Test with Inbox Inspector

This feature requires Manager 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.

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

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

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:

  1. Create a campaign using your custom template or the Campaign Builder.
  2. Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
  3. When you're finished creating the campaign, navigate to the Confirm step of the Campaign Builder.
  4. Click Preview and Test in the upper-right of the screen, and select Run Inbox Inspection from the drop-down menu.
    Run Inbox Inspection

Test a Custom Template

It's also possible to run an Inbox Inspection directly from the edit view of an imported template. To run that inspection, follow these steps after importing your custom template:

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

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:

  1. Click the Create Campaign drop-down menu and select Inbox Inspection.
    Create Inbox Inspection campaign.
  2. Select Build A Test Email to proceed.
    Build A Test Email
  3. Enter campaign information such as subject line, title, and tracking options on the Setup step.
  4. Select a template from the Templates step.
  5. Create the HTML version of your campaign in the Design step.
  6. Navigate to the Confirm step once the campaign is built.
  7. Click the Run Inbox Inspection button in order to generate the report.

Inbox Inspector Options

Before you run the Inbox Inspection, you will be prompted to provide a few pieces of information.

  • If you have a Pay As You Go or Forever Free Plan, you'll be prompted to confirm your 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.
    Manual Client Selection
  • 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 seven 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.

  1. On the Campaigns page, click the Edit drop-down menu next to the campaign and choose Inbox Inspection.
    view inspection
  2. 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.

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

Once the Inbox Inspection report has been generated, there are a few main things you'll want 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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