Gmail users may have noticed a recent makeover on Google’s promotion tab. Gridview, launched by Google last month, is an opt-in feature that displays Pinterest-style images instead of subject lines and text. This revamp has some serious implications for email marketing (don’t panic; most of it’s good).

Before we go into details about the effect Grid View is likely to have on your email marketing and open rates, let’s take a look at what it is and how it works.

What is Gridview?

Grid View is a new optional feature which brings large graphics and infinite scrolling to the promotions tab in the Gmail inbox. Instead of a standard list of emails with a title and preview text, the grid view shows images from each email in a grid style layout.

You can see the difference here:

This feature is not yet available to everyone, and how much it is likely to affect your email marketing campaigns will depend on how many of your readers use Gmail and whether they decide to opt in to the grid view layout or stick with the traditional list view.

What are the advantages of Grid View?

Grid View has some major advantages for you as an email marketer:

• More space for you to display your message and the chance to make a visual impact.
• The option to include copy in your featured image.
• Extra opportunity to connect with readers as Google will also pull a sender image from your Google+ business page (as long as it’s verified).

What are the disadvantages?

It’s not fully known how this change will affect open rates and reporting. With most email marketing services, the tracking code is added to the main image. As Grid View automatically downloads images, it could lead to inaccurate reporting and false open rates.

Another disadvantage is that images which don’t fit the required size could be cropped, resized or not shown at all. Fortunately you can overcome this.

Here is what you need to do to  make the most of the Grid View display format.


Use a snappy subject line: Subject lines are reduced to 75 characters in Grid View. This makes it more important than ever to create compelling subject lines which grab your readers’ attention.

Shorten your name: The sender name is still visible in Grid View, but the maximum length is 20 characters. After that the name will be shortened. If your sender address is longer than 20 characters it might need some tweaking so it appears to best effect.

Verify your Google+ Page: If you don’t have a verified Google+ business page you could miss out on the chance to have your image or logo featured in the “sender image” box.

Designate a featured image: The featured image is the main thing you will need to focus on when creating emails that work with Grid View. Featured images need to be 580 x 400 pixels. If no image is designated, Google will choose one based on its own algorithm and if it doesn’t fit the specifications it could end up being resized, cropped or removed altogether.

The good news is you can designate a specific image by adding a few lines of code to the HTML of each of your emails. Instructions and the details of the markup are here. Doing this will ensure the featured image you choose is displayed.

Grid View is a promising development for email marketing. It opens up a lot of opportunities for marketers to connect with their audience and make a strong visual impact and we will be keeping an eye (and keeping you updated) on how it evolves.

Questions about Google’s promotion tab, Gridview and/or email marketing? Ask us!