Managing Director at Silverbean
16 September 2008 15:04pm
I have been in a few discussion recently with regards to the benefits of purely graphical emails against emails which are split with text and images.
I am of the opinion that a purely graphical image is more likely to be flagged as spam but breaking an email into text and images lowers its' potential spam rating.
Furthermore, images often get blocked by filters but use of Alt Tags means that the message is not lost even if the images are blocked.
I first became aware of the issues with purely graphical images about a year ago, and since then have steered clear.
However recently I have been talking to people who suggest otherwise - that there is no deliverability issues surrounding purely image-based emails.
I was just wondering if there had been a change surrounding best practice for image-based emails? And am keen to hear what everyone's thoughts are on these two formats?
E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker
16 September 2008 17:55pm
quick answer: it depends on the spam filter.
Some filters block 'image only' emails because there was a trend of spamers sending emails consisting of just images (obviously it gets around all of the text-based filtering).
In my experience, text&image or plain-text emails usually perform better. (note the word usually!). I've also found that a bit of intro text at the top often increases the open rate on image-only emails (presumably because it encourages people to click the "Download images in this email" button).
As with any 'best practice' - it's best to test it yourself. What applies to me may not apply to you & it's so easy to test email that there is no reason to rely on what other people say works for them!
Hope that helps,
Planning Director at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas
19 September 2008 11:06am
spam filtering is a complex issue and not as easy as just image or no image. You can have just an image in an email and still go through the ISP filters if you are a reputable sender that also uses proper procedures to send emails out.
It is more of a question of end user filters and client set ups. OL 7 may block the image if this is the default setting, but at least there will be a prompt at the top for the user to unblock it. And, as you said, well-written Alt Tag copy will help there.
I've used image-only emails before and got some interesting results. For a big travel operator client we found that image-only email pulled in lower volume of bookings, but the individual booking value was much higher. It seems that that particular approach pulled in better quality consumers.
I would say, pay attention to who is the audience you are sending emails to: are they likely to have newer or older computers, are they more technically savvy or not, which email clients they are more likely to be using (web-based or local) etc.
All of that should point you towards the less risky option (as there is not a fully risk-free one in this space, I'm affraid).
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