Inbox clipping occurs when an email is sent to a Gmail domain and is larger than 102kB, at which point Gmail “clips” the message and requires the recipient to click on a “View entire message” link to see the full code. This size restriction includes anything within the email itself, including text, images, links, tracking codes, responsive elements, and anything else within the HTML. This can happen with other domains in a similar fashion, but we’ll focus on Gmail due to overall consumer adoption rates.
Main Issues with Inbox Clipping:
Inbox clipping can cause several issues, the most obvious of which is your email is only being partially read. Email teams spend quite a bit of time crafting the perfect email message, and it can be frustrating when your campaign’s content ends up being less effective due to clipping.
Another issue is potentially increasing your spam complaint rates. Traditionally, the opt out for commercial emails is found in the footer next to other information needed for CAN-SPAM compliance. Clipping the footer removes the ability for the user to opt out with one click, which will often lead to a click on the inbox’s “Mark as Spam” function, effectively opting out but also negatively impacting your overall sender score.
Inbox clipping can also affect your basic email metrics. Most senders place open tracking pixels at the bottom of their message to avoid any small spacing issues at the top or middle of their message. If the message is being clipped, the code isn’t being fully loaded, which will affect your campaign’s open rates. This is particularly problematic if your program is using opens or clicks to gauge a recipient’s interest in your program before sending them on an intervention series (or automatically unsubscribing them altogether).
Strategies to Avoid Inbox Clipping:
- Reduce the size of your emails to under 102kB by focusing on the primary content and reducing secondary and tertiary calls to action
- Consider linking to additional content on website if content must be included
- Minimize code further by removing any redundant code such as editor comments, white spaces, double spaces, unnecessary tabs, and any other code that doesn’t impact the creative while adding to the overall message size
- Move unsubscribe link from footer to header of email
- Use to test clipping rates for campaigns before deployment
- Create inbox-specific creative for each campaign with truncated/edited content, tailored to fit the limits of each inbox
- Be sure to avoid copy/pasting from programs such as Microsoft Word, as these programs tend to add extra formatting code to their fonts. Use Notepad or Text Wrangler to normalize the content before pasting into your ESP. This is a good practice regardless of whether or not inbox clipping is an issue for your campaigns
Inbox clipping is a tactic used by popular email clients primarily to speed up the time it takes for an email to load, as well as save bandwidth and storage cost per inbox. This can cause several issues for messages over 102kB, showing recipients only part of the intended message. Use these tactics to ensure your tracking is working effectively, your sender reputation is high, and your recipients see what you intend for them to see.
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