What’s going on with Annotations?

2/20/2023 UPDATE: Gmail has published the new version of Annotations. New blog post coming soon with all the details, and updates for PeakInbox to support the new code

If you have been wondering why you haven’t heard much about Annotations from PeakInbox for the better part of 2022, it is because they have been pretty quiet over there at Gmail. 

For the time being, Gmail is not displaying Annotation images that senders set using the Annotations code. 

We have been using Annotation images since November 2019 – seeing 10-20k Annotations image views per send for some clients. Today we are not seeing any Annotations being displayed at all – this is so consistent that we no longer include an Annotation image on our end.

So, we checked in with Gmail to see what was happening. Gmail confirmed that . . . 

“[Images have] been disabled for the time being due to some upcoming format changes in the Promo Tab … this feature will return with a more common image format/size.”

Starting in mid-2022 we began to see what is likely a test of the new “more common” image format that Gmail mentioned. In all the emails we were able to review, there was no Annotation code. So it is safe to assume that Gmail is auto parsing the images. Here are some examples:

This one from @ on Twitter is really interesting as it slides:

One other note, in late 2021 we posted on Twitter about Product Cards (https://twitter.com/bsisolak/status/1375182056263544832). The code for that specific format was removed from the official Gmail Annotations site in late-2021. We don’t have any update on the potential future of Product Cards. 

While it is clear the Gmail is still evolving their approach to Annotations, PeakInbox will continue to keep tabs on what is happening and be ready so that when they return, email marketers will have a go-to tool for Annotation analytics, A/B testing, and Inbox Previews.

For now, all other components of Annotations still work: description, discountCode, availabilityStarts/Ends, logo and subjectLine. While we wait, we encourage senders to continue to use those elements as they do provide a value add.

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