Sep 5, 2013
The changes to Google's Gmail inbox have raised concerns for nonprofits that accept donations online. The addition of tabs has caused marketers in many industries to fear messages will be filtered into the promotions section and never be seen by recipients. This is particularly concerning for nonprofits that send appeals to donors through email. Especially toward the end of the year when many organizations are preparing to send appeals in December, charities worry that their messages will be directed to the same tab as discounts, The Nonprofit Quarterly stated.
However, the panic at the inbox change appears to be mostly unfounded. Declines in response rates have been minimal, and many email marketing companies have advised waiting and measuring response rates to see how the changes play out over time. Nonprofits should not adjust their email marketing strategies too quickly until they understand the impacts of the changes.
Gmail tabs can help nonprofits engage with millennials
Millennials have reported the most positive response to the new inbox tabs. StrongView, an email marketing provider, surveyed 5,000 Gmail users of all ages and found that younger respondents were in favor of the tabs, with 50 percent saying it made filtering messages easier. Millennials said that the Gmail tabs had not caused them to lose any emails from brands or organizations. However, 46 percent of respondents across all age groups reported checking their Promotions tab only once a week. Nonprofits may need to take note of this trend and plan to send appeals accordingly.
Because millennials are growing as a significant source of donations for charities, this age group's ease of use with the new tabs could make email marketing slightly easier for some organizations. If young donors find the tabs easier to navigate, they may be more likely to respond to email appeals.