Gmail Caching & Email Marketing

In a move to protect it’s Gmail users and offer more convenience, Google plans to begin caching all email images through their own servers, beginning early 2014.  As far as Gmail users are concerned, this is a great change.  No more clicking to “display images” in your emails.  Faster load times.  More privacy.  All positives for users.  It has a slightly different effect on email marketers, however.

How This Impacts Email Marketers

In the past, clicking “display images” in your emails sent a request to a server somewhere for those images.  This let the owner of said server see information about you such as your email client, device, and more.  With the upcoming change, however, marketers will no longer see these requests from individual users — only Google.  The only way, moving forward, that email marketers will be able to track use is through users who click links in their emails.  So, in the interest of staying competitive, email marketers are going to have to change to survive.

New Email Marketing Strategies

If clicks are the only way you can measure response, then that means one thing: calls to action.  If your email features special offers, promote them!  If your email is a newsletter, headlines are going to be more important than ever.  Emails linking to blogs will likely benefit from enticing teasers.  The bulk of your content probably shouldn’t live in the email anymore… at least not if you want to track it!

2014 Email Caching

As we’ve discussed, the change is a solid positive for Gmail users.  But aside from the user-friendliness of the change, we can’t help but look at the other factors affecting Google’s decision to change Gmail caching.  Notably, how big of a blow it is to email marketers.  Maybe the move is meant to push more people towards AdWords.  Maybe Google is thinking about rolling out their own email marketing platform.  Who knows?  It will be interesting to watch play out.  But in the meantime, it might be beneficial to brush up on your headline writing skills…