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Be More Productive with Gmail’s Priority Inbox

If you have ever struggled to stay on top of the important emails among the dozens of distractions reaching your inbox per day, you’re not alone. Thankfully, Gmail users can take advantage of Priority Inbox, Gmail’s solution to keeping your important emails at the front and center of your inbox. 

In this article, you will learn what Gmail’s Priority Inbox is, how it works, and how you can effectively set it up to help improve your inbox productivity. Plus, you’ll gain insights into a Priority Inbox alternative that will supercharge your productivity, taking your email to the next level.

What is Gmail’s Priority Inbox? 

Priority Inbox is a lesser-known, and even rarer utilized, Gmail feature that aims to improve your inbox experience by focusing your attention and inbox priorities on emails that you are likely to engage with. Initially rolled out in 2010, Priority Inbox begins to learn about a user’s email preferences, assigning a probability of the likelihood that a user will engage with any given message. The result is an inbox that highlights emails that are important to you that are worth reviewing.

How Does Priority Inbox Work?

Priority Inbox develops a personalized model to predict your important emails by collecting data from your email behaviors based on two primary sources; Social interactions and email content. Social interactions include email opens, email replies, sent messages and forwards based on the contacts that you regularly email. For example, It is safe to assume that someone you regularly email is somewhat important and a priority. 

When you consider emails from contacts that you do not regularly interact with, Google looks at the correlation of terms and keywords and the likelihood of you engaging, or not, on an email. For example, if you regularly open and read emails that include “Your Monthly Banking Summary” in the subject line, Google will eventually learn that banking summary emails are important to you.

While social interactions and content correlation are major pillars in how Google’s Priority Inbox works, their model is far more complex. To learn more about the inner workings of Priority Inbox, check out Google’s research paper here.

Setting Up Priority Inbox

Google makes it easy to set up Priority Inbox to begin learning some of your email priorities in your Gmail account. Simply follow these steps to enable Gmail’s Priority Inbox for your email.

  1. Log in to Gmail.
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right and select Settings.
Image from Google Workspace Learning Center

  1. Click on the Inbox tab
  2. Click the dropdown under inbox type and select Priority Inbox
  3. Configure your Inbox Sections based on your needs
Image from Google Workspace Learning Center

  1. Scroll down and click Save Changes 

Why Did Gmail Mark Something Important?

Now that you’re set up with Priority Inbox you may be curious why an email was marked important and another wasn’t. No need to do a google search about why an email was filtered a certain way, simply hover over the yellow icon to learn more. The most common reason why an email will be marked important and flagged as important will be because “the email was sent to you” and that the email was from contacts that you have previously engaged with. This is an example of the Social Interaction component of Priority Inbox’s model. Another reason why you will see an email marked as important will be something like “often read messages with this label”, which is a flag tied to Priority Inbox’s content algorithm. 

Did Gmail incorrectly mark an email as important? No problem, simply click the yellow icon to tell Gmail that the email should not be part of your Priority Inbox. This will manually help Gmail train its model for your inbox. 

InMoat: Your Priority Inbox’s Better Alternative

Gmail’s goal of learning about your email priorities is an effective solution to identifying and sorting emails that you regularly receive. Emails from colleagues, friends, and clients that you regularly interact with will always be prioritized. Understanding how you interact with other types of emails will help train the Priority Inbox model so it begins to prioritize some of your unexpected emails entering your inbox helping you be more productive.

Unfortunately, without asking about your priorities, Priority Inbox will always be reactive, learning about your current and past interactions to apply to current emails. It will never predict how your inbox will adapt and change over time similar to how your life will change and evolve over time.

This is why we developed InMoat, so you can be in control of your inbox based on your always evolving email priorities. With InMoat, you will have the ability to select, update, and remove the types of emails that are important to you, in addition to prioritizing Trusted Contacts that you regularly email. 

How InMoat Differs from Priority Inbox

InMoat grants you control over your inbox unlike ever before. When you first register for InMoat you are asked to select the types of emails that are important to you. These include common email priorities that are often urgent or important such as shipping notifications, travel itineraries, calendar invites, and more. Don’t worry, you can always edit this list whenever your priorities change. In addition to your selection, and similar to Gmail’s Priority Inbox, InMoat will prioritize your Trusted Contacts or people that you regularly engage with. Plus, InMoat will intelligently suggest contacts to be added to your Trusted Contact list so your inbox can evolve with you. With InMoat, you can ensure that any email that enters your inbox is important and worth reading. 

Why InMoat is better at Prioritizing Your Inbox

Our goal is to give email users control over their inbox unlike they’ve ever had. InMoat is designed to go beyond how Gmail’s Priority Inbox scans and recommends priorities. We believe that no one knows your inbox better than you, so why not grant the ability to configure your inbox just how you want it? 

Your Inbox, Your Priorities

If your inbox regularly receives the same types of emails then Gmail’s Priority Inbox feature may be a great way for you to prioritize your important email. If you’re looking for more control of a busier inbox where you know the types of emails that are important to you, then we recommend you sign up for a free trial of InMoat to see how you can remove email distractions while enjoying a more productive inbox.

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