What Is Email Rendering and How Does It Affect Your Emails?
By Emil Kristensen CMO
@ Sleeknote

In the world of email marketing, email rendering refers to the process of displaying a message on various devices, such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Email rendering matters because the way your email is displayed can affect the success of your email campaign. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of email rendering, its impact on email deliverability and engagement, and how you can optimize your emails for better rendering across different platforms.

Understanding the Basics of Email Rendering

When you send an email, your message has to go through many different stages before it reaches the recipient’s inbox. One of the most critical stages is email rendering, which involves formatting your email in a way that ensures it displays correctly on all devices and platforms. This involves coding your email with HTML and CSS, which the email client then interprets and displays to the recipient.

One thing to keep in mind is that different email clients use different rendering engines, which can affect how your email looks when it’s displayed. For example, Gmail uses its rendering engine, while Outlook and Apple Mail have their rendering engines.

It’s important to test your emails across different email clients and devices to ensure that they display correctly. You can use email testing tools to preview your email in different email clients and see how it will look to your recipients. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep your email design simple and avoid using too many images or complex layouts, as these can cause rendering issues on certain email clients.

Why Email Rendering Matters for Deliverability and Engagement

The way your email displays on various devices can impact your email deliverability and engagement. If your email looks broken or unreadable on a recipient’s device, they’re more likely to delete it or mark it as spam. Email rendering also affects your engagement metrics, such as opens and clicks since if the message is broken, people won’t be tempted to engage with it.

It’s important to note that email rendering can also impact your brand’s reputation. If your emails consistently display poorly, recipients may begin to associate your brand with low quality or unprofessionalism. On the other hand, if your emails consistently display well and provide a positive user experience, recipients are more likely to view your brand in a positive light and engage with your content in the future.

The Differences Between Desktop and Mobile Email Rendering

Desktop and mobile devices display emails differently. Desktops tend to have larger screens and more powerful rendering capabilities, while mobile devices tend to have smaller screens and lower processing power. It’s essential to cater to both when designing your email campaign. For example, you’ll want to use larger fonts and images for desktop users but smaller ones for mobile devices.

Another important consideration when designing your email campaign for both desktop and mobile devices is the layout. Desktop users may prefer a more complex layout with multiple columns and sections, while mobile users may prefer a simpler, single-column layout that is easier to navigate on a smaller screen. Additionally, it’s important to optimize your email for mobile devices by using responsive design, which adjusts the layout and content to fit the screen size of the device being used.

Common Issues That Affect Email Rendering

There are several common issues that can affect email rendering, such as broken links, images that don’t display correctly, and formatting that doesn’t translate across devices. Another common issue is spam filters, which can sometimes flag messages with certain formatting as suspicious and send them straight to the recipient’s spam folder.

In addition to these common issues, it’s important to consider the accessibility of your email content. People with disabilities may use assistive technology to access their emails, and if your content is not optimized for accessibility, they may not be able to fully engage with your message. This can include using descriptive alt text for images, providing clear and concise language, and ensuring that your email is compatible with screen readers and other assistive devices.

Tips for Optimizing Your Emails for Better Rendering

To optimize your emails for better rendering, you should always code with HTML and CSS best practices in mind. For example, use tables instead of div tags for layout, use alt tags to describe images, and optimize images for faster loading times. You should also test your emails across various platforms, using tools like Litmus or Email on Acid, to ensure they display correctly on all devices.

The Importance of Testing Your Emails Across Different Devices and Platforms

Testing your emails across different devices and platforms is crucial to ensure that they display correctly and engage recipients. By testing your emails, you can identify issues such as broken links or images that don’t display correctly and address them before sending your email campaign. Additionally, you can ensure that your message looks great on all devices, improving your chances of engagement.

Tools and Resources for Improving Email Rendering Performance

Various tools and resources can help you improve your email rendering performance. Email testing tools such as Litmus or Email on Acid can help you test your emails across different devices and platforms. Meanwhile, email coding resources such as the Email Standards Project can provide insights into best practices for coding your message for optimum rendering across various devices and platforms.

How to Ensure Your Emails Stand Out in the Inbox with Effective Rendering

To ensure your emails stand out in the inbox, you should focus on effective rendering that looks great across all devices and platforms. Pay attention to details such as formatting, typography, images, and layout, and ensure that your message remains clear and concise. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of engagement and drive better results for your email campaign.

Future Outlook: What’s Changing in Email Rendering and How to Keep Up

As technology continues to evolve, so does email rendering. In the future, we can expect more advanced rendering engines that can display multimedia content, such as video and animations, and more advanced typography options. To keep up, you should stay on top of the latest trends and best practices and continue to test your emails across different devices and platforms. Additionally, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest industry standards, such as the latest CSS and HTML versions, to ensure your emails remain compatible with the latest rendering engines and devices.