Blocked images on incoming e-mails present problems for marketers

Publication: Internet Retailer
April 10, 2008
By Paul Demery

With many consumers blocking images on incoming e-mail, marketers must be prepared to use other means to engage their audiences, according to a new study from SubscriberMail.

A 2007 study by the Email Experience Council found that 21% of reviewed e-mails appeared blank when images were turned off. But a recent study by e-mail services provider SubscriberMail showed that responses improved when an e-mail message was optimized to have an impact even when images are not displayed.

In the SubscriberMail study, an e-mail message not optimized for image suppressions was sent to a test panel of about 50,000 subscribers, while a version of the same message optimized for non-graphical display was sent to another panel. The optimized version saw an 87% increase in clicks, according to SubscriberMail.

SubscriberMail suggests five ways to create a compelling e-mail message even when images are disabled:

·          Design e-mails to have key messages displayed as text above the fold, or in the top half of the message as seen by the recipient. Also consider placing key messaging in text form near the upper left hand corner where readers are most likely to look first.

·          Use HTML to code colors into your e-mail to make it more attractive to recipients not displaying images. An HTML color field hidden behind an image will be displayed, allowing the response link to stand out, if a graphical response button is blocked.

·          Use the “Alt Text” attribute to display a message that otherwise would not be visible if using generic alt-text descriptions such as “image 1.”

·          Include a link at the top of the e-mail message that leads to a web-based version of the marketing message. This opens the message in a browser so that all graphics are intact, and adds convenience for recipients by not requiring changes to their e-mail preferences.

·          Incorporate optimization techniques in e-mail service provider templates to address image suppression.

SubscriberMail discusses image suppression issues in a white paper “The Great Suppression: 5 Strategies to Engage Audience Members with Image-Suppressing Mail Clients.”

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