Are images a bad thing in marketing emails?

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There are different schools of thought when it comes to using images in email. There are many people that think you should minimise the usage.

However these are normally given from a functional and technical point of view. From a marketers point of view we know that images say a thousand words and are aspirational.

So what are the reasons given by people for minimising the use of images? Lets go through them one by one and analyse if they are an issue.

Images give you a spam score

Yes they do but not much of one. As long as your entire email is not image based and you have a reasonable amount of text this should not be an issue. Indeed as deliverability is moving away from content towards reputation filtering this will become less important anyway.

Images get blocked

While images get blocked consumers are savvy enough to display them. Just because images do not get displayed immediately does not advocate not using them as when they are displayed they are more effective than just text.

Images can take a long time to download

We are not living in 1999 anymore, most consumers have broadband connections. It’s true that more people are using mobile but even these connections are reasonable and mobile email clients are generally optimised to make the experience with HTML email smooth. And let’s face it mobile email clients are a tiny fraction of who will read your email anyway.

So we have dampened these negative claims about images but is there anything we should be aware of when using images?

You should still make sure your email is not over-reliant on the images being rendered. There needs to be sufficient text in the email to grab the attention of the recipient and explain what the email contains. Our rule of thumb is text is fine up until you feel you are making compromises by not using images.

If you are still not sure which route to go down, why not send a split test!

About Chris Minett

Chris has worked as a Developer in our core Maxemail development team since 2010. He joined Emailcenter in June 2008 as Campaign Manager and moved to managing & developing custom data integration projects for our larger clients in July 2009, taking the role of Implementation Manager. Follow on for more email marketing insights.

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