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Why your emails are going to promotions instead of primary ? (2024)

damien ceo mailreach
David Chastanet
Email Deliverability Expert

To prevent emails from going to the Promotions Tab, you can go to Settings > Inbox and deselect Promotions. More tips in our article !


If you wonder why some of your emails end up in the Promotions Tab of Gmail instead of hitting the primary inbox, you’re in the right place. 

Our goal ? Boost your chances of landing in the primary inbox spot in Gmail. After all, who doesn't want better open rates and more engagement, right ?

Here is what you need to know with Gmail’s Promotions Tab and the best practices to stop your emails from going to Promotions Tab in Gmail ! 

Gmail's Promotions Tab : how does it work ?

Gmail's tabbed inbox system is designed to help users organize their emails more efficiently. Instead of a single, cluttered inbox, Gmail automatically sorts incoming emails into different tabs based on their content and sender. These tabs typically include Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums.

Now, let's focus on the Promotions tab. This particular tab is where Gmail directs emails that are deemed promotional in nature. So, what criteria does Gmail use to decide if an email belongs in the Promotions tab ? Well, it looks at various factors such as the content of the email, sender reputation, engagement history, and also user behavior.

Not everyone uses Gmail's tabbed view. While some users find it handy for managing their emails, others prefer a more traditional layout. According to data from Google Workspace and, approximately 30 % of users utilize the tabbed view feature. 

So, if you're worried about your emails ending up in the Promotions tab, be assured that not all Gmail users rely on this sorting system. However, it's still crucial to optimize your emails to increase the chances of landing in the primary inbox for those who do use it !

Why do emails end up in the Promotions Tab ?

So, why do emails often find themselves up in the Promotions Tab of Gmail? 

Here are the main reasons : 

➡️ Your SMTP provider plays a significant role. Providers like SendGrid, Brevo, Mailgun and MailChimp are known for sending promotional emails, which means Gmail recognizes them as such. As a result, emails sent through these providers are more likely to end up in the Promotions tab.
➡️ The content of your email matters. If your email includes images, links and especially promotional language, Gmail is quick to identify it as a newsletter or promotional material. Then, it's promptly directed to the Promotions Tab.
➡️ The prefix of your email address can also influence categorization. Email addresses with prefixes like "info@", "news@", "promotions@", "hello@", or "notifications@" are often associated with promotional content. Therefore, emails originating from these addresses are more prone to land in the Promotions tab. Our advice : consider renaming your email address prefix to something more personable and less promotional.

💡 Read also : How can i check if Gmail is blocking my emails ? (2024)

How to stop landing in Promotions but more in Primary in Gmail ?

As mentioned earlier, your choice of email service provider (ESP) plays a big role in where your emails end up. ESPs like SendGrid, Brevo and MailChimp are often associated with promotional emails, which means that Gmail is more likely to route emails sent through these providers to the Promotions tab.

To avoid this, opt for ESPs that are not identified by Google as primarily sending promotional emails. According to our data, Google Workspace (Professional Gmail) and Office 365 (Exchange) are the top two mailbox providers for ensuring your emails land in your recipients' primary inbox.

Think about it : Google and Microsoft dominate the mailbox market, so it's no surprise that emails originating from Gmail or Outlook addresses have a higher chance of landing in the inbox of Gmail or Outlook accounts.

Once you've switched to one of these reputable providers, consider using an outreach solution that allows you to send email sequences directly from your inbox. This way, you can maintain the trustworthiness of your email address and further improve your email deliverability ! 

💡 If you want to go further, do not hesitate to test our Spam Test tool to directly check where your emails are going ! 

Use our Free Email Spam Test and Checker

Reducing promotional triggers in your emails

Image and Link Optimization

If your goal is to reduce promotional triggers in your emails, here are some best practices to keep in mind : 

Limit image usage : Avoid overcrowding your emails with too many images. Stick to essential visuals that complement your message rather than overwhelming it ;
Optimize image size : Compress images to reduce file size and improve loading times. Large image files can slow down email load times, which may negatively impact engagement ;
Use Alt text : Always include descriptive alt text for your images. Alt text not only improves accessibility for visually impaired users but also ensures that your message is conveyed even if images fail to load ;
Balance text and images : Aim for a balanced ratio of text to images in your emails. Too many images with minimal text can trigger Gmail's promotional filters. Strive for a harmonious blend of visuals and text content ;
Use a strategic link placement : Place links strategically within your email content. Avoid clustering multiple links in one section; instead, space them out naturally throughout the email ;
Avoid link overload : Resist the temptation to include an excessive number of links in your emails. Choose only the most relevant ones to maintain a clean and focused message ;
Use descriptive Anchor text : When inserting links, use descriptive anchor text that clearly indicates the destination. This not only enhances user experience but also reduces the risk of your email being flagged as promotional ;
Test and monitor : Do not forget to regularly test your emails to gauge their performance and monitor their placement in Gmail's inbox tabs. Adjust your image and link usage based on the results to optimize deliverability !

