google for helping users avoid unwanted solicitations, and to hell with anyone who thinks that users should have to put up with it.
    Han Rasmussen
    • Another guy who missed the leading lines...

      "Unsolicited promotional email is spam"

      Duh....ya we know. Nobody said that though. Read the article.

      "Promotional email has long been an effective way of delivering OPT-IN commercial messages"

      You know, where a company or online store ASKS you if you would LIKE to get emails from them? AND YOU SAY YES! I WOULD!