RAAK_Blog-Header_4 must-knows to create an automated email flow

Gmail's grid view: the next step in email marketing

Gmail recently launched grid view, a new way to view your emails. This new design, with a high Pinterest feel to it, is currently only available for users who have an English account, and who have actively chosen for this new inbox. Following the positive feedback, we expect that Gmail will be rolling out this feature to all their users. But how does this affect your email marketing strategy?

Gmail recently got a lot of criticism from email marketers for adding the promotions tab. This tab places all commercial emails from brands in a selected folder, even emails that have been explicitly opted-in for. Later that year they also made it more difficult for marketers to track opened rates by renewing the way they cache their images.

Their recent change cleared up a lot of fog on why they made these particular changes. The main driver was that they wanted to make a distinction between personal, branded and junk emails. Branded emails are not less relevant, because readers have opted-in. But still, they are different from personal emails. However, if you display them as personal emails, in a classical inbox view, your inbox may become a bit boring. That's why they added a new layer over the promotions tab.


This new layout opens up a new perspective on email design, testing and user experience. 
But how can we get the most out of this new grid view? Well, let's break it down into tiny bits:

The new grid view consists of four elements:


  • The featured image
  • The sender's image
  • The sender's name
  • The subject line

The featured image

The biggest improvement. This 580x400 pixels image is extracted from the email and is the first your readers will scan. So what is the difference between this image and images in the email? Images in the email are designed for clicks, this featured image is designed for opens. Think of it as an image that has the same function as your subject line. So make it appealing and teasing, to convince readers to open your email.

The sender's image

You can add a small visual that reflects your brand. Most likely you will put your logo here. A great way for users to recognize your brand. There are technical requirements so be sure to check on how to get started.

The sender's name

Make sure it matches your sender's image to have the best possible brand recognition. Google recommends limiting this to 20 characters. Anything beyond those 20 characters will be cut off.

The subject line

It still has a prominent place in this grid view. Subject lines are put in bold to make them stand out. Make sure that your subject lines match the story you're telling in your featured image. Gmail limits subject lines to 75 characters, so it's wise to keep it short and snappy.


So if you thought that Gmail was battling branded emails, you were wrong. Gmail wants to get a new layer between personal and junk mail, but understands that a classical overview does not match the way branded emails are built. We hope this grid view will be rapidly deployed and copied by other mail providers. It offers a lot of possibilities on how we build emails and set up campaigns, but does not impact the core element in email marketing: offering our readers relevant content.

Posted on
Apr 9, 2014