How to Keep Your Emails Out of the Gmail Promotions Tab

04 Oct

How to Keep Your Emails Out of the Gmail Promotions Tab

Are you tired of seeing your emails ending up in your subscribers’ promotions tabs? Here’s what you can do to get your emails into their primary tabs, and help increase the likelihood your emails will be seen by your primary subscribers.

So here are five straightforward ways you can increase the chance that your email is delivered to Gmail’s Primary tab and therefore increase the chances that it is opened.

  • Watch your image-to-text ratio. It should be approximately 40:60. Too many images and too little text sends the email straight to Promotions.
  • Watch your links. Include a reasonable amount of links, ideally 2-3, but remove social icons and links as they are characteristic of bulk mail streams.
  • Watch your header and footer. Header text like “View in the browser” and footer text like “Unsubscribe from this mailing list” or similar, makes Gmail (and probably not only Gmail) think your email is promotional. If you are sending emails using an ESP, edit the default footer (if possible) and correct it. At the very least, replace “Unsubscribe from all future mailings” with a simple “Unsubscribe”.
  • Make it personal. In my experience (our team investigated hundreds of test reports and messages), Gmail doesn’t like emails sent out as subscriptions to mailing lists. Personalize your email as much as possible. Write simply and clearly, as if you were composing a quick note to a friend.
  • Keep it simple. Try to avoid fancy email templates provided by email service providers. Create a custom template associated with your brand. Keep the template as clean and basic without background images, scripts or complex HTML coding.

One final thing that Gmail looks at besides the email content is the level of recipient engagement. So the people you are writing to can actually help you get your email out of the Gmail’s Promotions tab!

Here are some bonus tips for capitalizing on this:

  • Encourage a reply. Wherever possible, craft your email so that it engages a recipient in a conversation. Ask them to reply to you and share their opinion, thoughts or experience.
  • Encourage the move yourself. Ask the recipient to drag your email from their Promotions tab to the Primary tab.


The content of your email really does inform its deliverability and categorization. To investigate why your email goes to the Spam or Promotions folder, start by testing your email contents.

Check our training calendar for more.





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