Powering the grid
Gmail is apparently ready to dramatically change the rules of selection for marketing emails. The Gmail blog has described a 'more visual way to view your Promotions tab' but everyone else is describing it as the Pinterest style coming to the Gmail Promotions tab. ClickZ offered a good explanation of how the new design will work along with specifications for exactly what Gmail will display.
Gmail is not leading towards simply shrinking or cropping an image of the actual email. In fact, the Zettasphere performed an early test showing how the image displayed by Gmail doesn't even have to be appear in the email (along with the possibility of finding out which Gmail users looked at the tab without reacting to the email). Marketers are being given control over their display through Gmail's offer schema markup. Marketing Land offered a more marketing friendly explanation of the technology involved as well as advice on how marketers can use it to stand out. The most concise 'replace and paste' instructions were included in a Smart Insights post.
Traditional subject lines will be included but have clearly been demoted. The ability to advertise has, of course, gotten a lift. The image in the prime upper left of the example provided by Gmail is an ad for Airbnb. The paid inbox display potential was discussed by the blog 360i.
Marketers can try to get an early look at the new display by signing up to become part of the test.