Are You Ready for Gmail’s Grid View?

Google are constantly developing and testing new ways to make Gmail more user friendly, practical and efficient (such as their new ‘Social’ and ‘Promotions’ tabs). While this may bring some benefits to users of Gmail, they can raise some challenges for email marketers.

The latest addition to Gmail is ‘Grid View’; a more visual way to display the ‘Promotions’ tab. While Grid View is currently only in the field testing stage at the moment, you should start to consider the implications this could have on your email marketing campaigns if it is rolled out to all users.

How Does it Look?

Grid View

As you can see, when Grid View is turned on, Gmail looks less like an inbox and more like a Pinterest board. The focus has shifted away from the sender name and subject line and onto a single ‘featured image’. Google have even managed to sneak an ad into the top left corner which is almost indistinguishable from the marketing emails in the inbox. Having a distinctive image seems vital. So, what can you do to make sure that your emails will stand out from the crowd when this feature is turned on? Here are some of the things you need to know:

Carefully Choose Your Featured Image

Grid View layout

With Grid View, the featured image becomes the subject line; the influencing factor that will determine whether or not your email is opened and read. As an email marketer, you know how important it is to meticulously test your subject lines, and you should apply the same dedication to your featured image. Leave it to chance and your featured image could end badly cropped, poorly formatted, or you could have no image at all.

Gmail uses an algorithm to determine the most relevant image within your email to display. However, you can use the code from Google’s developer’s site to determine the image to be used in grid view. You can therefore use an image that give your subscribers the best experience possible. It doesn’t even have to be featured within the body of your email. You can design an image specifically for the Grid View layout.

Sign Up to Google+

Your promotional emails will look much better in Grid View if you have a Google+ verified page. Google will take your ‘sender image’ (shown on the Grid View layout above) from your Google+ page. If you don’t have one, the sender image will only include a grey initial; certainly not as eye-catching or professional as a full-colour logo.

Are Subject Lines Less Important?

As you can see from the layout above, with Grid View, the subject line is relegated to the bottom of the section, and is in a less prominent font than the sender name. The featured image is the star of the show. That doesn’t mean that you should neglect your subject line altogether. In Grid View, it can work as a caption for your featured image. The two should work harmoniously together. However, your subject line also needs to make sense when it’s not paired with the featured image; not all your subscribers will be using Grid View.

Grid View certainly offers a more dynamic experience for users of Gmail. Although it will require you to adapt somewhat, Grid View has the potential to add a new dimension to your marketing emails.