Email is not just an image, print ad or direct mail piece.

If you use an ad or just a large jpeg image for your entire email, you risk the chance of your images being blocked and your emails going to spam. Recent report shows that 43% of Gmail users have images turned OFF. That means, if your email is created with one big image, it will not be shown.

Here’s how your email might look in some email browsers if you’re just using images in your email.


Looks bad right? In addition to this, image-only based emails are bad for deliverability. Large images will cause spam filters to stop and look at the email and when it sees little to no text and flag it for review or marking it as spam and making it take longer to get to your intended recipients.

By using alt text and friendly background colors, you can make the email look good even without images. Take McDonalds in UK for example. In 2014, they launched what seemed like your standard big burger images… but the surprise happened when the images were turned off! They cleverly used the background colors of images to discretely show a pixelated burger (left).


Here are some simple suggestions to improve your “image only” email.

  • Make sure the image width is no larger than 600-700px (depending on your email width)
  • Make sure the image length is no more than one “scroll” length long (or approximately 400px long)
  • Break up the image into 3-4 “blocks” allowing for text in between each image.
  • Use separate text headlines and sub-headlines instead of image with text
  • Add alt tags to all images.
  • Add highlightable coupon codes to make it easier for customers to copy and paste the code.
  • Use paragraph text between images where possible.
  • Add a paragraph or 3-4 bullets with the description of the promotion or products under images.
  • Make sure to include a plain-text version to improve deliverability and cater to those who have HTML turned off.
  • Your email weight should be less than 100kb (not including images)
  • Image sizes should be less than 200kb each (load time of less than 1 second)
  • Total weight of email including images should be less than 800kb

If you need help creating effective email campaigns please give us a holler. If you are an OpenMoves user and need some training on this issue please contact support or sign up to one of training webinars.

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