Test with Inbox Inspector

This feature requires Author user level or higher and is part of paid features.

Email clients can render campaign HTML in different ways. The best way to see the differences is to send test emails to different email clients. MailChimp's Inbox Inspector helps automate this process so you can quickly and easily see how your email will appear in different clients.

In this article, you'll learn how to use the Inbox Inspector and how to read its reports.

Before You Start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • Inbox Inspections are included in Monthly Plans, and cost $3 for Pay As You Go and Free users. Monthly Plan users can run up to 25 Inbox Inspections per week at no cost.
  • There’s a rolling limit on Inbox Inspections. Each time you run an inspection, we’ll check the past 7 days, to the minute. If you reached the 25 inspection limit, wait to test your campaign, or try another testing method.  
  • Inbox Inspector reports are available for 30 days after they've finished running or seven days after the campaign has sent.
  • Purchased inspections include all of the available previews and spam filters automatically. Monthly users will need to choose which email programs will be tested.
  • 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.
  • In order for inspections to run properly, disable customization on the Setup step of the Campaign Builder.
  • Inbox Inspections are run by Litmus.

Use 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

To run an Inbox Inspection on an existing draft campaign, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Confirm step of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Click the Preview and Test drop-down menu in the upper-right corner, and choose Run Inbox Inspection.
    Run Inbox Inspection

Test a Custom Template

To run an Inbox Inspection from a template, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Templates page.
  2. Locate your template, and click the Edit button.
  3. Click the Preview and Test drop-down menu in the upper-right corner, and choose Run Inbox Inspection.

Run an Inspection-Only Campaign

To create a new Inbox Inspection campaign, follow these steps. This campaign type can only be used to test a campaign and cannot be used for sending.

  1. Click the Create Campaign drop-down menu, and choose Inbox Inspection.
    Create Inbox Inspection campaign.
  2. Click Build A Test Email.
    Build A Test Email
  3. On the Setup step, input your campaign information, including subject line, title, and tracking options.
  4. Continue to the Templates step, and choose a template for your test campaign.
  5. Continue to the Design step and build your campaign.
  6. Continue to the Confirm step, and click Run Inbox Inspection.

View Inspection Results

To view an Inbox Inspection report, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Reports page.
  2. Click the Inbox Inspections tab.
  3. 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.

Available Previews

Mac OS Mobile Devices Web-Based Windows
Apple Mail 5 Gmail (Android) Gmail (Explorer) Outlook 2002
Apple Mail 6 Gmail (iPhone) Gmail (Firefox) Outlook 2003
Outlook 2011 Android 2.3 Yahoo! Mail (Explorer) Outlook 2007
  Android 4.0 Yahoo! Mail (Firefox) Color Blindness
  Blackberry 4 OS Yahoo Mail (Chrome) Lotus Notes 6.5
  Blackberry 5 OS AOL Mail (Explorer) Lotus Notes 7
  iPhone 5S AOL Mail (Firefox) Lotus Notes 8
  iPad (Retina) AOL Mail (Chrome) Lotus Notes 8.5
  iPad Mini Gmail (Chrome) Outlook 2000
  iPhone 4S Outlook.com (Explorer) Outlook 2010
  iPhone 5 Outlook.com (Firefox) Outlook 2013
  Outlook.com (iPhone) Outlook.com (Chrome) Plain Text
  Symbian   Thunderbird 3.0
  Windows Phone 8   Thunderbird Latest

Available Spam Filter Checks

  • Gmail
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • AOL Mail
  • GMX
  • Mail.com
  • MessageLabs
  • Postini
  • Barracuda

How to Use Inbox Inspector's Preview Screen

When you review your report, there are a few key things to check for.

  • Be sure the overall message clear, even with images disabled.
  • Your message should appear above the fold in all the email programs, so subscribers aren't forced 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. Check to see if your images are 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.

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