AppleWatchYou may not have thought about making your emails look good on an Apple Watch, but a recent survey tells us that email is one of two top uses for that device, with 72% of users checking email or monitoring fitness using the device.

This survey asked Apple Watch users specifically about how they interact with promotional email and some 90% report their behavior is either unchanged or that their engagement with promotional emails had in fact increased. Respondents were given the option to say that they now ignore or delete promotional email more often, but very few responded that way.

So what does this mean for you? If you haven’t already done so, you may want to get busy and figure out how to ensure your email looks great on an Apple Watch.

Our friends at Litmus recently published a blog post about a way for email marketers to send more richly formatted emails to display on the Apple Watch, emails that land somewhere in the middle between plain-text and fully rendered HTML content. In the post, they make the statement that “ESPs don’t support this yet”; while that may have been true at the time of Litmus’ posting, here at SparkPost, we know that’s no longer true.

Our own testing with our SparkPost service (self-service and Elite) has given us a clear indication that we are capable of sending properly-crafted messages for display on the Apple Watch. Further testing indicates that such mail also presents exactly as it would be expected to at various consumer mailbox providers. We think this is kind of a big deal, and we want to let all current and prospective customers know about it.

As Litmus describes, the keys to proper formatting are as follows:

  • The message must have at least three MIME parts – text/plain, text/html, and text/watch-html. The name of the third is arbitrary, but must begin with “text/”.
  • The text/html part must be last part of the message, and it must include at least one remote image.

The end result of such a message is that while the Apple Watch will use the text/html part for the preview text in the Inbox View, when it comes to display the full message, it will interpret the remote image as meaning that the message is too complicated to display, and will instead display the next best thing, the text/watch-html part. The text/watch-html part doesn’t support anything close to full HTML, but it’s better than just plain text.

When compared to smartphones, tablets, or desktops, the total screen display area for the Apple Watch is quite small, and so there might not be much bang for the buck for you in creating another version of your campaign for display there, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide. In any event, here at SparkPost, we are happy to support customers who want to target that platform.

P.s. If you decide to try sending email on Apple Watch through SparkPost we’d love to hear from you. Email us at

Image credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock