Google has done it again.
Once again, Google has introduced an innovation to their email client, Gmail, that will change the way email Publishers, Marketers, and Users see the inbox – only this time the inherent value on all sides is a lot more… visible.
With previous improvements to Gmail, such as the Promotions Tab and Image Caching, the initial announcements were met with hysterics amongst the Email Publishing and Marketing communities. It was weeks before they were able to see the opportunities unearthed by these innovations. But with Google’s newest addition,Grid View, the possibilities for delighting users and increasing engagement are clear as day.
Grid View creates a Pinterest like experience within the Gmail Promotions Tab. This means that all messages showing up in Promotions will now have visual showcase image called a Featured Image.
Grid View offers email marketers and publishers a new format for enticing customers to open, turning the focus to impactful, rich image displays and de-emphasizing age-old pre-header text and subject lines.
The feature is currently in limited release, but we anticipate that it will increasingly roll out to more users and then to all users in the near future, so make sure you get ahead of these changes to ensure your email newsletters are visually appealing and achieve best possible open rates and engagement.
Here are some tips and references to get you started:
1. Add a markup to your email template linking to your Featured Image.
2. Get creative with your design! Remember, much like the subject line, Featured Images will need to be updated and optimized frequently to remain affective.
3. Check out this Litmus post containing an in-depth review of the Grid View and the set-up process.
4. If you really want to study-up, this is a great source for aggregated news on the new Gmail Grid View
But what is most exciting about this new feature is what is yet to come. Grid View opens the door to something that was never before possible for email Publishers and Marketers: Optimizing to the Open.
Imagine being able to apply the machine learning optimization technology and real-time targeting that is already being used to improve the performance of click and acquisition driven ad campaigns, to enhance open rates. Anyone sending email will no longer be limited to A/B testing subject lines. Instead, they will be able to dynamically serve the “Featured Image” most likely to delightthe person or segment to which it’s being delivered.
That means that whether your email is being delivered to Amy in Atlanta in the evening, or to Nate in New York in the morning, the image that is most relevant and likely to delight that individual will be the one they see, improving the customer’s experience as well as your open rates!
Google’s continued dedication to the iteration and innovation of the email space reflects a recognition that Email is not going anywhere. Rather than trying to cram monetization features into popular, but unproven channels, they have taken the oldest and most reliable form of digital marketing and turned it into something new and trendy.
Slow clap, Google. Slow clap.
Make sure to check in later as we continue to explore Grid View and how it can be used to further engage and delight your customers.