Email clients can render campaign HTML in different ways. The best way to check that out is to send test emails to different email clients. MailChimp's Inbox Inspector helps automate that process so you can quickly and easily see how your email will appear in different clients. In this article, we will cover how to use the Inbox Inspector and how to read its reports.
- Using the Inbox Inspector
- Inbox Inspector options
- View Inspection results
- How to use Inbox Inspector's preview screen
Using the Inbox Inspector
The Inbox Inspector can be run in two ways: an existing campaign can be tested before sending, or an inspection-only campaign can be created solely for testing purposes.
Test an existing campaign
If you're looking to test a campaign you plan to send later, you can run your Inbox Inspection after your campaign is built in our Campaign Builder, created from a custom template, or imported from a zip file. To test an existing campaign:
- Create a campaign using your template or the Email Designer.
- Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder, and build the HTML version of your campaign.
- Move on to the Plain-Text step and build the plain-text version of your campaign.
- When you're finished creating the campaign, navigate to the Confirm step of the Campaign Builder.
- Click Preview & Test in the top right of the screen, and select Run Inbox Inspection from the drop down.
Test a custom template
It's also possible to run an inbox inspection directly from the code view of an imported template. To run that inspection, follow these steps after importing your custom template:
- Navigate to the Campaigns page.
- Select My Templates from the top right of the screen.
- Locate your template, and select Edit Code from the drop down menu below it.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click Run Inbox Inspection.
Run an inspection-only campaign
On the Campaigns page, you can choose an Inbox Inspection campaign type. This campaign type can only be used to test a campaign, and cannot be used for sending. To create an inspection-only campaign:
- Click the Create Campaign drop down menu and select Inbox Inspection.
- Select Build a Test Email to proceed.
- Enter campaign information such as subject line, title, and tracking options on the Setup step.
- Create the HTML version of your campaign in the Design step.
- In the Plain-Text step, build your plain-text campaign.
- Navigate to the Confirm step once the campaign is built.
- Click the Run Inbox Inspection button in order to generate the report.
Inbox Inspector options
Before running the Inbox Inspection, you will be prompted to provide a few pieces of information.
- If working in a Pay As You Go or Forever Free account, you will need to confirm billing information before proceeding. Purchased inspections include all of the available previews and spam filters automatically.
- If you're working in a Monthly account, you will be prompted to choose which email programs will be tested. The automatic option will pick the 10 most common email clients for your list as determined by user agent data. Lists without user agent history will instead pick the 10 most common email programs.
- If you select manual client selection instead, you can pick which email clients you would like to test with. This is great if you only want to test how your email looks on a mobile device or if you just want to test spam filters. For some email programs, you can choose to see previews in different browsers to see how the browser affects the way things look.
- Once your clients have been selected, click Run Inbox Inspection in order to start the inspection. A confirmation page will appear once the processing has started. The inspection hits test inboxes in real time, so it can take a while (generally from 15 minutes up to 2 hours) to complete processing.
View Inspection results
Inbox Inspector reports are available for 30 days after they've finished running or 7 days after the campaign has sent. Deleting a campaign will remove its inspection. There are a few ways to access Inbox Inspections that you've already run.
- On the Campaigns page, click the Edit drop down menu next to the campaign and choose Inbox Inspection.
- On the Reports page of your account, choose the Inbox Inspections heading and click View Report for the Inbox Inspection you'd like to view.
In the report, you'll find the different variations of each email client selected. For example, you'll be able to look at Outlook 2003 with images on and images off as well as see what your campaign might look like if someone is viewing in the preview pane. This lets you see the quirks of individual email clients.
- Apple Mail 5
- Apple Mail 6
- Outlook 2011
- Gmail (Android)
- Android 2.3
- Android 4.0
- Blackberry 4 OS
- Blackberry 5 OS
- Yahoo! (Android)
- Outlook.com (Andoird)
- iPhone 4S
- Windows Phone 7.5
- Gmail (Explorer)
- Gmail (Firefox)
- Gmail (Chrome)
- Yahoo! Mail (Explorer)
- Yahoo! Mail (Firefox)
- Yahoo! Mail (Chrome)
- AOL Mail (Explorer)
- AOL Mail (Firefox)
- Outlook.com (Explorer)
- Outlook.com (Firefox)
- Outlook.com (Chrome)
- Outlook 2002/XP
- Outlook 2003
- Outlook 2007
- Color Blindness
- Lotus Notes 6.5
- Lotus Notes 7
- Lotus Notes 8
- Lotus Notes 8.5
- Outlook 2000
- Outlook 2010
- Outlook 2013
- Plain Text
- Thunderbird 3.0
- Thunderbird latest
Available Spam Filter Checks
- Yahoo! Mail
- AOL Mail
- Message Labs
How to use Inbox Inspector's preview screen
Once the inspection report has been generated, there are a few main things you'll want to check for.
- Is the gist of the message clear even with images disabled?
- Does your message appear "above the scroll" in all the email programs, or are you forcing people to scroll down just to read your content? You can click any thumbnail to zoom in and see exactly where the "email fold" is on a 1024x768 screen.
- Many people view email in their preview pane, and don't bother opening your message at "full screen." Take a look at these preview screens, and see if your logo or any key portions of your content gets cut off.
- Some email programs will block images if content is determined to be spammy. Are your images being hidden?
- If working with a client or other team members, you can print a report of all of your screenshots on paper or as a PDF in order to share the test results.
This feature is available to users with Author level or higher permissions. Take a look at this article to learn more about the different access levels for a MailChimp account.
Inbox Inspections can have trouble running if recipient name customization is enabled. Disable customization on the Setup step of the Campaign Builder by unchecking Personalize the "To:" field.
The Inbox Inspector feature is available to all Monthly paid accounts. Up to 25 inspections can be run per week at no cost. Forever Free and Pay As You Go plans can purchase a single Inbox Inspection for $3.
Spam filter inspections can't test for spam filtering based on subscriber engagement, your subscribers' overall history of opening and clicking on your campaigns. It's a good idea to make sure list engagement is high, in addition to running an Inbox Inspection. A great way to get a baseline reading of list engagement is by checking out your subscribers' member ratings.
Inbox Inspections are run by Litmus.