In September 2016, Google announced that it would start supporting responsive email design to Gmail clients. These changes have been craved by digital marketers for quite some time, so supporting responsive design means less work for email coders and consistent design across major email clients.
So what did Google do to make responsive design easier for Gmail?
Google started supporting media queries, a CSS3 module that lets content render to different screen resolutions. These have been in use for over four years and are considered a cornerstone of responsive design for digital marketers. Earlier in 2016, Litmus published a report stating mobile email open rates had reached 55%. A year earlier, it was 48%. This is expected to climb higher, as more clients such as Outlook desktop apps and Microsoft Windows Phone get on board by enabling the use of responsive media queries.
This leaves us with the burning question: do email marketers need to use in-line styles? The answer here lies within your email analytics. If you have a significant number of subscribers using Outlook or Yahoo Mail mobile app, you should continue to use in-line styles, but if they represent a small fraction (1% or less), it’s safe to scrap them. If you’re a B2B marketer, a large portion of your audience will be using an Apple or Gmail client. Rely on your analytics to inform your decisions.
If more emails are being opened on mobile devices, does this mean click-through rates will grow as well? Most likely, so this shows us the importance of having an optimised email experience for your audience. Deckers ran a test on this very subject. They performed an A/B split test by using non-responsive vs. responsive design. The results were a 10% increase in click-through rates.
The end goal is to enrich the customer experience so they click-through to your website and engage with your brand on their mobile device, so brands need to continually optimise their mobile digital marketing efforts.