While the release of the eagerly-awaited Apple watch is finally upon us, it’s left many email marketers and designers questioning how exactly their emails will display on the watches 38mm screen.

While it’s hard to gauge the long-term success of Apple’s latest innovation, email marketers should be aware of how this gadget may impact the future of email campaigns, and subsequently how they should be developing their emails to ensure they display effectively.

Plain text is making a comeback

Should the Apple Watch detect any remote of linked images within the email, it will display a long (full screen) warning; “This message contains elements Apple Watch can’t display. You can read a text version below.” Although the plain text version will be displayed below, the user will have to scroll down to read it. This means that to reach your audience that are opening on an Apple Watch, you must have a plain-text version of the email.

Emails without a plain text version won’t render

Failing to include a plain text version of your email will display the following message, “The full version of this message isn’t available on Apple Watch. But you can read it on your iPhone.” Given the size of the watch, ensure your plain-text version provides condensed and digestible content. What’s interesting, however, is that the name, subject line and pre-header text is pulled from the HTML and displayed.

Links are disabled

It’s important to remember that the Apple Watch hasn’t been designed to browse the internet, and as such any links included in emails will be disabled and displayed in greyed out text. Any displayed addresses, however, will link to Google Maps, and recipients will also be able to click on any displayed phone numbers to make a call. Without the use of links as CTAs, brands should look at alternative ways to create any CTAs.

Opens won’t be tracked

As a result of the watch only displaying plain text emails, marketers won’t be able to track email opens, since tracking opens requires images loading in the recipients inbox. Marketers should instead think of alternative metrics to measure success, while being aware that you may notice a decline in your overall engagement metrics.

Create personal and meaningful emails

The Apple Watch hasn’t been designed to display lengthy html email versions, rather it favours a more personal approach, subsequently making it difficult for brands to engage with their audience via this channel. The challenge is, marketers can’t predict which device their message will display on (or attempt to display on), and therefore must create meaningful plain text emails for each message.

“View on iPhone” replaces “View in Browser”

While it’s not possible to include links in your email, the more the contents of your email is compelling and resonates with your audience, so that they change viewing device to take action.

Real-time triggered messages

While perhaps not entirely relevant to B2B brands, it’s worth acknowledging that the Apple Watch provides some benefits to marketers that otherwise may not be possible. The devices’ geo-fencing feature enables email and SMS notifications to be sent to nearby Apple Watch users, providing brands with a significant opportunity to notify individuals of product information and deals, and guide them into stores.

There is no denying that the arrival of the Apple Watch will impact your email campaigns, but it worth noting that several email service will soon be providing email testing for Apple Watches. If you would like any help implementing a successful email strategy, give us a call today on +44 (0)1243 531123, or send us over an email to mike@napierb2b.com.