Last year, Gmail Tabs had a significant impact on how marketers targeted their Gmail subscribers. This year, it appears that another new change, grid view will further change how Gmail is approached. Grid view is a new look, currently still in “field trial,” which presents ads (grid view is only in the promotional tab) in a new, more visual way.
As you can see in the above gif, the new view has four basic pieces: the featured image, sender image, sender name, and subject line. The subject line and sender name are essentially the same as in the traditional view. However, marketers need to keep in mind that the sender name is limited to only 20 characters, so make them count! The sender image is an example of the increasing importance of Google+, since companies must have a verified page on the service in order for an image to be pulled from.
The featured image is where things get really interesting. This is the main image subscribers will see when browsing through the promotions tab. The featured image is an image at least 580 x 400 pixels large, and is either picked through an algorithm, or specified by the sender. If you’ve taken part in the trial, you might have noticed that not all grid view messages have featured images, since not all emails have met this requirement. This is a great opportunity to specify a default featured image, the details of which can be found at the Google developers site. The featured image is a great ‘extra’ space to add more to your subject line with text in your image, and make your email stand out above marketers that haven’t yet implemented a featured image.
Specifying a featured image definitely seems like the way to go, in order to ensure that your image isn’t cropped or resized in a bad way. When you specify a featured image, it does not need to be present in the email, it can be hosted elsewhere. In addition to this, if you’re on Google+ and provide the link to your page, you will also get a nifty ‘follow’ button on the sidebar. Potentially a very useful way to gain more views to your Google+ page!
It’s tough to say how much of an overall impact these changes will have on Gmail. After all, the grid view is still in trial so it’s not being widely used yet, and there’s even a chance it won’t be rolled out to the general public. It’s still best to be prepared, and most information provided here is very simple to integrate into your existing marketing.
If you’re ready to begin adding in featured images, you might find this tool from FreshInbox very useful. It will allow you to preview a selected featured image in your own inbox, quickly and easily.