Outlook 2003 was one of the first major email applications to set image blocking on by default. Many email applications both desktop based and web based have followed suit. In fact these days its better to just assume that images within your email content will not be shown by 50% of your subscribers.
A recent study provided another statistic that all email marketers should find interesting:
“Study Finds Emails of 23% of Retailers Are Completely Unintelligible When Images Are Blocked”
So if its looking bad for images what should you do?
Here are some basic tips that will help your email content be understood by your subscribers even if the images are not displayed:
1) Use ALT tags for all your images. The text within the ALT tag will be displayed if the image is blocked by most (not all) email applications.
Image Blocked but displaying ALT text
<img src=“whale.jpg” alt=“Picture of Humpback Whale”width=“555” height=“599” />
We have seen quite creative ideas when it comes to the text within an alt tag! For example:
“So you don’t want to see the special deal we have for you?”
2) Try and avoid adding important messages and call to actions within images. Using an image for “Buy Now” is not a good idea instead provide a text link.
3) Provide a statement somewhere near the top which could say:
“Best viewed with images on”
A certain portion of your subscribers will have images blocked and have no idea that there is image blocking occurring.
4) Add height and width values for all your images. This is very important if you use images to space or partition your content. If images are blocked and you have not provided width and height values the email application will attempt to guess or default to a height and width which more than likely will not be in your best interests.
5) Avoid adding too many images “above the fold” as this is valuable real estate that will be viewed within the preview pane.