Gmail New Promotions Tab Guide
This blog post was originally published on the 3rd of April, 2019, updated on the 20th of January, 2020.
Due to the annotations in Gmail promo tabs, recipients will be aware of the deals, coupons, and sales that you offer even before opening your emails.
A good way to motivate recipients to open emails, isn’t it?
Important to note:
The annotation works in Gmail, on mobile devices only. You may rest assured, it does not distort the appearance of your emails in other email clients, as well as in Gmail when displayed on desktops.
What is the Gmail promo tab and why do you care?
In February 2019, Google announced the launch of the New Promotions Tab in Gmail. This means that from now on email marketers can highlight their value offers in customers’ inboxes. Recipients get to see your brand name, items that are on sale, preview image, the amount of the discount, and the end date of the sale.
See how a famous Ukrainian brand Rozetka uses this option:
These annotations certainly grab customers’ attention. The chances are many more recipients will notice your value offer.
And if they like the data provided in this annotation, they will open your emails.
In other words, Google gives us more opportunities to be heard and seen. But it depends on us whether we use this opportunity right.
The chances that emails with annotations will get lost among other emails in recipients inboxes significantly decrease.
How to generate Gmail annotations for your emails with Stripo
There are, currently, two ways to do it: way 1 — for those who build emails with Stripo, and way 2 — for those who need the embed code for external use.
Way 1. For those who build emails with Stripo
The entire process is as simple as that.
Once your email is finished, you need to:
Step 1. Activate the annotation option
Click the Settings button above your promo template, then toggle the Highlight emails with Google Promotional Annotations button;
You may scroll up to set the subject line and the preheader text. It will be displayed next to your brand name.
You may also do it in your ESP/CRM.
Step 2. Enter your offer details
This step is optional. But if your discount is really generous, why not share the details here?
Toggle the Display offer badge button — then enter the amount of your discount into a respective field.
Toggle the button below if you are going to provide users with promo code in the very annotation.
You will see the changes above your template right away.
Step 3. Set the end date of your discount offer
Just like the previous step, this one is also optional. For instance, Pinterest uses annotations just to show the pins they think “I might like”.
But if you are going to send a promo email with sales, then you might really need to set the end date.
So, toggle “Set the end date of your discount offer”
In the dropdown calendar, pick the necessary date, then time (the HH/MM format). Then set the time zone;
Step 4. Upload promo image
Toggle the “Include a promo image” button. Then upload your image.
We intentionally skipped the “Include sender logo” button because you’ve probably set the brand logo in your ESP.
However, if you upload another logo here, it is likely to prevail over the logo you've set in your email service provider.
Your email is ready to go!
Now you may export it to your ESP.
All these settings will stay active in your ESP after export. Proven :)
(Built with Stripo, sent via eSputnik)
Way 2. For those who need the embed code for external use
If you need an embed code to use in any other tool or in your ESP directly, please go to the Gmail Promotion Annotations Builder. Here, you need to:
Step 1. Enter sender name
Why would you do it? Just in case, you did not set one in the ESP(s) you constantly use;
Step 2. Enter email subject line
Same here. This data will be shown only if you have not set any subject line in your ESP. The best practice is when the subject line you enter in our annotations generator repeats the subject line you are about to use for the entire campaign;
Step 3. Insert a URL to your logo
The logo you upload now will appear next to the email of yours in Gmail’s Inbox if you have not set any in your ESP/CRM;
Step 4. Insert a URL to the promo image
Toggle the “Show promo image” button. Then in the field that appears, paste the link to your promo image. Make sure it’s in the .png or .jpg format;
Step 5. Specify the amount of discount
Toggle the “Include a discount offer” button. Then specify the amount of your discount and specify the code that customers will need to get your products at lower prices.
Note: if you do not want to use any codes, just leave this field empty. And recipients will only see the amount of the discount;
Step 6. Set the end date of the sale
Toggle the “Specify your code expiration date” button. In the dropdown calendar, pick the necessary date, where the current date will be highlighted in yellow, and the expiration date will be highlighted in green. Then set the time zone;
Step 6. Preview your annotation
On the right from the settings panel, you see the email annotation that you’ve created;
Step 7. Generate the code
If you like what you see, click the “Generate my code” button;
Step 8. Copy the embed code
Copy either JSON format or Microdata format — they both work well in our editor;
Step 9. Paste the code in your email template
To paste the embed code in your email, you need to open an HTML code editor;
Then insert the code where necessary:
JSON goes to the <head> of your email,
and MicroData goes to the <body> of your email.
Must confess, I added the MicroData format to the <head> of my email and it still worked :)
Done! Your email is ready to go!
Here’s what I got in my Gmail inbox.
(Example of email annotation in the Gmail promo tab)
Please, watch our short video to see how to create annotations for the promo tab in Gmail.
As we can see, setting up the Gmail promo tab with Stripo is really simple. But where do the annotations work and who will see them in their inboxes?
Email annotations best practices
Google thoughtfully provided its users with the complete guide for the new promo tab in Gmail, where we found the following best practices:
Requirements for the annotation image
Your email gets more chances to get to the Top Picks when the annotation goes with the product image. Its size has to be 538 x 138 px, or stick to the 3.9:1 ratio.
Do not reuse annotation images, as the image may be disregarded for being duplicated.
Requirements for the dates
If you set dates that already expired, your email will not appear in the Top Picks. Luckily, Stripo takes care of it — it is impossible to set expired dates.
Requirements for the deal badge
Just 6 words: short and straight to the point. This is your call to action.
And your duty is to encourage customers to open an email once they get to see this call to action.
Requirements for the logo image
It should be square, preferable size is 144x144 px.
How to enable annotations in the Promotions tab Gmail
We know that 27% of internet users worldwide prefer Gmail over other email clients. But it does not mean they all will see your brilliant encouraging offer annotations in their inboxes.
Here’s the list of mandatory conditions:
First of all, it should be an HTML email.
It has to be a Promo newsletter, read “bulk emails”.
Your ESP reputation matters. Only emails from reliable sources appear in Top Picks.
Recipients’ inboxes should be categorized.
Newsletter emails should be delivered to the Promo tab (annotations are never shown in the Primary or Inbox folders).
It should get to Top Picks.
Actual dates — emails get to Top Picks twice: on the day they were sent and 3 days before the expiration date.
Annotations work on mobile devices only.
Some say that if your email has been opened, it will not appear in the Top Picks section again. Not really! It does appear as a reminder over and over again along with other emails.
How do your emails get to the Promo tab?
It is said that bulk emails due to a number of links, images, the unsubscribe options get straight to the Promo folder. However, there are still some chances that your emails will go to the Primary folder. Which is also great :) When your email gets delivered to this folder, it is more likely to be read.
Do you remember the world went obsessed when Gmail just announced its Promo Tabs in 2013? Everyone wanted to deliver emails directly to the Primary Folder. But these new Promotions tab in Gmail is actually a good reason to stop worrying about whether your emails get to the promo or primary folder. Only when we do everything right, our emails have bigger chances to be opened.
To enable Annotations in Gmail, you need to generate the embed code with our tool — our code is already adapted to the Stripo.email editor. Paste it in your email template. And your email is ready to rock!
The great news is that there are no restrictions on ESPs — none of them cuts this code off.
Gmail gives us the great opportunity to stand out in recipients' inboxes. Let us use it right!