Some marketers embed images in their proper e-mail message, to prevent that their readers have to ‘download pictures’ first.
Without the deliverability issue, this is a well thought action. Unfortunately, adjusting attachments (like images) will highly increase the chance that your email is reported as spam. Another topic on this blog tells you more about inserting attachments in your newsletters.
Knowing this you have to decide what’s most important for your company. Delivering the message, or make sure that the few emails that will arrive with embedded images can be viewed immediately.
Most of the common used email clients and ESP’s made ‘download pictures’ a standard in their applications. Gmail, Live, Outlook 2003 & 2007, Yahoo, you name it and they use this function. Thanks to this initiative it becomes a basic step for every e-mail reader. Personally, I don’t think a lot of people have problems with this extra step, because they realize it is done to protect them from unreliable content.
An argument from ‘embedded images-fans’ is that the reliability of the open rate decreases, because a lot of receivers do read the message, but do not download the pictures. It is true that most email reporting tools count email open rates by tracking a small picture. But again here, we should think about what is the most important element in email marketing, design or deliverability?