Gmail recently began testing a new format for the promotions tab which was rolled out last spring. Instead of the usual list of emails showing sender, subject line and a small snippet of the email content, users will see a grid similar to a Pinterest board with the most prominent feature being an image.
The bad news is that subject line and sender name lose visual prominence, and the pre-header is no longer shown in the preview area. Some of efforts put into carefully crafting subject lines will be lost on Gmail users. The subject line will be limited to 75 characters.
The good news is that email senders can designate the main feature image and it does NOT need to be in the email content. There is also a small identity image that pulls in the logo from the senders verified Google+ account. So if you don’t have a Google+ account, here is another reason to consider creating one and getting verified. A few lines of code added to the email will tell Gmail where to find the image and your Google+ account.
We will be watching the developments as the tests roll out to more users in the coming weeks and months. It’s not too early to start the process of implementing the new image format and linking to the Google+ account. But we will need to wait before making any drastic changes to the subject line strategies. Globally only about 6% of users read their email in Gmail. Many Gmail users read their email on their mobile device or a desktop client like Apple Mail or Outlook.
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