You may have noticed that some companies have their own logos in the Gmail App in place of the circle with the first initial. In the above screenshot of the Gmail app on the iPhone, you can see that I’ve sent an email with the AMPscript.com logo along with two other Ads below that (Harry’s and Nectar Mattress).
In the screenshot below, you will see the default image that is used if you don’t specify a logo — which is just the first initial of the sender and random background color. An example of “S” with a green background for Salesforce Marketing Cloud and a “M” with an orange background for Marketing Cloud Product Update.
To be able to stand out as a marketer, you’ll want to use your company logo so that you can have a branded email and that your end-users can trust that it’s coming from you. This is done by annotating for Gmail promotions tab where you can embed microdata in the emails that are sent out.
Google accomplishes this using Schema.org markup in the emails that you send to your customers. Schema.org is a standardized markup vocabulary used by Google and other companies like Microsoft for Hotmail, etc. Besides just the logo, you can use Actions and Highlights. Actions allow users to interact with you product or service right inside Gmail — quick actions like RSVP and Check-In. Highlights allow you to surface key information in your email such as order information, delivery, hotel/restaurant reservations, etc.
Note that Marketing Cloud strips the JSON-LD script (<script type=”applications/ld+json”>), so you will need to use Microdata.
I won’t go too much into detail on the different Actions and Highlights, but I’ll provide some examples below. My favorite tool to generate annotation markup is using this Gmail Promotion Tab Markup Tool.
Custom Logo for Gmail
Below is the code to point to a custom logo in Gmail. Note that the image is hosted on Marketing Cloud and that it is a secure page (https:). Also the best dimensions to use is 48×48 pixels.
Below is an example of a Deal Badge that can be displayed on the Promotions Tab:
The Gmail > Email Markup documentation page provides very detailed documentation on testing the markup language. There are a few things to note when implementing this:
- Create a special Gmail testing account for testing — ending in email@example.com, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Be sure to use an https URL for the logo
- More on Best Practices
- Google has an Email Markup Tester which is very helpful in checking if there are any errors in your code
- There are several tools out there that help you generate code: Litmus Gmail Promotions tool and Fresh Inbox Gmail Promotion Tab Markup Tool
- When testing, you may have to manually move the email to the Promotions folder and then mark it as new. Close and reopen the Gmail app for it to show up.
- For SFMC, you’ll need to use the Microdata markup instead of the JSON-LD Script (which will get stripped)
- When you’re all done testing and ready to go, you will need to Register with Google for approval and to whitelist your domain.
Because SFMC strips the JSON-LD. It can be wrapped in a TreatAsContent function to be used for the Google Promotions Tab:
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments about using the schema.org markup for the Gmail promotions tab.