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The Impact of Gmail Tabs on Email Behavior

by Ayaz Nanji  |  
February 27, 2017
  |  2,173 views

Gmail users have steadily moved away from using the email provider's Tabs feature to sort their emails over the past few years, according to recent research from Return Path.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in December 2016 of 1,628 Gmail users as well as an analysis conducted using Return Path's Inbox Monitor tool of 6 billion messages sent to Gmail users in October 2016.

The researchers examined how consumers are using Tabs, a Gmail feature introduced in 2013 that automatically sorts email messages into categories, such as Social, Updates, and Promotions.

Some 34% of Gmail users now use Tabs, down from nearly 100% when Return Path first examined behavior in 2013.


Some 68% of Gmail users who use Tabs have the Social tab enabled, and 60% have the Promotions tab enabled.

Less than half (45%) of consumers who use the Promotions tab say they check it at least once a day; 20% say they never check their Promotions tab.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Web Mon Feb 27, 2017 via web

    It's also worth noting that the 'tabs' feature of gmail doesn't translate to a mobile device, where I would wager most people are checking their email these days.

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