With at least 61% of consumers preferring to be contacted by brands through email, the importance of having an alternate viewing method is more important than ever. Why? Because if a consumer can’t read the emails you’ve sent, or they are riddled with broken image links, then the email will be received as poor communications and that consumer is likely to head elsewhere to have their needs fulfilled. This is why having a link that clearly states to “View this email in your browser,” or some alternative wording of this message is absolutely vital.
The importance of the “View in browser” link
As odd and clunky as having random text in your email header or footer can look, having a hyperlink stating where users can go should the email not render correctly in their inbox is absolutely essential. While many desktop emails render without a problem, those who use their mobile devices to check their emails tend to run into more issues simply because of the restrictions that are preset into the devices.
With 43% of all email opens taking place on a mobile device, it’s more important than ever to provide consumers with an alternative viewing option, especially for those who are unsure how to change their inbox settings to allow links and images to render properly upon opening.
With a whopping 57% of email subscribers spending an average of 10 minutes to an hour each week browsing marketing emails, you want to ensure that your email is viewable by your consumers. If not, then they are sure to delete your message and move on with little to no engagement at all. This results in not only a lower overall engagement rate but also lower conversions and less money coming in.
Email formatting mishaps
From a consumer’s standpoint, one of the most bothersome issues is receiving an email with formatting and rendering issues. Sure, while some brands may have missed a step in their email creation process, the culprit is often the email provider your consumers are using.
Many email platforms automatically preset inboxes to not show images, or hyperlinked images for safety reasons. However, that makes viewing the email a bit of a pain for consumers, and let’s face it, not everyone has the time or knowledge to go through their email settings to make changes.
This is why having a hyperlinked text option is essential. In most cases, hyperlinking a line of text will be enough to help guide a viewer to your email via their browser. It’s a quick and simple fix for a rather annoying problem.
This example by Adobe Creative Cloud shows a common formatting issue that many mobile device users face, and yes, even many desktop users. The hyperlinked image that is seen on the right appears as a broken image and link in the example on the left. Adobe did a great job of adding in the alternative text; however, to explain the reason the link is essential and why readers shouldn’t disregard the email.
Where is this link usually located?
Now that you understand why you need a “View this email in your browser” link, it’s time to start contemplating where you’d add it to your email. With most marketing emails making creative use of HTML design, it can be challenging to add in this linked text without it looking out of place amongst your design.
The good news is that there is no designated location for this link. That means you have plenty of options for integrating it within the body of your email or simply adding it to the header or footer of your message. Below, we’ve listed a few real-world examples to help get you started.
In most cases, email marketers choose to place the “View this email in your browser” hyperlink in the header of the email because it helps to make it stand out. Most emails have some sort of white space at the very beginning, making a hyperlink stand out without much effort. This is great when an email doesn’t render correctly, and users are frustrated and looking for a quick, simple solution.
In this example by Bed Bath & Beyond, the “View this email in your browser,” hyperlink is located just under their brand name and aligned to the left side of the email. This makes a lot of design sense because readers tend to read top to bottom and left to right. So, should this email not render correctly upon opening, consumers see right away where they can go to view the email in its entirety.
The next most popular location to place the “View this email in your browser,” hyperlink is in the footer. Generally, the footer of the email is where all the important information is located that doesn’t directly pertain to the message, including:
Brand information—legal address and so on
While placing your “View this email in your browser” hyperlink in this section makes sense, it can cause some confusion for a frustrated reader, especially if it is jammed in with a bunch of other small text. The key here is to make your “View this email in your browser” hyperlink stand out.
Goodreads does a good job at making their hyperlink stand out by placing it outside of the email’s other relevant information and giving it its own line amongst whitespace.
Finally, an option worth mentioning for placing your “View this email in your browser” hyperlink is within the body of your email message. This doesn’t happen nearly as frequently as it does within the header and footer simply because it can be troublesome making it fit within your overall design without detracting from your content.
However, Rue21 does a wonderful job of including their “View this email in your browser” hyperlink within the body of their email message. Instead of making it a standalone line of anchor text hyperlinked to the online copy of the email, they hyperlinked it to a navigation bar within their email.
While this is excellent because it still stands out, it can be difficult if the email had issues rendering the block used as the navigation bar. In a worst-case scenario, the designer of this email should have this navigation bar labeled with alternative text telling users where they can go should the email render wrong.
When it comes to adding the “View this email in your browser” hyperlink to your email, there really aren’t any best practices to follow. We’ve already touched on the standard placements of the link, and while in-body and the footer of your email are all valid placement options, you have to ensure that they don’t detract from the message and that they are easily spotted.
While brands often use the standard "View this email in your browser" line, there are several alternatives that can be used to better suit your email and/or your brand’s voice. These options include:
View in browser
Read email here
View full email
View this email with images
While the wording of your hyperlinked text may not seem essential, it really is. In some cases, brands have simply hyperlinked the word “browser” leaving recipients confused as to the purpose of the link. Always ensure that your reader is going to easily understand the purpose of the link before you choose your verbiage.
While consumers may not see the vital importance of the “View this email in your browser” hyperlink, marketers know just how important of a role it plays in not only getting their content seen but in overall consumer engagement.
While the “View this email in your browser,” hyperlink is an important part of the email, it doesn’t have to play a significant part in your overall email design. With that said, here is a quick reminder of where this link can be placed:
Header of the email
Footer of the email
Within the body of the email
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