BY JAINA MISTRY With more than 100 million active accounts, Mail.ru is the largest email provider in Russia. If you’re sending emai...
BY JAINA MISTRY
With more than 100 million active accounts, Mail.ru is the largest email provider in Russia. If you’re sending email to subscribers in Russia and Eastern Europe, it’s likely that a significant portion of your subscribers opens their emails in the Mail.ru web client.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that many Litmus customers have asked for Mail.ru support in the past, and we’re excited to announce that Mail.ru is the most recent client addition to Litmus Instant Previews in Checklist and in Builder.
Are you just getting started with optimizing your emails for Mail.ru? We’ve already done the groundwork for you and took a detailed a look at Mail.ru’s inbox and how it renders emails. Here’s everything you need to know:
THE MAIL.RU INBOX VIEW
Mail.ru follows a very simple folder structure: Inbox, Sent, Draft, Spam, and Trash. All incoming emails are sent to the inbox folder. Unlike other inbox providers, like Inbox by Gmail, Mail.ru does not sort any incoming messages into different folders or tabs. There also isn’t a Read folder. Emails that have been opened don’t get moved into a separate folder, but remain in the main inbox.
With all incoming emails being sent to the inbox and read messages remaining in this view as well, the inbox can easily become crowded. Timing your campaigns so that they hit the inbox when your subscribers are likely to open and crafting a powerful subject line is key for every email campaign, but it gets even more important for making your email stand out between personal messages, read emails, and competing promotions in the Mail.ru inbox.
SUBJECT LINE AND PREVIEW TEXT
The Mail.ru inbox shows the from name, subject line, and preview text. While most inbox providers limit subject lines to a specific maximum length, with mail.ru this isn’t the case. Subject lines aren’t cut off after a specific number of characters. Instead, the number of characters displayed is only limited by the width of your browser.
Similar to Gmail, preview text is displayed next to the subject line by default. The number of characters shown depends on both the length of the subject line and the width of your browser window.
Users, however, have the option to disable preview text in their inbox settings. In this case, the inbox only displays the from name and the subject line.
ADS IN MAIL.RU
Similar to other free email providers, Mail.ru displays ads in the inbox. Ads appear both on the left-hand side and at the very top of the inbox. Mail.ru’s inbox doesn’t have a preview pane. Clicking on one of the messages in the inbox brings the user directly into the message. Ads are also displayed in the message view.
HOW DOES MAIL.RU RENDER YOUR EMAILS?
We didn’t find too many surprises when running Mail.ru through our series of tests.
CSS IN THE <HEAD>
Every email developer’s dream is to be able to stop inlining CSS and move all their CSS into the <head>. With Gmail rolling out support for styles in the head of the email, we’ve gotten a whole lot closer to this goal, and the great news is that Mail.ru supports CSS in the <head> as well. Perfect if you like to style your links with a hover-over effect, or would like to apply default styling to all links.
Mail.ru does not, however, support media queries. Media queries alter the design or structure of an email to accomodate for different sizes of device/browser windows. As Mail.ru doesn’t support media queries, if your email width is larger than the size of the window, expect some horizontal scrolling. Implementing a hybrid/spongy email coding technique would counteract this, as hybrid/spongy doesn’t rely on media queries to alter the structure of the email depending on the device/browser width.
IMAGES ON BY DEFAULT
In the Mail.ru inbox, images are on by default for all emails, and users are unable to change this in their settings. This is great news for email rendering and open tracking, which loads a small pixel-sized image to monitor whether an email has been opened
Email accessibility fans will be happy to hear that ALT text is supported in Mail.ru. ALT text benefits users who use screen readers when browsing the web, but it also offers context when images aren’t displayed in an email. As images are on by default in Mail.ru, the ALT text may not be seen as often as if the user had the option to have images-off. Despite this, ALT text should remain an important part of your email, to ensure your email remains accessible to all users.
ANIMATED GIFS ARE A GO
Like most email clients, Mail.ru fully supports animated GIFs. With a lack of support of embedded video, the animated GIF is a great fallback to provide subscribers with some visually engaging content.
BACKGROUND IMAGE SUPPORT
Background images are fully supported in Mail.ru, without the need to use any hacky code. You can simply use in your CSS:
CSS properties background-repeat, background-position and background-size are also supported in Mail.ru, allowing you to combine live text with background images for more accessible emails.
Think of progressive enhancements as those added bonuses you can implement in your email to elevate the design. Though they’re not vital to get your message across, for those email clients that support them, you can use them to surprise and delight your subscriber.
BORDER-RADIUS IS SUPPORTED
The CSS property border-radius is used to create rounded CTA buttons in email. While not a vital part of an email design, it’s definitely nice to have. It’s good news, then, that border-radius is supported in Mail.ru, ensuring your CTAs with rounded corners stay that way when rendered.
NO SUPPORT FOR VIDEO IN EMAIL
As with almost all email clients, embedded video in email is not supported in Mail.ru. With video’s limited support, it’s recommended to link to your video from your email, rather than embedding it into the email itself.
Mail.ru’s handling of videos linked to in email is something new–videos open up in a modal-window rather than a whole new web browser window.
Email marketers should love this feature, as it makes it easier for the subscriber to go back to the email by simply closing the pop-up!
STICK TO WEB SAFE FONTS
Take a careful look at the font stack in your email, as web fonts are not supported in Mail.ru. Mail.ru’s handling of web fonts is similar to Gmail, in that it will simply choose the next web safe font in your font stack.
If your email design does rely on web fonts, be sure to use an appropriate web-safe font that closely matches your web font. Match serif web fonts with serif web safe fonts, and the same with sans-serif. Ensure that the overall look and feel of your email doesn’t change from when the web font is rendered to web safe font.
NO INTERACTIVE EMAIL FOR MAIL.RU
Current interactive email techniques rely on the use of radio button or checkbox techniques combined with CSS to bring interactivity to email. Sadly, Mail.ru does not support either of these techniques, which means no interactive email for Mail.ru users.
Having a suitable fallback for email clients that don’t support interactive email is a necessity, so be sure to test how your fallback displays with our Instant Previews.