Gmail has long lead the pack as it relates to innovation in the inbox, much to the chagrin of marketers. Gmail is an inbox for the consumer, not the marketer, but more often than not, the updates represent minimal change to the way we execute our programs. Over the years Google has given us priority inbox, tabs, Inbox, and grid view – all updates aimed at making the inbox experience a more seamless and rewarding one for subscribers.
The latest updates, announced in late April 2018, are much in the same vein. So, what’s new, and what does it mean for marketers? There’s a full list of new features available at the official Google Blog, but below are three that directly impact marketers:
- Unsubscribe Suggestions
- LESS Interactivity (What? Why?!)
- Emoji Support! FINALLY!
Let’s tackle the scary one first. Yes, Gmail will now suggest that people unsubscribe from emails that they have historically not engaged with. This is not Gmail’s first foray into encouraging unsubscribes – several years ago they began adding an unsubscribe link at the top of email campaigns. This new update will use algorithms that take into account frequency of messages and recency of open when determining when to make the suggestion. Neither of these innovations is a death sentence for marketers. Your deliverability reputation and inbox placement are largely dependent on the rate at which subscribers interact with your messages in the inbox. A proactive unsubscribe is highly preferable to a subscriber who sits dormant on your list for months or years. Quality over quantity may seem an outdated mantra, but it has never been more relevant.
Coming on the heels of the AMP for Email announcement made in February 2018, this round of updates actually eliminates support for roll-over and hover states. Any campaign with one of these interactive elements would likely have already been designed with a fallback for those viewing in unsupported email clients, but given Gmail’s market share, this is a loss for innovation.
Ever heard of a Goomoji? If not, you’ve likely seen them – they are Google’s strange squishy-looking versions of the classic emojis we all know and love. And now, they are a thing of the past (in Subject Lines, anyway)! That’s right, Gmail now supports standard emojis in subject lines. Body copy is a story for another day, but we’ll take this small win.
The bottom line with this most recent round of updates, as is nearly always the case, is not to make any sudden moves. The impact here will likely be minimal for marketers.