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Skyrocket Your Email Open Rate with Gmail Annotations

In the digital age, emails are a primary mode of communication, especially in the business world. With billions of emails sent and received daily, standing out in a crowded inbox is a challenge. However, there’s a secret weapon that can significantly boost your email open rates, yet it’s surprisingly underutilized — Gmail Annotations. This feature can make your emails pop and grab your recipient’s attention like never before.


What are Gmail Annotations?

Gmail Annotations are a feature designed specifically for promotional emails. They allow marketers to include additional information about their promotions, which is then displayed in the recipient’s inbox, making the email stand out. This feature is only visible to Gmail users who view their inbox in the ‘Promotions’ tab.


The Power of Gmail Annotations

The beauty of Gmail Annotations lies in their ability to provide a snapshot of the email content without the recipient having to open the email. This can include promotional offers, images, expiration dates, and more. By giving a sneak peek of the exciting content that awaits inside, it entices the recipient to click and open the email.


Imagine your email standing out in the sea of promotions with a vibrant image, a compelling offer, and a sense of urgency created by an expiration date. This is the power of Gmail Annotations. They not only enhance the visibility of your emails but also enrich the user experience by providing relevant information upfront.


Types of Annotations

There are two main types of annotations that you can use to enhance your promotional emails:


1. Deal Annotations: These display text-based details about a promotion, such as a promotion code or expiration date. You can create a deal annotation by adding a script tag in the head section of your email’s HTML that includes the data type “DiscountOffer”.



<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN">
<html>
<head>
<script type="application/ld+json">
[{
"@context": "http://schema.org/",
"@type": "DiscountOffer",
"description": "DESCRIPTION",
"discountCode": "DISCOUNT_CODE",
"availabilityStarts": "START_DATE_TIME",
"availabilityEnds": "END_DATE_TIME"
}]
</script>
</head>

<body>
// The message of your email
</body>
</html>

2. Product Carousels: These display multiple image previews for a promotion. You can include up to 10 image previews in a carousel, and each image must be unique. To create a product carousel, you add a script tag in the head section of your email’s HTML. For each image in your product carousel, you add a “PromotionCard” object.


<!DOCTYPE htmlPUBLIC"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN">
<html>
<head>
<scripttype="application/ld+json">
[
// Build the first image preview in your product carousel:
{
    "@context": "http://schema.org/",
    "@type": "PromotionCard",
    "image": "IMAGE_URL1",
    "url": "PROMO_URL1",

    // Optionally, include the following PromotionCard properties:
    "headline": "HEADLINE1",
    "price": PRICE1,
    "priceCurrency": "PRICE_CURRENCY1",
    "discountValue": DISCOUNT_VALUE1,
    "position": POSITION
},

// Build the second image preview in your product carousel:
{
    "@context": "http://schema.org/",
    "@type": "PromotionCard",
    "image": "IMAGE_URL2",
    "url": "PROMO_URL2",

    // Optionally, include the following PromotionCard properties:
    "headline": "HEADLINE2",
    "price": PRICE2,
    "priceCurrency": "PRICE_CURRENCY2",
    "discountValue": DISCOUNT_VALUE2,
    "position": POSITION
}

// To include more image previews, add additional PromotionCard objects.
// You can include up to 10 image previews in a product carousel.

]
</script>
</head>

<body>
// The message of your email
</body>
</html>

Why Aren’t More People Using This?

Despite the clear benefits, it’s surprising that Gmail Annotations are not more widely used. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of awareness about this feature or the misconception that it’s complicated to implement. However, the truth is that with a little bit of learning and experimenting, anyone can start using Gmail Annotations to enhance their email marketing strategy.


How to Implement Gmail Annotations

  1. Understand the Requirements: Gmail Annotations work only for promotional emails and are visible only in the ‘Promotions’ tab. They also require the email to be in a specific format. It’s important to understand these requirements to effectively use this feature.

  2. Create Your JSON-LD Script: JSON-LD is a lightweight Linked Data format that allows you to embed structured data in your emails. This is the script that contains all the information you want to display in the inbox. Google provides a handy tool called the “Markup Helper” to help you create this script. You can include details like the offer title, description, image, validity, and more in this script. Learn about it here — https://developers.google.com/gmail/promotab/overview#json-ld

  3. Test Your Emails: Before you send out your emails, make sure to test them to ensure the annotations are displaying correctly. You can use Google’s “Email Markup Tester” for this purpose. It’s also a good idea to send a test email to yourself and check how it appears in the ‘Promotions’ tab.

  4. Monitor and Adjust: Keep an eye on your email open rates and adjust your strategy as needed. Remember, what works for one audience may not work for another. It’s crucial to continuously test different types of annotations, monitor their performance, and tweak your strategy based on the results.

Gmail Annotations are a powerful, yet underutilized tool that can significantly boost your email open rates. By providing a sneak peek of your email content directly in the inbox, they entice recipients to click and open your emails. So why not give it a try? With a bit of effort and creativity, you can make your emails stand out in the crowd and skyrocket your email open rates.


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