Though responsive design has been in vogue in the tech world for years, a recent announcement from Google could be a game-changer for email marketers.
In late September, Google announced it would be making substantive changes to its email platforms Gmail and Inbox, allowing both to support emails created with responsive design. Since then, those modifications have officially taken effect, finally making it easy for email marketers to optimize their messages for mobile devices — a step that’s particularly important given that a projected 80% of email users around the world will access their accounts using smartphones and tablets, according to HubSpot.
Let’s Get Technical
For those who are curious about the nitty gritty technical modifications, the changes allow you to use Cascade Style Sheets (CSS) media queries with both Gmail and Inbox by Gmail. Media queries are coding modules that ensure an email is rendered the way it was intended to be viewed, regardless of what device is being used to access the content.
Not only does this ensure that messages are formatted properly, but it also eliminates many of the tedious manual steps previously required for mobile-optimized messages. For example, you no longer need to apply styles to each individual table row and cell, and can instead “centralize all your styles in the head, which eliminates a lot of inefficient, but previously necessary, code from emails”, explains Chad White of Marketing Land. In other words, the new Gmail supports embedded CSS with classes and id’s, which means coding your emails just got a lot more efficient.
Why Responsive Design Matters
The change is significant — especially for email marketers — for a number of reasons. Traditionally, marketers had to manually change the size and proportions of each email’s content, from images and videos, to links and calls-to-action. The new responsive design support will enable emails to “dynamically adapt,” so things like videos and links will automatically adjust to fit the screen of any device.
This is important because people are increasingly relying on their smartphones for just about everything, including web browsing and email. Almost 60% of online searches conducted in the U.S. take place on mobile devices, while an incredible 56% of emails were opened on mobile devices during the month of April this year.
In all likelihood, these numbers will only continue to rise, and if marketing teams aren’t optimizing their emails for tablets and smartphones, they are failing to realize the full potential of this huge, growing market. Because Gmail is the largest email provider out there, it’s also likely that other services will follow Google’s lead to stay competitive.
What Gmail’s Change Means for Marketers
Gmail has over one billion users, 75% of whom use their mobile devices to access their accounts. By taking advantage of the shift to responsive design, marketers’ mobile-friendly emails are more likely to reach literally millions of prospective customers. Furthermore, considering that 42% of consumers say they would delete an email if it doesn’t display properly, improving their user experience has never been more important.
While Gmail’s change is unquestionably an overdue improvement, marketing teams still have to create content that is relevant to the customer to take full advantage of its full potential. Crafting such personalized campaigns requires key insights that can only be revealed by combing through the monumental amount of data produced by today’s consumers.
In the same way email coding was a tedious task before responsive design, managing the constant flow of customer information is an arduous process that distracts marketers from their true job: creating. Albert™, the first AI Marketing platform, manages that data for you while monitoring your email campaign (and every other campaign), freeing you up to perfect your content.
To read more about how artificial intelligence can turn big data into crafted, personalized messages download the recent white paper, How Marketer And Machine Will Learn To Work Together.