What the Gmailify update means for marketers?

In the last 24 hours, Google released an update to all versions of the Gmail app that has implications for your email marketing. See the official announcement here.

Until now, to use the Gmail interface and the features that went along with it, a user either needed to have an “@gmail.com” email address or a work email run through Google apps for work. Now, similar to the iOS or Apple email clients, users can use any email address they want when using the Gmail Android app.

So what?

The ability to use the Gmail system as your inbox has far reaching implications fordeliverability and design. Users will now have access to the Gmail Spam filter and organisational tabs that are usually reserved for Google accounts.

Deliverability

Avoiding the spam filter is trouble enough for some brands, but with the new Gmailify solution, subscribers could now have 2 or more spam filters that you need to avoid. In addition to any applied by their host, they will now also have their emails filtered through the Gmail filters. Different spam filters have different spam flags, so emails need to be careful not to get caught.

The Inbox Organiser promotional tabs will also apply to any new Gmail app users.  If you see any marked decrease in your open rates in the coming weeks, it is most likely caused by this update since your emails are likely ending up in the spam filter or promotions tab. Contact us and we can let you know if it’s caused by the new Gmail feature.

Responsive won’t work

Email design for Gmail is always tricky. Since Gmail strips out CSS and style tags and doesn’t allow responsive designs, your beautiful emails can become unreadable at best and completely deformed at worst. You will need to use inline style attributes instead of CSS and tags to make sure your email doesn’t break, I recommend theMailChimp inlining tool to convert CSS and style tags to inlined styles. For user experience, make sure the desktop version of the email still looks good when scaled down, since responsive elements will not respond to media queries.

The Litmus report released last month showed that Gmail is used by 16% of all email users, I expect this will go up. With proper housekeeping you should be able to avoid any major problems.