I got an email from Google+ yesterday and saw some odd characters in the preview snippet.
The “inbox preview snippet” (or “inbox snippet preview” or “preview snippet” or “snippet preview” or “snippet” etc.) is where your email client grabs a line or two of the copy from the email and pops it after or beneath the subject line in the inbox.
I had a quick look through the code to see if anything shouted at me but didn’t get anywhere, so after a full minute of looking I turned to twitter with a screenshot.
Within 30 seconds I had a reply! “Yay!” I thought, but it was James Dempster from Cobb Digital with a joke … he is funny though.
A few minutes later I was replied to by the legend of Mark Robbins telling me it was emoji!
I returned to the message and looked deeper. I found that what I had thought was two images, badly aligned, either side of a title, was actually two shooting star emoji characters.
So when Gmail grabbed the copy from the message, it had grabbed the emoji as normal characters and rendered them normally, be it with a different emoji set but it does open a door or two.
Many people like to add a hidden block of text in the top of their body code so they can control this snippet without having it affect the experience once the email is opened.
I think I need to check out how this looks in other snippet showing inboxes and see how useful this can be at getting attention.
Emoji in the subject line is not a new thing and can help if you don’t over do it – more of a novelty thing really.
Personalisation in the subject line, is a similar thing; when done well and not too much it is effective.
Personalisation in the snippet preview is a lot safer, because whilst it shows up in the inbox its not the subject line and as a snippet of the start of the message, it leads the user into the email, building momentum to get the open. So emoji in the snippet could a useful creative tactic.
Time will tell I suppose.