One In Three Aren't Seeing The Full Picture -- Time To Work On Imaging Permissions

One of the Internet's biggest ironies has to be that as speeds have improved and technology has evolved, the experience has become more visual. Could you imagine Netflix a decade or so ago running on dial up? Yet at the same time, email -- the marketing channel that predates these advances -- is the one that struggles the most in an era of visual marketing. 

Recent research goes as far as to estimate that only around two in three emails (69%) will currently arrive with images unscathed in your lists' inboxes. The rest will have visuals restricted, often accompanied by a button that the recipient can click on to download images from the sender. Of course, most do not, and so that means nearly a third of emails will arrive with blank squares where you were hoping the latest amazing photography would persuade the public to click to find out more. To add insult to injury, without the images downloading, it's unlikely that even an email that made it to the preview pane will be considered unopened, although a recipient may have taken a long look at the message that accompanied your latest piece of content.

So armed with the fact that as much as a third of your audience will not have images displayed, it's time to get into the habit of using ALT tags to describe what those images are, so the worst case scenario is an offer, say, for this season's must-have cocktail dress range comes with descriptions in the empty box that the blank spaces would show the frocks in question in various colours, if images were enabled.

The latest research should serve as a reminder that email marketers should be redoubling efforts to include an opt-in to become a contact added to the recipient's email address book backed up by an explanation on the sign-up form, which makes it clear that you have great imagery that is best seen if you are made a trusted contact. At the same time, copy inviting new email subscribers to enable images from your address is another tactic well worth trying when you send out a welcome message.

There is nothing new in the advice -- blocked imagery has been an issue for email marketers for several years. However, when researchers crunch the numbers and make it clear that unless brands act, a third of their emails will fall prey to image blockers, failure to act is akin to a dereliction of duty. The effort required to resolve the issue is pretty minimal, but the gains could be very impressive immediately.

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