Android Messages received a few new updates over the past several months. Most notably, they improved how links get displayed.
The newer versions of Android Messages use Google's new Material Theme design, giving the app a much cleaner look than before. And as you’ll see below, links come with a preview box.
Latest Version (3.7)
When tapped, the preview image displays—similar to what an MMS would do. It also includes the headline and description if that information is available.
In case you're wondering, these are real text messages from Next Departure, an SMS subscription service that alerts customers when they find great flight deals. Here’s what it looks like after we tapped the preview link.
Expanded Link Preview
How can I control my image preview?
Before sending an SMS campaign, make sure to test your link on an Android device. If your feature image isn’t showing up or if it isn't the image that you want people to see, then here are some things to try:
Upload the image to your web page’s featured image settings
Upload the image to an online file storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Cloudinary. Then, take the image link and place it inside the content section of this code snippet: <meta property=”og:image” content=“https://insert-web-link-to-your-preview-image-here” />. Copy and paste this code inside the <head> tag of the web page you are linking to
If Android Messages can’t find any images to use, then it’ll display “Preview not available”. The link should still work, however.
Disclaimer: Mandatory do’s and don’ts
To take advantage of these link previews, here are some additional guidelines:
Make sure your image is set properly (use the tips above to help)
Start your web link with http:// or https:// in your text message
Place your web link at the very beginning or at the end of your text message
Use only 1 link inside your text message
The process can be a little tedious, but if you get it working, it should help improve your click through rates and conversions.
As Google moves closer to the launch of Rich Communication Services, you will see additional changes and improvements to Android Messages. Let us know how it goes for you!