Gmail Started Supporting Responsive Email Designs – Boon or Bane in Email Marketing?

One of the major email marketing predictions of 2016 was Gmail would start offering support for responsive design in emails. Email marketers had long back anticipated this new Gmail update wherein it will start providing style support for its webmail clients and support for responsive design including CSS media query support. Gmail has recently released this update which will enable email service providers, email campaign designers and email marketers to improve better email marketing experience to their Gmail-based subscribers who are opening emails on both desktop and mobile devices. Prior to this, email marketers felt challenges with Gmail not providing any support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in sites, making many mails open in webmail with issues. Broken email was the most common issue they faced, nearly 20% of Gmail users would reject their emails or unsubscribe from the list when they failed to open emails properly. Lack of support for stylesheet on Gmail, Gmail on iOS platform and Android platform, Inbox mail client, and Inbox app on iOS and Android has created issues with CSS media queries. That’s why email designers had to rely on inline CSS methods – however, with this recent Gmail update release, the inline CSS can soon be history.

What does this Gmail update actually mean?

With this recent update, responsive email for Gmail and Inbox users will load on devices with the right formatting options as intended. Whether users are opening and viewing mails on computer or mobile devices, whether in portrait or landscape mode, the content will appear as formatted, fitted well to the resolution, size and rotation mode of the device. This opens the for for email marketers, giving them more opportunities to optimize and personalize email campaigns for targeted users. So, will this new Gmail update be all boon and no bane? Keep reading to learn more..

1. Should marketers continue relying upon hybrid email design?

Many marketers may still continue using traditional responsive design on CSS media queries. With this latest Gmail update, 75% of email subscribers will be able to open emails on email providers which are created in responsive design methods. However, if a major segmentation of subscribers is opening emails on other email providers such as, Outlook desktop apps, Yahoo! Mail mobile app, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Microsoft Surface devices which have not yet offered support for responsive design, then email marketers need to depend on both responsive design for Gmail and HTML inline CSS versions for these platforms and devices.

Email marketers using hybrid email design will need to make changes. Part of the hybrid code for Gmail can now be substituted with responsive code which can be added on top of the hybrid code for email clients which do not yet have support for CSS media queries.

2. Will email marketers still use inline CSS in emails?

Most marketers will not need inline CSS any longer because Gmail will remove <style> tag from the <head> tag area. With most subscribers opening emails on Gmail, marketers need to heavily rely upon inline styles. However, many marketers will need to continue with inline CSS style if a large chunk of their subscribers and prospects open emails in providers such as, Yandex, Mail.ru, Libero and other regional-specific email clients who do not offer support for CSS style. That’s why marketers and designers will need to integrate all their styles under the <head> tag section in order to avoid useless code in the body of the email, instead of replicating styles to all table rows and cells separately. Thus, the current Gmail update will make things more marketer and designer-friendly and faster to apply codes to emails. With lighter codes, email loading times and open rates of email marketing campaigns will improve.

In addition to ease of coding, Gmail will be able to address security concerns over emails with responsive designs as well as they can improve the interactive aspects of emails. Currently, Applecaptures 51% of the email provider market that offers the best options for adding interactivity to emails with support for many interactive elements.

Are you thinking of a good responsive design template for your Gmail subscribers? Contact us to get email template design solutions by calling us at (408) 502 6765 or by reaching us via our social channels – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.