Google isn’t afraid to disrupt their own market if they think they’ve discovered a new way of doing things. While Gmail is arguably the standard when it comes to email platforms, the search giant recently unveiled Inbox, which they hope will replace the traditional email experience.
What is Inbox:
Currently available through an invite only beta program, Inbox aim’s to combine Google’s popular email platform with their digital assistant Google Now service. The company hopes to provide customers with a simpler browsing experience, applying what they learned by building knowledge graphs in search to your inbox. In a blog post yesterday, the Gmail team outlined several key features.
- Bundles: These are similar to the tabs found in your current inbox, grouping messages from companies by promotions, social, and sales.
- Highlights: If you receive an order confirmation, schedule a flight, or get pictures from a close friend, this will show up here without requiring you open any messages.
- Reminders: Create a to-do list that will appear at the top of Inbox. If you have an upcoming event with a contact,it will appear here as well.
- Snooze: If you don’t have time to read an email or reminder at that moment, you can snooze it for whenever you want.
What Will This Mean For Email Marketing?
When Google updated the inbox for Gmail in 2013, most email campaign’s were automatically filtered into the new “Promotions” tab. For a lot of eCommerce sites, this meant that their emails went largely unopened. Groupon lost nearly 2.6 million in the third quarter of 2013, a loss they partially attribute to this change.
Bundles will allow the user to choose how often they see certain types of emails. For example, a customer could choose to view all of their promotions emails at the end of their workweek instead of as they come in. According to Chad White, lead research analyst at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, “Bundles likely mean that marginally engaged subscribers will become even less engaged, while engaged subscribers will become more engaged.”
Highlights is the potentially disruptive feature of the new app, as it will allow users to track their shipments in real time, even if that information is not available in the email itself. Using their search engine, Google can use the tracking information provided in the email to pull up-to-date information from the web and display it for the customer.
With highlights, open rates will become less important as customers can go right to your sites landing page from the highlight, without ever opening the email.
Time To Adapt
It’s not clear yet exactly how customers will use Inbox, or how it will display current email marketing campaigns. Much like the original Gmail rollout, Google is using an invite system to test the system before pushing it for general release. The app is also not a replacement to Gmail, which required that users download it in addition to their current email client. This will slow the adoption rate for the new platform, which will give companies time to adapt their marketing campaigns for Highlights and Bundles.
Apparently, there are a lot of changes for email marketing, as it is also important to consider Mandrill alternative for transactional email users.
Look for an update to this post as our team delves further into Inbox and how our clients can utilize it for their e-Marketing campaigns.