The Benefits of Dark Mode in Email Deliverability


Dark Mode is taking over the digital world. It’s in almost every program, device and browser - and the inbox is no exception. Gmail, Outlook, iOS Mail, and more services announced support for Dark Mode last year. Dark mode will inevitably become more prevalent in the inbox. With so many consumers choosing Dark Mode, it’s vital that your emails continue to appear excellent in this new context.

How It Improves Your Deliverability

When a user configures their inbox in Dark Mode and gets an email that is not optimized for Dark Mode (depending on the inbox and email) one of two things might happen:

  1. The inbox may automatically adapt your email to be Dark Mode compatible. This can grow chaotic and invert colors to the point that the email becomes unreadable.
  2. Nothing is going to happen. Some in-boxes simply enable users to switch to Dark Mode, but this has no effect on how emails are shown.

In contrast to the Dark Mode UI (user interface), your email will show with its original bright depiction, resulting in a bad user experience. Consider the user lying in bed at night, reading their emails, when they are suddenly assaulted in the face with blinding light from your non-optimized email.

Consider how your recipients may respond to these bad inbox experiences. They could:

  • Mark your email as spam.
  • Remove themselves from your mailing list.
  • Stop opening your future emails.
  • Delete your messages without opening them.

These types of recipient engagement signals influence your deliverability. When inbox providers detect these red signs, they may begin filtering your future email into the spam bin or ban your communications entirely. However, if your create Dark-Mode friendly emails that encourage opens, clicks and forwards, you will improve your sender reputation. When inbox providers observe this sort of positive involvement, they will know your communications are requested, boosting the probability that they will be sent to the inbox.

Tips on Using Dark Mode

Test the Designs

Before going crazy trying out new strategies, test your email in both light and dark modes. You may discover that your email already renders properly in both modes. However, because different mailbox providers portray Dark Mode options in different ways, you’ll need to test your emails across clients, devices and browsers.

Using Transparent Images

Transparent graphics and images allow the backdrop color to match the rest of the design. Because a transparent picture does not have a white backdrop, the background of your image will be the default background of any context it is in. This prevents the photos in your email from becoming white boxes on a black backdrop. Looking for the light gray and white checkerboard background in your files is a simple technique to see if an image’s backdrop is white or transparent.

Make Your Logos Optimized

If you’re using a transparent picture for your logo and it’s black, you’ll need to add a white stroke to the black typeface to make it more readable. If you do not, the logo may practically (or fully) vanish.

Try It With Plain-Text Emails

This does not truly “solve” the problem, but it’s an excellent reason to try an alternative email strategy. Whether you’re sending marketing or transactional emails, a plain-text message might occasionally outperform a polished, HTML-heavy email.

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