GMail is shaking up the email world again. In 2013, Gmail changed email by introducing its email tabs. The function placed email into various categories based on the content. Well, the email provider isn’t done with that change and has recently announced a pilot program where they’ll be switching how the emails in the promotions tab are displayed. And this will affect the HTML included in your emails.
The potential new design looks much more like a Pinterest board, relying heavily on images instead of the normal subjects and “froms” we see. The power will be in the subscribers’ hands, so they can choose which view they want. This means, you as a sender will have to consider both options when creating your emails.
The function works due to specific markups called schemas. This is added to your normal HTML for the email. You can find out more about all of that here.
The featured image can be GIF, PNG or JPEGs, though the GIF will be rendered static. For the emails that don’t have a “featured image” Gmail will use an algorithm to decide which image should be featured.
The “sender name” and “subject” will be what you have set for your email.
The “sender image” is something that’s new as well. That image will be pulled from your Google+ profile, so if you haven’t created one, now is a reason to.
For all the panic, this function provides an opportunity for email senders to make their case for their email by using the “featured image” function. That, along with your subject will hopefully make your emails stand out even more so.
The feature is currently in beta testing and hasn’t rolled out to all Gmail users. It is also unknown what Gmail’s plans are as far as mobile.