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Gmail's Grid View - A Step Towards A More Visual Inbox

Gmail is changing the email marketing game. Again. And it looks epic.

Gmail recently let the world in to their latest update to the inbox, and they call it Grid View. 


As you can see, grid view allows users to switch from a traditional subject line based inbox to a new image based preview pane at the click of a button. In a style reminiscent of Pinterest boards, recipients can scroll through images infinitely until they find something that catches their eye, without having to click the ‘Next’ button. 

Although this new view is currently only at the field testing stage, it could be one of the biggest shake ups the inbox has seen for a while. Gmail have a strong history of being game changers in the email marketing industry, as we saw back in May when they introduced a tabbed style inbox. However, marketers could be forgiven for being more excited about this latest release, not least because it could relieve some of the pressure from creating the perfect subject line. 

Facebook have long since known about the impact that visual marketing can have on engagement, having prioritised image based updates in the news feed for several months now. Indeed posts that include photos receive 120% more engagement than the average post, something which marketers are keen to capitalise on.

Gmail will use an algorithm to determine the most relevant image from a message to display. However, if you want to use a specific image then you can mark it up for use in the emails HTML. Your featured image must be at least 580 x 400px and larger images will be ‘resiszed to be as small as possible while ensuring both its dimensions are greater than or equal to the corresponding dimensions of the available area’. 


Senders are also able to include a sender image (such as a company logo) with their mailing, making it easy for the recipient to identify the sender at a glance. As ever with Google, they are keen to keep everything ‘in house’ as this image will be taken from the sender’s verified Google+ page. If there isn’t a linked Google+ account then the image will default to the first letter of the senders from name.

Whilst it remains to be seen whether Gmail will roll out this feature on a permanent basis, it does signal a definite shift towards more creative marketing and offer new ways for marketers to maximise their inbox appeal.


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