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Gmail Email Clipping | How Developers Can Avoid It

There is a lot going on in the email world right now – *eh hem* Apple Mail Privacy Protection. But I figured we’d take a moment to look at an email client behavior that’s been around for a while - Gmail email clipping.

What are we talking about here? When you send an email to Gmail, they will sometimes chop off a part of it and replace it with a little link at the bottom that says “[Message clipped]  View entire message”

You and your team spent time and energy designing, coding, and writing this email for your audience and now they may not see the whole thing. And that sucks.

Even worse, if your unsubscribe link gets clipped, when subscribers can’t find it, they’re more likely to hit the spam button. As with email deliverability, it’s worth a little more work to ensure that subscribers can experience your full message.

What triggers Gmail email clipping?

The email geek community has done an amazing job of sharing information on this issue for the past few years. What we've discovered is that there are two things that trigger your Gmail’s clipping: HTML size and non-ASCII characters. 

The first is fairly well known – if your email’s HTML is larger than around 102KB, Gmail is going to cut it off. After analyzing over 6,000 emails, I found that 5.5% were over 102KB! The exact size when Gmail decides to clip your email isn’t totally consistent. Sometimes the clipping will happen with emails that are smaller. Plus when your ESP modifies your code, such as when it inserts tracking links, it’ll increase the size of your HTML. So a good rule of thumb is you should try to stay below 80KB.

It is worth noting that 100KB is probably the intended limit. In fact, AMP for Email has a documented limit of 100KB. 

The second is less known and less common – non-ASCII characters. Some important context: ASCII and UTF-8 are character encoding standards, the underlying way computers understand text. UTF-8 contains all the special characters you’d want to use such as the copyright symbol (©) or accented characters (é) while ASCII contains a much more limited set. If your ESP doesn’t encode your email using UTF-8 you are likely to run into this problem if you use any special characters.

How do you fix Gmail email clipping?

The first step in avoiding Gmail email clipping is to test, test, test! It’s always a good idea to send a live version to your inbox and as well as use an email preview service. Two great tools to help you with this are Parcel and Email on Acid. After all, there’s no point in trying to fix this issue if it isn’t there!

If Gmail email clipping does shows up in your test, try these three steps to fix it:

1. Use an HTML minifier

An HTML minifier will remove comments, whitespace, and really anything else that isn’t tied to the content of the email itself. Just be sure to use one made for email so you don’t accidentally strip out MSO conditional comments! Parcel has a minifier built in to help you with this exact problem!

2. Remove bloated code

If your email is still over the 102KB limit and is getting clipped even after using a minifier, it’s probably time to look at your template. Does it have a lot of code compared to the content? It might be time to look at modernizing your template. Good Email Code by Mark Robbins has lots of good snippets that are accessible, render well, and are extremely lightweight.

3. Encode your special characters

Lastly, if your email is comfortably under the 102KB limit, encode your special characters into HTML entities. There are plenty of tools online that can help you do that with a click of a button.

Happy sending!

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