What is The Gmail Effect — and what does it mean for email marketing?

Last year, Yes Lifecycle Marketing analyzed more than 7 billion emails to identify how new email standards combined with changing consumer patterns have influenced overall email engagement and how it affects leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The key findings of the analysis include:

  • The dominance of Gmail
  • The use of non-traditional themes
  • Declining email engagement

In this blog post, we will go over exactly what The Gmail Effect is – and teach some actionable email strategies to address these trends to enhance your email engagement.


The Gmail Effect

In recent years Gmail has exploded in popularity, and that means that email marketers need to pay extra close attention to its countless features. Likewise, email marketing has grown massively from being just a small piece of the puzzle to being a dominant way to distribute content to your audience. It is therefore important to take into consideration the email client that has come to define the email experience for many: Google’s Gmail client.

The Gmail Effect highlights the way in which Google’s email system has come to dominate the process of sending and receiving messages.

According to Yes Lifecycle Marketing, around 17.3 percent of email users had a Gmail account is 2014. Today, that number has nearly doubled as it represents nearly 30 percent of all email users.

And those users, per Yes’ findings, are far more likely to opt in to an email through Gmail than its competitors. Of those users that have opted in within the last 90 days, per the firm’s analysis, 48.9 percent used Gmail, far outpacing every other kind of email client. The trend is growing, as well; of those who opted in over a year ago, the number who used Gmail was 26.6 percent.

And of the users who are active readers of an email, 39.5 percent of them are Gmail users.

“While the share of the ‘big four’ has increased since 2014, this is driven exclusively by the growth of Gmail,” the report states. “Individually, the subscriber share of each of the other top four ISPs has shrunk or remained stagnant since 2014.”


What does this mean for email marketing?

The dominance of Gmail has been something of an Achilles’ heel for email marketers in the past, due to the web-based client and its mobile versions lacking certain technical capabilities.

When Google last year expanded its capabilities for cascading style sheets (CSS), it finally allowed for responsive design.

The report recommends taking steps to target Gmail’s specific needs, including putting a heavy emphasis on email authentication to prove that your organization is a valid sender, working to re-engage inactive users, and potentially pruning your list to ensure that inactive users don’t hurt deliverability.

Beyond Gmail, the report also breaks into a number of suggestions to drive marketing reach, including personalizing your messaging, using more GIFs and videos, and integrating data in ways that allow for more dynamic or localized content.

“Even if content cannot be customized to each of your 12 unique customer profiles, is there an opportunity to create two versions? How about three? Try and go that extra mile to find ways to increase relevance—the smallest variations can produce surprising outcomes,” the report concludes.


How to address these trends?

When evaluating which email provider you want to go with, it is important to select a service provider that can ensure high deliverability, great target messaging, and analyzed campaign results in real time to address The Gmail Effect. 

At MarketingPlatform we put emphasis on being a customer-focused email service provider, as opposed to a self-serve solution. As a very first step, for example, we review all new signups to ensure they are serious senders. We do this to make sure their organization has valid sender criteria and the right authentication. No spammers or frivolous senders are allowed in our system.

Our solution also ensures full customizability and personalization with intelligent emails and marketing automation. Our email builder makes it easy to create great campaigns that match the device your recipient opens them on. Choose from the many great templates, save your own templates, modules, items and buttons. We have made it easy to be creative while targeting the message to the individual recipient.

We have made it easy to be creative while targeting the message to the individual recipient.

By addressing these trends, we allow our users to maximize the value they have invested in their domain by driving quality customers to your website with the power of email.


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