Why do emails get delivered to Gmail's Promotions tab

Published on 18 Dec 20223 min readCodesGround

In this article, we will explain why emails are delivered to Gmail's Promotions tab and how to get them routed into the Primary tab.

Gmail delivers emails to different inbox tabs based on constantly changing complex algorithms that consider sender information, recipient engagement, and email content. Due to the way Gmail automatically categorizes emails, you may notice that marketing and promotional emails are usually delivered to the Promotions tab.


Benefits of the Promotions tab

The Promotions tab is not the same as a spam folder. When your email is delivered to the Promotions tab, your contacts can still engage with it. In fact, getting your emails delivered to Gmail's Promotions tab can actually improve deliverability, increase open rates, and decrease spam complaints from your contacts. A breakdown of ReturnPath's studied performance after the introduction of Gmail's inbox tabs can be found here.

Also, note that many Gmail users disable these optional inbox tabs in order to get all their emails directly delivered to their Primary tab.

Getting emails delivered to the Primary tab

When you send emails, Sendinblue has no control over the placement of your email in Gmail.

Even though you cannot control where your email will appear in Gmail, there are different ways you can try to get your emails delivered directly to the Primary tab.

Ask your contacts to add your From email address to their Gmail Contacts

If a contact added your From email address to their Gmail Contacts, your emails will always be delivered to their Primary tab.

In your confirmation pages, landing pages, welcome emails or campaign emails, ask your contacts to add your From email address to their Gmail Contacts.


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Instruct your contacts to move your emails to the Primary tab

Your contacts can choose to get your emails delivered to their Gmail's Primary tab by drag and dropping one of your emails from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab. Gmail will then ask them if they would like to do this for similar emails so that all your future emails will be delivered to their Primary tab.


Keep it simple

Heavy emails including too many elements will be marked as promotions by Gmail. To ensure your email is delivered to the Primary tab, you can follow these simple guidelines:

  • Include no more than one link: if you include too many external links in your email, Gmail will mark your email as promotional
  • Lose the images: Gmail sees images as a sign of a promotion or spam message
  • Use light styling and formatting: using HTML formatting with multiple div blocks doesn’t look like a conversational email from a friend and neither does the use of multiple font sizes, font colors, and other fancy styling options

Avoid using promotional-sounding language


If your emails looks like this with excessive punctuation, all caps and promotional-sounding language, chances are that it will end up in your contacts' Promotions tab. Indeed, promotional-sounding language will be detected by Gmail and your email will be marked as a promotion.

Save your promotional language for your website and landing pages, and ask your contacts to click a link in your email to access offers and exclusive sales. 

Personalize your emails

Address your contacts by their name and get personal by writing to your contacts as if they are your friends to show Gmail that you know them personally. For example, you can start with a greeting like “Hi” or "I hope you're doing well" and use contact attributes to personalize your email. You can also end your email with a short “Cheers” or “Hope to see you soon”.

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Use a single personal email address

Avoid using business and generic email addresses. Most of all, stay away from no-reply email addresses as they can harm your email delivery rate and your emails might end up in the spam folder. Instead, send your emails from a personal email address – one that is from a person and not a business.

Also, make sure that your Reply-to email address is the same as the address in your sender field. Indeed, using different email addresses helps Gmail detect that your email is from a business.

Finally, send your emails from a personalized email domain in order to help improve your email deliverability. Authenticating your domain also helps ensuring that the domain listed as the sender on the email matches the domain that the email appears to have been sent from. When these values match, Gmail can more easily verify the identity of your sender and is much more likely to deliver your emails to your contacts' Primary tab.

Send your emails at the right time

Google pays attention to how users engage with email, which means that engagement is key for hitting the Primary tab. The more your emails are opened and your link is clicked, the better chance you have of being routed to the Primary tab. To make sure to engage with your contacts through email opens and clicks, you need to consider your timing. 

Sendinblue offers a Send at the best time feature to make sure you send your emails at the optimal time to engage each recipient and maximize your open rate.

💡 Good to know

This feature is available for Business and Enterprise plans (Premium and Enterprise legacy plans).


Test your emails before sending them

You can use free tools such as Litmus or GMass to know in which Gmail tab your email is likely to be delivered to.


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