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Inbox by Gmail's Glanceable Newsletter update: what it means for email marketers

Learn about the update and how email open rates are affected

In April 2016, Google released three feature updates to Inbox by Gmail (not to be confused with the Gmail app for mobile devices) that let users keep better track of their inbox regardless of the email provider they use*. The update most relevant to email marketers is a feature named Glanceable Newsletters. This feature makes it easier for users to preview newsletters and click through to the article links within the inbox page, instead of having to click on the email itself to first open and then go to a landing page.

With this new feature comes the question: how are open rates affected? Is an email marked ‘opened’ once the glanceable section of the newsletter is clicked, or does that only happen when the user scrolls down to the “Related Items” section and chooses to fully open the email? 

Yesmail’s Deliverability team recently attended the ESPC (Email Sender & Provider Coalition) Semi-Annual Meeting and noted the following remarks from Gmail’s team:

  • Provided senders use a standard 1X1 tracking pixel in their email newsletters, the Glanceable view within the Gmail mobile app will register as an open.
  • Senders are generally advised to avoid sending newsletters that have no clickable content.
  • As a best practice, marketers who send newsletters should include clickable content in the message body to help gauge engagement levels past the email open. Not only does clickable content increase engagement and drive traffic to your site, but it also lets marketers track links and collect data on most/least popular topics, when users are likely to read an article, and which pages do users choose to visit to learn more about a product or purchase it.
  • In addition, knowing engagement levels helps Gmail confirm the user’s continued interest in content from a specific sender and determine how this content should be prioritized. For example, having a simple rating scale lets users indicate how interested they are in an email and would go a long way in conveying the value of a specific newsletter to Gmail, thus strengthening the sending reputation of all emails from that domain or IP.

Based on these insights, email newsletters that already adhere to the best practices above are likely to receive equal or better engagement rates than they’ve generated so far since users would have an immediate and direct view of the individual newsletter articles.  

Per the image below*, the Glanceable view makes the newsletter’s top three articles really pop out in the inbox view. An intriguing list of three articles will prompt the user to expand the view to then see the “highlights from the latest email”. This subscriber action registers as an open, even if the entire email was not viewed in the conventional sense. An important takeaway here is that marketers now have the opportunity to go beyond the email subject line and capture a user’s attention directly through email content. 

Author Bio

Kevin Gallant

Kevin’s approach is to become deeply involved in clients needs and expectations. Kevin comes from a detail oriented background with 5 years experience in the digital and print marketing field. Now, a three-year veteran at Yes Marketing with the Deliverability team, Kevin's ability and passion for attention to detail and trending patterns has excelled him into the multiple platforms Yes Marketing supports. As the West Coast Intelligence Product Manager, Kevin provides a strong background in email-centric clients focusing on deliverability and competitive monitoring.