Have you noticed some emails standing out with carousels in the Gmail promotions tab? Or additional details of deals offered are displayed in the inbox? It’s a lot to do with Google annotations! Whether you are a beginner seeking to optimize your email campaigns or a seasoned professional looking to fine-tune email strategies, you may find Google annotations useful! So how can you increase your email performance with Google annotations? Let’s learn more about annotating your emails for the Gmail promotions tab.
Understanding Gmail Promotions Tab
Before we start annotating emails, it’s crucial to understand what the Promotions tab in Gmail is all about. Remember when Gmail introduced those pesky tabs back in 2013? Yeah, the ones that turned our world upside down! 🙃
So this tab was designed to filter promotional emails, separating them from the primary inbox. While initially, everyone dreaded seeing their emails land in the Gmail promotions tab; now, it doesn’t look like it’s a bad thing at all! Especially now that you can do some fun stuff with Google Annotations.
The Power of Google Annotations
So, what exactly are Google annotations, and why should you care? Imagine having more than just a subject line and preview text (OK, and the sender name) to entice your readers. With email annotations, you can add crucial information to preview the content of your emails, making them much more visually appealing in the inbox itself. And being able to stand out in the Gmail promotions tab is a very good thing.
Email annotations could enhance your email messages within the Gmail Promotions tab by incorporating engaging elements like images, deals, and expiration dates. By annotating your emails, your subscribers (who use Gmail accounts + tab system) could interact with your emails without even opening them. 📨
It adds an extra layer to what email elements your subscribers can interact/engage with in their inboxes. Gmail users can simply click on the annotated text or image to discover more details about the promotion, eliminating the need to open the entire email!
Is this a good or a bad thing? Thoughts? While that’s a totally awesome new way of driving traffic to your landing pages/products, I am a bit sad for email marketers who spend so much time on their beautiful campaigns – your subscribers may skip the email opening step completely!
And before we continue, a little disclaimer: even if you annotate emails, it does not mean they will show up for your every customer. Unfortunately, that’s now how it works.
Technical Stuff: Annotate Emails with Google Annotations
To implement email annotations, you can utilize JSON-LD and Microdata. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, JSON-LD? What’s that? Microdata? HTML code? No thanks.”
Actually, Google has made it surprisingly rather-not-super-complated for us. They have a handy tool that generates the code for your Gmail annotations. All you have to do is tweak the code snippet to showcase the data you want to highlight. And, of course, place it in your email HTML. You can annotate emails to display the following features in the Promotions tab:
- Deal annotations
- Product carousels
Google’s Documentation on Google Annotations
Google provides comprehensive documentation on Annotations for Gmail. Visit the Google Workspace to understand the available annotation types, how to format them, and the requirements for each. Once you get a general idea of the types of annotations available and how to implement them, you can add the necessary code to your email templates.
Creating Google Annotations Step By Step: Deal Annotations
Deal annotations display text-based details about a promotion, such as a promotion code or expiration date. To create a deal annotation follow these steps:
- Open your email’s HTML editor in your ESP (email service provider).
- Add a script tag in the head section of your code – the one that includes the data type DiscountOffer. The code will look similar to this.
- You will need to replace some of the code with your values (the properties are actually optional: you could either include a value or simply omit the property from the code).
- DESCRIPTION (Optional): this bit of text may be displayed with the deal badge, such as 10% off or Free shipping.
- DISCOUNT_CODE (Optional): discount_code should be used to showcase your offer’s discount or promotion code, such as NEWSUBSCRIBERPROMOCODE123.
- START_DATE_TIME (Optional): It shows the date and time when the offer begins. Remember it’s in ISO 8601 format (so the date should look like this 2023-09-25T12:10:25-07:00).
- END_DATE_TIME (Optional): Use this to show the end date and time of the promotion. Again it’s in ISO 8601 format.
And, remember, you don’t need to write all this manually. Go to the Google Workspace/Developers page for Google Annotations, find the code, and click on the bits you want to edit. Here’s a link to the Deal Annotation section. It may look very technical, but it’s definitely doable!
Annotate Your Emails Step By Step: Product Carousels with Google Annotations
You’ve probably seen them in your inbox: beautiful product carousels that display multiple image previews for a promotion. Here’s an example provided by Google itself:
You can include up to 10 image previews in a carousel! Important: each image must be unique. So, to create a product carousel in your emails with Google Annotations, follow these steps:
- Open your email HTML editor in your Email Service Provider.
- In the head section, add a script tag. Remember, for each image in your product carousel, you should add a PromotionCard object. Your code should resemble this:
- Again, no need to rewrite this code manually. Go to the Product Carousel section in the Google Developers’ page dedicated to Google annotations (link below) and replace the values in the pre-written code.
- There will be optional properties in the code, where you can either include a value or delete the property from the code.
- IMAGE_URL: The URL to your image, such as https://www.website.com/image.png. The image should be in PNG or JPEG format. Important: the supported aspect ratios are 4:5, 1:1, and 1.91:1. When building a Google Annotations product carouse, each image must have a (1) unique URL and (2) use the same aspect ratio.
- PROMO_URL: this is where you should add the URL for the promotion. When your subscribers click on the image from the Promotions tab, they visit this URL.
- HEADLINE (Optional): use an opportunity to add a headline. This space is for a 1 to 2-line description of the promotion. It will be displayed under the preview image.
- PRICE (Optional): use this if you want to add the price of the promotion.
- PRICE_CURRENCY (Optional): this is for adding the currency of the price. The format to use is the 3-letter ISO 4217, such as CAD, EUR or USD. It will determine the currency symbol that will be displayed with the price.
- DISCOUNT_VALUE (Optional): you can use this space to showcase your discount value. It’s basically the amount subtracted from the price to display a new, adjusted price. This “adjusted price” will be shown next to the original price.
- POSITION (Optional): use this for the card position in the carousel.
Again, while there is quite a lot of code and adjustments to make to finalize the annotation, you do not need to rewrite everything manually. Just edit the code in the given code snippet on the Google Workspace page. And remember, some of those values are optional, so you can delete and shorten the code if needed.
Final Thoughts: Bring Your Emails in Gmail Promotions Tab to Life
Looking ahead, Google annotations have tremendous potential for email marketers and subscribers too. Imagine standing out from the crowd with hyper-personalized emails! So now, you have unlocked the secrets of annotating emails for the Gmail Promotions tab. Now go forth and make your emails shine like never before! 🌟 Whether you’re new to the email marketing game or a seasoned pro, Google annotations could be your golden ticket to success. And here’s a bonus read: best practices for images for your Google Annotations.