It’s been about six months since Google Inbox stepped out into the spotlight. Shortly after Google made its big announcement, it became clear that email marketers would need to pay close attention.

Here are two Inbox features that email marketers should be aware of:

  • Bundles – this allows users to group emails by category, and control when you receive a specific “bundle.” (i.e.: “send me my promotion bundle once a week”)
  • Highlights – this is Google’s version of text preview, giving users the ability to see a flight status, reservation, or picture without opening an email.

What this means for consumers

Bundles

Google has essentially taken what they’ve learned from Gmail, and created an inbox that works for you. Gmail sorts your email via their Tabs feature, but Inbox takes that one step further. Emails are neatly organized within the main inbox view, and by bundle, depending on how you choose to organize them (promos, purchases, travel, etc.). Inbox doesn’t stop there. Users can also control when, or how often they’d like to receive the bundles.

Here’s a peek into Inbox’s Bundles feature:

 

Highlights

Inbox’s Highlights feature is where Google really showcases its sophistication. For email notifications like flight statuses, reservation details, and purchase confirmations, Inbox creates preview cards that contain the pertinent information (and then some!). Google will even search data about a specific Highlight–a reservation update for example–and provide additional details for a user’s reference. Inbox allows you to create this type of preview for any email by simply “pinning” it.

Here’s a peek into Inbox’s Highlights feature:

Reminders

Last, but certainly not least, Google Inbox really defines “an inbox that works for you” with their Reminders feature. The Assist function of this feature enables a user to set a reminder, and provide information that is specific to that reminder. For example, you can set a reminder to call John and Kate when you get home, and Assist would recognize your location, as well as provide both John and Kate’s phone numbers once you arrive at home (pretty cool!).

What this means for email marketers

If you saw a decline in subscriber engagement when Gmail’s Tabs was announced, you can probably expect the same results with Bundles. The reality is, unengaged subscribers will find it easier to ignore your emails. Inbox gives your subscribers the option to view content in your email without even opening it, so make sure that space counts, because it may be all you have.

As email marketers, we rely on engagement metrics for just about everything. The new journey that Inbox creates for consumers will change the way we analyze and measure success. Open rates? It won’t mean anything when your subscribers aren’t opening their email at all.

It’s not so bad

Since Inbox is currently by invite only, there’s still a lot to be discovered. The good news is, you can brush up on some email best practices in the meantime:

  • Deliver email that matters to your subscribers. Use data and segmentation to ensure you’re sending relevant email. If subscribers are still not engaged, clean up your list and remove those subscribers.
  • Get creative – the inbox is a noisy place. It’s up to you to push the boundaries on creativity.
  • Maintain a good sending reputation – having a strong sending reputation is a key pillar to getting your email delivered.

Google isn’t out to get email marketers; they’re just enhancing user experience for their consumers, and in turn giving email marketers a chance to do the same. For more insight into how Google Inbox might affect email marketers, check out our VP of Delivery’s predictions here.



As Director of Corporate Communications for SendGrid, David is responsible for helping to shape the voice of SendGrid and his current responsibilities include global management of media relations, social media, and analyst relations.