Gmail has been quietly testing and preparing for the rollout of multiple new features--in fact, a near-complete overhaul of its popular email platform--for the past few months; it seems that they have decided to launch it with enviable speed, all at once, for the general population of users next month. It’s a remarkably speedy timeframe for the search and email giant, providing users with a grand total of 12 weeks to opt out of the changes--and a similar time frame for email marketers to understand the ways in which this will impact their campaigns and strategy. We’ve spoken about the huge changes taking place through Gmail before, here at Site Impact, and we feel confident in our readiness to deal with the way things are likely to shift; but there are things that brands and marketers will definitely need to know moving forward.
First it’s good to take a moment to look into how this will all play out. Gmail announced last week that they would be setting the date for general availability (GA) for its new email platform in July. Anyone who hasn’t moved onto the new platform by choice at that point in time will have eight weeks to either do so or opt out; at the eight-week mark, once they’ve automatically changed over, users will have an additional four weeks to opt out of the new platform, to have it permanently (at least until the next major Gmail overhaul). Once the system is done switching over, users will not be able to go back to the old format.
We’ve talked before about how the changes that Gmail was making to its platform will likely impact email marketers, including things like the ability to mark emails as confidential, the ability to snooze and remind about emails, and so on. So far, in testing, many email marketers have found--in early-adopter small-time campaigns--that the new features actually increase engagement with email marketing, giving customers incentives to pay attention to important messages while giving them time to think more about less time-sensitive items at leisure. At the same time, some marketers are concerned that the confidential setting--which allows users to pre-determine a date for emails to, in a sense, ‘self-destruct’, could lead to lower levels of engagement from users forgetting the importance of particular messages after the fact.
Of course, until the platform as a whole switches over, it will be difficult to do larger studies on the way this will continue to impact email marketing. But at Site Impact, we’ve been quick to adopt the new format as much as possible, to understand how users engage with it. We’ve started working out how the new features will not only affect engagement organically, but how to make the best of these new concepts and working parameters to increase engagement. We’re excited to take advantage of the ways in which the new platform will allow email marketers to enhance consumer relationships and drive a sense of urgency in marketing messaging. Contact Site Impact today to hear more about how we’re getting ready for the big switch.