💡 Read also : Your Email Deliverability Checklist for 2024

Simplifying Email Design

Now, let's focus on our best practices to simplify email design in order to improve your email deliverability and reduce the risk of emails landing in Gmail's Promotions Tab : 

Minimize HTML complexity : Keep your HTML code clean and concise. Complex HTML structures or excessive use of coding elements can confuse email filters and increase the likelihood of your emails being categorized as promotional ;
Avoid overly decorative templates : Opt for simple and streamlined email templates that prioritize readability and functionality over intricate design elements. Flashy graphics and elaborate layouts can trigger Gmail's promotional filters ;
Use a responsive design : Verify that your email design is responsive and displays properly across various devices and screen sizes, which signals to email providers that your content is user-friendly and legitimate ;
Insert a clear Call-to-Action (CTA) : Place a clear and prominent call-to-action (CTA) in your email design, and make it easy for recipients to understand the purpose of your email ;
Maintain a consistent branding : Consistency reinforces brand recognition and legitimacy, which can positively impact email deliverability (logo placement, color scheme, font style) ;
Use a text-based content : Incorporate text-based content alongside images to ensure your message is accessible even if images fail to load ;
Test your email designs : Test your email design across various email clients and devices to ensure consistent rendering and optimal display. You also need to address any formatting issues or compatibility issues that may arise to maintain a professional appearance ;
Monitor your engagement metrics : Finally, track engagement metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to evaluate the effectiveness of your email design. Then, adjust your design approach based on performance data to continuously improve deliverability.

Email address and Identity

Prefixes like "info@", "news@", "promotions@", "hello@", "notifications@", or similar terms have an important impact on categorization.

Your email address prefix is systematically analyzed by email providers, in order to categorize and filter incoming messages. Terms like "info@", "news@", or "promotions@" are often associated with marketing or promotional content, making it more likely for emails with these prefixes to land in categorized tabs like Promotions in Gmail. 

Similarly, generic prefixes like "hello@" or "notifications@" might not convey a personal touch, potentially leading to emails being overlooked or categorized as less important.

To improve the chances of your emails reaching the primary inbox, you need to rename your email address prefix to something more human and personalized. Instead of using generic terms, use prefixes that reflect the personal nature of the sender or the content of the email : 

➡️ personal@

➡️ updates@

➡️ help@

In addition to the email address prefix, the sender's identity has also a huge importance for your email deliverability. Rather than using the name of a brand or company as the sender, it's often more effective to humanize the sender's name by using a real person's name. .

FAQs on Email Placement in Gmail

Why does Gmail flag email as promotion ?

Gmail categorizes emails based on various factors, including content, sender reputation, and user behavior. If an email contains promotional content or is sent from a provider known for promotional emails, Gmail may automatically route it to the Promotions tab. Even some email address prefixes or sender names commonly associated with promotions can  influence this categorization.

How do I make emails go to primary instead of promotions ?

To increase the chances of your emails landing in the primary inbox of Gmail, there are several steps you can take : choose an email service provider (ESP) that is not identified by Gmail as primarily sending promotional emails (Google Workspace or Office 365), simplify your email design, minimize HTML complexity, and use clear and personalized sender names rather than brand names.

How do I prevent Gmail from flagging my emails as promotions ?

While Gmail's sorting algorithms are largely automated, you can reduce the likelihood of your emails being flagged as promotions by creating valuable and relevant content that resonates with your audience, avoiding overly promotional language or excessive use of images and links, or maintaining a positive  sender reputation. By prioritizing user experience and authenticity in your email communications, you can minimize the risk of Gmail flagging your emails as promotions.


In summary, here are the key strategies to keep your emails out of the Gmail Promotions Tab : 

🔎 Choose an email service provider (ESP) that is not associated with promotional content, such as Google Workspace or Office 365 ; 

🔎 Simplify your email design and minimize HTML complexity to enhance readability and user experience ; 

🔎 Use clear and personalized sender names rather than brand names to humanize your emails ; 

🔎 Avoid using email address prefixes like "promo@" or "newsletter@" and opt for more personal prefixes ; 

🔎 Focus on creating valuable and relevant content that resonates with your audience ; 

🔎 Maintain a consistent sending schedule and engage with your subscribers regularly to build trust and credibility ;
🔎 Segment your email lists and personalize your messages to improve relevance and decrease the likelihood of being categorized as promotional.

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