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New Developments in Email Marketing [Report By eMarketer]

Hotmail & Gmail Only Allow Limited Use of CSS

eROI created a test email blast to see what the limitations of HotMail and GMail are in terms of CSS.

Here is what they found:

GMAIL

  • Ignores all styles in &ltstyle></style> tags. It doesn't matter if they are in the &lthead> or in the &ltbody>

  • Does render inline styles, with the exception of:
    • a. Background Images

    • b. Specific Heights

  • Doesn't display ANY images by default. It needs to be activated by the reader to "include external images". Make sure that you use complete alt tags to illustrate the images with text placeholders. Be careful as to the extent of the words you use as your competitors can server Adwords alongside your email based on the keyword index.

  • When displaying external images, it does render traditional background images correctly, for example: &lttd background="image.gif">, as well as height and width.

  • Ignores BODY background images.

HOTMAIL

  • Ignores everything in the &lthead></head> tags, including &ltstyle></style> but will render &ltstyle> tags that are in the &ltbody>

  • Renders inline styles, except:
    • a. margins (which is unexpected)

    • b. background images

    • c. does render specific heights

  • Does render traditional background images correctly, for example: &lttd background="image.gif">, as well as height and width.

  • Ignores BODY background images.

So, if you're creating an HTML email or template, here's the formula for success:

  • Use Tables

  • Use Inline CSS, padding, borders, fonts, colors, but NOT background-images or margins

  • If you need background images, they only work in TD table cells, coded traditionally, not CSS.

  • &ltbody> background images... won't work. Better to have a big Table width 100%, height 100% with a background in the TD.

  • Need a specific height? It'll only work as a traditional &lttd height="x"
    width="x"> not CSS.

  • Use images for text as little as possible and if you do, make sure that you use good alt tag descriptions of the images.
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