Just like with web browsers, you would expect an email to look the same, regardless of where it’s viewed. And, just like web browsers, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other companies with email clients have differing priorities, affecting how they choose to display an email message. While we test for broad compatibility with Gmail, Mail for Mac, Mail for iOS, and Outlook for PC, it’s important you test your design in multiple email clients.
What are the most common email clients?
According to Litmus, in 2017, 28% of emails were opened using Mail for iPhone, followed by 26% for Gmail (web and mobile apps), and Mail for iPad (11%). Just 6% of emails were opened using Outlook (PC and Mac).
Further, 47% of emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. Just 17% of emails were opened on a desktop using an email client like Outlook or Mail for Mac. 36% of emails were opened using webmail, which spans computers, tablets, and smartphones.
What does an email look like rendered in the major email clients?
Mail for Mac and Gmail.com are nearly perfect, although Gmail.com has inserted extra spacing in the email, pushing the footer down ever so slightly. In Mail for iOS, the email smartly wraps the text to adjust to the width of a smaller screen. In Outlook for PC, the font has been replaced, and the orange Register Here button at the bottom doesn’t display properly. Both are due to how Microsoft renders the HTML code.
What email client should I target and test?
If you know a majority of your guests use a particular email client, you should build and test emails targeting that email client. If you aren’t sure, or have a broad base of users, use one of Event Farm’s templates, which are built for broad compatibility. They are also responsive, which means they will scale and re-size automatically based on the size of the screen the email is being viewed on.
What else should I know about targeting and testing?
In addition to there being multiple email clients, each email client has multiple versions. Things that look great in Outlook for Windows 2016 may look slightly different in Outlook for Windows 2007. Using a graphic as your invitation is a tempting option - it will look the same for everyone. However, an email that is only a graphic is more likely to be marked as spam. We recommend targeting your design for where most guests are likely to open it, with the knowledge it will look different in older or obscure email clients.
Are there known issues with emails in a particular email client?
As shown above, Outlook for PC and Windows 10 Mail are the most finicky. Microsoft does not render the HTML code of the email as-is, which can result in additional spacing, images not appearing at the size set in the email design, and more. If you need to target Outlook for PC, create a 1x1 table, and create your design within the table. Outlook tends to render these much more gracefully, with minimal impact on how other email clients render the email.
What if images aren’t loading?
Check your email client settings to see if loading images is turned off. If your or your guests’ email client is set to not load images, they will need to change their settings, or select a button within their email client to load the image. This is a good reason to have plenty of text, and not rely solely on a graphic or image to show event details.