Google has made waves again in the email marketing world with the new “grid view” for the Gmail Promotions tab. This image-heavy layout will display thumbnail pictures for each message in a Pinterest-like framework. For email marketers, this can be a great opportunity to grab the recipient’s attention with a captivating image that previews the message contents. If you combine the image preview with a strong subject line, you have the ingredients for increased open rates and engagement.
Gmail will automatically choose an image from the contents of the message, but you can designate a specific image to appear with your email by adding a small piece of code. Identifying the image is especially important if your message is text-heavy or if it includes smaller graphics. The required dimensions are at least 580 x 400 pixels, and it can be saved as a JPG or GIF. Gmail will resize larger images, but it is probably best to stick to these dimensions.
Once you have the image designed and uploaded, just overwrite the blue text in the code below with your image URL and then copy all three lines into the HTML of your message.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer“>
<link itemprop=”image” href=”INSERT FULL URL HERE“/>
Additionally, grid view also includes a link and image for a Google+ page associated with the sender. This is part of Google’s on-going efforts to build engagement on their social network. If your business has a Google+ profile, this can be a valuable tool for cross-channel marketing. If you don’t use Google+ for your business, you might want to consider establishing a presence. You can read how to setup the Gmail/Google+ connection here.
Finally, Gmail has provided some details on optimal sender and subject lengths. They recommend keeping the sender name under 20 characters and using a subject line that is no longer than 75 characters. Staying within these limits will ensure your email is viewed correctly within the new layout.
What do you think of grid view? Do you think other email services like Yahoo or Outlook will follow Gmail’s lead and add a visual-driven inbox setting?
Posted in Email, Email Design, Email Marketing, Gmail, Google+ | Tagged Email, Email Design, Email Marketing, Gmail | Leave a Comment »
In December 2013, Google announced that images within emails would be displayed automatically for all Gmail users, regardless of whether or not they clicked “Display Images Below.” Google will now cache images and serve them through their own secure proxy servers to protect users from viruses or malware that could be associated with externally hosted images. The change was also made to speed up the open time for each message and make the user experience more consistent with mobile email.
How will this impact email marketing?
The biggest change for marketers will be with unique open rate data for Gmail messages. Since the image cache will only serve the first image, email marketers will only be able to track unique opens for Gmail users.
Google says the change will have a positive impact on open rates since marketers will no longer have to depend on users both opening the message and loading the images. This may in fact lead to Gmail open rates increasing, as well as boosting total opens.
However, while open rates may increase, Gmail will no longer be sending the IP address information of their users, effectively limiting the amount of data collected from opens. Tracking geolocation and whether users view it on mobile, desktop or web could prove to be a challenge.
Gmail is reported to have over 425 million users, so this change is definitely worth noting, especially if it starts a trend within the email industry. It also means email marketers should focus on the appearance of their design more than ever. Gmail recipients will no longer have to click to see images, so the message will be front and center upon first viewing. Placing emphasis on email best practices and strong email design can help you maximize the increased visibility and make a great first impression.
Posted in Email, Email Design, Email Marketing, Gmail | Tagged Email, Email Marketing, Gmail, Google+ | Leave a Comment »
If you’ve been sending the same email messages to your list and have noticed a decline in performance, it might be time to consider a few changes to reignite the response.
Simple A/B testing can identify elements within the email campaign that can be improved or adjusted to boost overall performance. These changes can optimize your content and jump start your marketing efforts.
Here are some good examples of things you can test within your email marketing strategy:
- Message subject lines: Shorter vs. Longer? Question vs. Urgency?
- Text copy: Wording, fonts, headline, length
- Design elements: Colors, images, buttons, layout
- Send time: Afternoon vs. Morning?
- List segmentation: Location, activity, time zone
- Call-to-action: Wording, placement, size, visibility
- Day of send: Weekday vs. Weekend?
You can also add personal customizations like First Name and Birthday messages to provide additional relevancy. If you’re sending clicks to a landing page, be sure to test elements on there as well.
Whether you’re looking at one item or larger, multi-layered changes, testing can keep your email content fresh, relevant, and better positioned for continued success. Even minor changes can have a big impact, but you’ll never know unless you test.
Posted in Email, Email Design, Email Marketing | Tagged Email, Email Design, Email Marketing | Leave a Comment »