Why is my email going to Gmail's promotions folder?

In this article, we'll cover why an email may land in Gmail's promotion folder. We'll also provide some actions you can take to improve your sending reputation and positively impact your inbox placement.

Gmail promotions tab

Gmail provides a Primary, Social, and Promotions folder to help organize their user's inboxes for them. While the determining factors used to filter messages is not publicized by Google, we know that it is determined based on a few common elements. These include the subject line & content of the message, the sender “from” name/address, and even the individual inbox history of the subscriber themselves.

Custom DKIM Signing

Configuring custom DNS records for your custom domain from address to reflect email sending with AWeber will help improve overall message deliverability and inbox placement. Many customers who have made these updates have experienced a marked increase in inbox placement and, therefore, subscriber engagement. If you have not yet set these records for your custom domain address, doing so could help your message land in the Primary folder as opposed to an alternate folder.


Encouraging your subscribers to safelist your from address could help the messages you send to land in the Primary folder. Simply put, safelisting is another term for adding a specific email address to your address book, designating it as a trusted sender for incoming emails. Incoming emails that were sent from an email address that has been safelisted will be more likely filtered into the Primary folder in a Gmail user's account.

Manually Place Messages

Manually placing an email into the Primary folder could also help future messages from that address to be filtered into the same folder. You can send an email to all of your Gmail subscribers, asking them to drag your messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab. When the user does this, Gmail will follow that pattern in the future. To send an email to your Gmail subscribers, you can create a segment based on “Email” “Contains” “gmail.com”.

You'd first create a segment of your subscribers with a Gmail address, then schedule your Broadcast to send to that segment.

Clean Your List

It’s important to regularly clean your list. Over time, subscribers may become less engaged and stop opening your messages. A good rule of thumb is to remove any subscribers who have not opened a message from you in the last 6 months. Those who have not opened an email in that timeframe can be considered inactive subscribers. Before deleting them, however, consider launching a re-engagement campaign before removing them. 

Gmail Recommendations

Google offers recommendations for sending email to Gmail users. Reviewing these suggestions and implementing them into your email sending practices could result in higher engagement and deliverability. 

Please keep in mind that the Promotions tab is still an inbox, not all Gmail users have enabled tabs, and that the Promotions tab regularly saves commercial messages from going into the spam folder. While it is advised to take the steps above to ensure you’re getting the best deliverability, your email marketing efforts can still be successful - even if your message lands in Promotions.

Lastly, remember that consistent messaging and valuable content are how you develop brand loyalty, trust, and a strong email marketing campaign. These are invaluable tools that will help to maintain an engaged audience and experience the best possible inbox placement.

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