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Gmail and Google Apps will Begin Supporting Responsive Design

email marketingAs mobile devices become more prevalent, people are using them for reading their email messages. According to a recent study from, 56% of emails were opened on mobile devices in April 2016, as opposed to 19% opened on desktop computers.

With so many potential customers opening emails on mobile, it is essential that marketers optimize their email marketing for easy viewing on tablets and smartphones as well as desktop computers. Up until now, though, email marketers have had to optimize their emails for mobile using time-consuming manual tactics. Google has just made delivering size-adapting emails easier with their announcement that in September 2016, Gmail and Google Apps email will begin supporting emails created with responsive design.

What is changing?

Previously, if email marketers wanted to send emails that fit the screens of smart phones or tablets, they had to manually change the sizes and proportions of images, links, calls-to-action and so on. Gmail has just announced that both Gmail and Inbox by Gmail will now allow for emails developed with responsive design coding. In other words, emails will dynamically adapt to the device on which they are being viewed so their content automatically fits the size of the screens.

Here is why this is significant: when emails are not optimized for mobile use, the content within the emails might appear distorted, forcing readers to zoom in or out to read the message or click on a link. When emails are optimized for mobile devices, images and links automatically adjust so they are easier to view on a smartphone or tablet.

What this means for email marketers

To put the significance of responsive email design into context, consider this: according to research by Adobe, 39% of people will stop engaging with a mobile site if images take too long to load and 38% will stop engaging with a website if the layout is unattractive.  This means that when promotional emails are easy to read you add almost 40% to your target email audience.

Here is what Gmail’s announcement means for marketers:

  1. Greater access to prospects: Gmail has one billion users worldwide and 75% of Gmail users access their accounts through mobile devices. This new capability represents an opportunity for email marketers to target millions of potential customers with emails that are easier to read and therefore more compelling.
  2. Higher Read Rate: According to research by, 42% of consumers said they would delete an email if it did not display properly on a mobile device. This change will make emails easier to read and interact with, which will prevent messages from getting automatically deleted.
  3. More compelling content: Gmail will now support larger, touch-friendly buttons and automatic image resizing. Calls-to-action will be more compelling which can lead to increased click-throughs.
  4. Save time in campaign development: Email marketers and designers will no longer have to struggle with creating mobile-optimized emails through manual programming such as using CSS inlining, templates, or manually adjusting sizes and proportions. One-size-fits-all emails means faster development and deployment times.

How does this impact you? A wise move would be to review your current methods of creating emails and then analyze and plan how you will use the new responsive design capabilities in the future. With Gmail able to automatically adapt text, images and calls-to-action that fit the mobile device upon which it is read, the opportunity to create compelling and action-inducing emails has grown significantly. Careful planning can lead to campaigns with greater response rates.

According to research by the Radicati Group, more than 80% of global email users are projected to access their email on mobile devices by the end of 2018. Therefore, it is of no small consequence that Google has just improved the email user experience and results for Gmail users and email marketers. A smart marketing department will begin examining their email campaigns and create means and methods to take advantage of this change.

If you would like to take advantage of this improvement in Gmail’s capabilities, come talk to us. The email marketing experts at KEO Marketing are always ready to help you maximize the results of your email campaigns. Contact KEO Marketing or call us at 888.702.0679.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.