A Basic Guide to Testing HTML Emails

Discussion in 'Noob Central' started by roundabout, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. roundabout

    roundabout VIP

    Feb 17, 2011
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    A Basic Guide to Testing HTML Emails

    Testing and correcting issues in your email is one of the most important steps in the email creation process. It can lead to higher open and click-through rates as well as improved conversion rates. Despite the benefits, though, some organizations skip this step altogether. As of 2012, only 25% of marketers test their emails for accurate mobile rendering and even fewer (23.9%) test all aspects of their email.

    Testing is mostly recommended if you're using your own hand-coded HTML. All of our system templates (both the start from scratch layouts and premium templates) have been thoroughly tested. However, you may still be interested in seeing how your message looks across various email clients.

    With the growing list of desktop and mobile email platforms out there, testing emails in each one is daunting. In this post I'll review how you can effectively and efficiently test your email campaigns across popular email clients.

    Email Client Market Share & Popularity

    Litmus Email Analytics gathers worldwide data on email client popularity. The following lists the top ten email clients and their percentage of the market share as of April 2013:

    #1 - Apple iPhone 23%
    #2 - Outlook 18%
    #3 - Apple iPad 11%
    #4 - Apple Mail 9%
    #5 - Google Android 8%
    #6 - Live Hotmail 6%
    #7 - Yahoo! Mail 6%
    #8 - Gmail 4%
    #9 - Windows Live Mail 3%
    #10 - Yahoo! Mail Classic 1%

    For a current list of the top email clients, visit Litmus' page on Email Client Market Share.

    Other email clients include, AOL Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, among others. iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, make up the bulk of this data. However, many desktop applications, such as Outlook, Hotmail and Gmail, still maintain some of their popularity among email users.

    For a more accurate picture of your audience, you may choose to send a survey to your list members to find out which email client they use to open your messages. With this information at hand, you can make more educated decisions on which platforms to test your campaigns on.

    Email clients can only be detected if the images in the email are automatically displayed. Outlook 2000 and Apple iPhone, for example, display images by default. This likely inflates their market share compared to other email clients such as Yahoo! Mail, which does not automatically display images.

    Testing Your Email Campaign

    In general, slight variations from client to client are acceptable. However, the overall layout should remain the same and the message itself should not look "broken," misaligned, or otherwise distorted. To ensure your email renders correctly across all the major email clients, consider the following options to test your email.

    Email on Acid


    Email on Acid is a self-serve email testing platform that helps you diagnose and improve your email's renderability, deliverability, click-throughs, and conversions. With a free option as well as three fee-based packages, this testing platform allows you to preview your email in 65 combinations of the most popular email clients and mobile devices, and has processed over 23 million screen captures to date.

    Email on Acid (EOA) offers four testing options. You can send your email to your EOA account, cut/paste your URL, cut/paste your HTML, or upload a zip file. The platform supports a massive 7,000 pixels in height and results are stored in your archive for up to 3 months.



    Litmus is a paid service that allows you to preview your email on over 30 email clients and mobile devices. To use the service, you simply upload your email's HTML or send them a test email and within a few minutes you'll see screenshots of your email as it's rendered by the various email clients. Major email clients include AOL Mail, Apple Mail, Gmail, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird, Outlook, and Yahoo! Litmus also shows previews of your email on mobile devices including Android, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Symbian S60, and Windows Phone 7.5. Since Litmus is an independent company, their email testing tools are compatible with any email provider.



    Previewmyemail.com is also a paid service, which takes screen shots of your email on all popular email clients and sends the images back to your within approximately one minute. All screenshots are saved to their data center for years. This platform tests your email on 18 desktop email applications, 23 web-based email apps, and 4 mobile email apps.

    There are four ways you can pass email content to Previewmyemail.com. You can cut and paste the content into your account, upload an HTML file, forward or send your email to a special address dedicated to your account, or integrate with their API.

  2. DKPMO


    Mar 31, 2011
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    Elaborate Underground Base
    I wonder if anyone published more accurate stats based on actual user desktop monitoring.

    Return Path seems like a company that might have this type of data.
  3. Bubbles

    Bubbles VIP

    Mar 21, 2011
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    Round - Have you looked at the Mozify feature of email on acid?
  4. devlin

    devlin Banned

    May 21, 2014
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    How can I list my MS Outlook No.1 it is still on No.2.

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