Best practices

Gmail: How to prevent email clipping?

Natalia Zacholska, 7 September 2021

Email clipping, which often occurs with Gmail, can cause many problems. Not only it generates fewer conversions, but can also negatively affect deliverability by not allowing you to precisely estimate the results of your campaign. So let’s explore the main reasons for email clipping and what you need to do to make sure your messages always display correctly to Gmail recipients.

Email Clipping: why can it hurt your email campaigns?

One of the biggest problems with email clipping is that your subscribers won’t see the full content of your emails – the entire message is only available when they click the “View Full Message” button. Additionally, the tracking pixel, which is usually located at the bottom of the email, can become clipped, making it impossible for you to accurately track the open rate of any given email.

It turns out that clipping can also have a negative impact on deliverability. The unsubscribe button is usually placed at the bottom – so if the recipient decides to unsubscribe from an email and can’t find the button (because the email has been clipped), he or she can mark the email as SPAM, diminishing your reputation with the provider as a result.

What is the cause of email clipping in Gmail?

An in-depth analysis of Gmail has identified two main reasons for message clipping. The first one is fairly well known and concerns exceeding 102 KB. However, it turns out that Gmail is not very consistent about this because sometimes much smaller messages are clipped. For this reason, some advise that the upper size limit should be set at 80 KB. It’s also worth remembering that using Link tracking functionality automatically increases the size of the HTML file.

The second issue is far less obvious and relates to the ASCII character encoding system. ASCII and UTF-8 are character encoding standards: UTF-8 includes all special characters, such as the copyright symbol (©), whereas the set of supported characters for ASCII is much narrower. So if your ISP doesn’t encode emails using UTF-8, and you use special characters that belong outside the ASCII table, you end up increasing the chances that the email will be clipped.

5 rules to avoid email clipping in Gmail

1. Limit the number of characters

Minimize your code by removing non-printable characters, double spaces, line breaks and tabs. There are also online tools that can automatically reduce the size of emails, such as HTML Minifier and HTML compressor. At the same time, avoid using URL shortening services – the presence of links generated by them can cause spam filters to reject your message.

2. Change the template

If the automatic minimization didn’t help and the size of your email still exceeds 102 KB, it’s worth checking out the template: if it turns out that the message contains too much code in comparison to the content, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to change or upgrade it.

3. Remember about tests

Testing is an essential step to avoid message clipping. It’s always a good idea to preview a test version of your email before sending it out. It’s also good practice to verify the technical aspects of your mailing. By using, for example, we’ll be able to test deliverability and make changes as indicated, minimizing the chances that your message will end up in the SPAM folder.

4. Include only necessary information

Include only relevant information in your emails. Add hyperlinks to enrich your message with additional data. At the same time try to avoid copying and pasting content from your word processor program or website. Such action may result in adding additional formatting code.

5. Avoid sending test emails with the same subject line

Do not send test emails with the same subject line. Gmail usually combines such emails into a single series, increasing its final size as a result.

Mail Clipping: summary

Creating compressed emails with relevant content that matches your target audience will help you avoid message clipping on Gmail. It’s also a good idea to preview and verify the size before each send. Remember that many factors can cause your email to exceed the 102 KB limit, and the most common include poorly optimized content or unstructured code. Importantly, by following the rules listed above, you will be able to increase your CTR, better analyze your campaigns, while avoiding marking of your emails as SPAM, which will help maintain the high reputation of your infrastructure.

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