Posts Tagged ‘percentage of people use blocked images’

What is your image to text ratio?Generally, emails that fall into the spam category will contain either all text or all images. If it is the latter, it’s because they try and hide their spammy copy in images so it doesn’t get picked up by spam filters.

Click here to read our PDF that gives you a list of the top spammy words to stay away from…

Here at Jericho we are all about best practices, deliverability and improving your open rates. So a good balance of images to text is the way to go. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this, however an 80:20 ratio is always best. That means 80% of your email should be copy, and 20% images.

Click here to read the SEO Addendum on Text To Image Ratio. It very simply outlines a good text to image ratio.

The next thing to tackle once you have a good ratio of text to images, it to make sure you include alt text against all of the images in your email so that those people that don’t see the images by default can still read what the images are and get an idea of what your email is about. If your alt text is good this often gets the recipient to download the images just so they can see what you are talking about.

One main reason that we always include alt text is because so many email clients are blocking images by default now more than ever. A 2009 report from Merkle states that only 48% of email recipients see images automatically. This means that if an email campaign relies heavily on images, it’s probably not being read by over half of its intended recipients.

Campaign Moniter has a great post about image blocking in email clients -  click here to read their post.

What this all means is that you have to be prepared for the images in your campaigns to be blocked automatically when recipients receive your email. Here are some key points to prepare your email campaign against image blocking:

  1. Begin an email with HTML text or logical ALT text. We can determine what a recipient sees in the preview pane or message window. This means we can optimise what they see when they are quickly scanning through their emails, and make sure they know what your email is about, and are intrigued enough to download the images and or open the email.
  2. Use ALT text. This seems so obvious to us, and it is best practice to include alt text against all of the images in your campaign, however there are many emails that still go out without ALT text.
  3. Use captions for contextually-important images. In lieu of proper support for ALT text across the board, we can add captions to images which are vitally important to the content of an email.

As a closing note, image blocking is something that we all have to take into consideration, especially now when so many email clients do not display images by default, it’s likely that they will either not display in most preview panes, or simply get junked/deleted.

The good news is that there are both practical and highly creative approaches you can take to this issue, most of which are easy to implement. If you have a favorite technique for ensuring your message gets displayed in any inbox, we’d love to hear it.

In the latest MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report (2010), a survey of email recipients found that only 33% have images turned on by default. That means that 67% – or two-thirds of recipients – don’t.

Many popular email clients and webmail providers block images in emails by default for unknown senders, including Outlook 2007 & 2010, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail. When emails arrive in a recipient’s inbox with images disabled, they will be presented with an alert which gives them the option to ‘click to download images’ which will activate images for that particular email only. Most clients also have an option to ‘Always display images for this sender’ but how this works varies based on the software and version.

In Outlook 2007 for example, the image download settings are managed in the Trust Centre. Based on the settings in here, Outlook will automatically display images for email senders which have been previously added to the safe list (this may happen if an email is filtered to the junk mail folder then marked as ‘not spam’) or from senders which appear in a users address book.

If image blocking is enabled in Outlook, there is no way for an email sender to over-ride these settings. The first instance of any HTML email from a new sender will have images blocked by default until the user vouches for the sender by either adding them to their safe list or address book.

screenshot outlook

There are some certification services which will enable default image downloading in certain webmail clients however this can be a costly exercise and there’s no guarantees. Instead I would recommend following these steps to minimise the impact of image blocking:

- Make sure there is HTML text and key messages visible in the preview pane, avoid relying on images too heavily and don’t use images for call to actions.

- Use the pre-header of the welcome email to encourage recipients to ‘add to safe sender’. Some people link to a landing page which provides an explanation on how to do this in different email clients e.g.

- Use the pre-header to convey the campaign value proposition which encourages recipients to download images

UPDATE 18/08/2011:  How to get around disabled images (2010 article)

Preview Panes, Image Blocking : another great article on blocked images (also 2010 article)

Preview Panes, Image Blocking