Embedded images versus delivery

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?

One Comment

  1. Posted December 10, 2007 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “we should think about what is the most important element in email marketing, design or deliverability?”

    That did make me think a bit.

    I think everybody would agree that deliverability is the answer to your question.

    Then again, you should consider the message. Even if it is getting delivered…is it getting read?

    Make sure that your core message is text. In other words, don’t have your message or call to action in the image. Many won’t EVER see it.

    I get tons of email per day. If the email doesn’t grab my attention or I have to figure out what the message is about, I quickly delete.

    Many big name companies make the mistake of sending out their messages in an image. I see it all the time.

    I have image blocking on my Outlook email client and some of the messages I receive appear to have no message at all (the image is blocked). I have to click a link to activate the images….

    Do you think I’m going to go through the trouble? Probably not, if I don’t have a clear understanding of what the email is about when I start to read it.

    Just something to think about.


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