Gmail tests more ‘visual’ ads: Pinterest for your inbox?


In a move that could shake up email marketing, Google is testing a new ‘grid view’ for emails that appear in its Gmail Promotions tab, offering recipients a more visual, ‘Pinterest-style’ way of viewing email ads.


The new look, which Google is calling grid view, puts the photo-filled messages from the Promotions tab of the inbox into a grid that emphasises the images within the messages.

If this new visual format proves successful after the Google test, the images marketers choose to showcase in the grid will be as important, if not more so, as the offer itself in determining Gmail open rates.

The grid presents marketing emails in a “pin-like,” image-driven fashion by surfacing images within emails and displaying them right in the user’s inbox.

The images (now cached and delivered from its own servers following Google’s move at the end of last year) are displayed along with brand logos and names and the traditional email subject lines. The emphasis in the grid view, though, is on the image first, offer second.

"With only subject lines to go on, it can be a challenge to quickly pick out the deals and offers that interest you most,' said Google product manager Aaron Rothman in a blog post announcing the experiment. "To help you find what you’re looking for faster, you can now sign up for a new field trial for Gmail that lets you view the Promotions tab in a more visual way."

Gmail users can sign up to participate in the test and participants will be able to toggle between the traditional list view and grid view within the Promotions tab. The test is limited to desktops at this point.

Read the blog here

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