Update: Gmail Image Blocking And Caching
By Amanda Gagnon December 16, 2013
If you haven’t already heard, Gmail will now start displaying images within emails by default, instead of blocking them by default as in the past.
This means more accurate reports of email opens from Gmail subscribers.
Initially, the change also meant repeat opens by the same subscribers would not be communicated, but our devs cracked down and found a fix.
This means both your unique and total open rate reports will, with Gmail’s update, be more accurate than was possible before.
(If a subscriber doesn’t load images, no matter the email provider or service, opens aren’t reported.)
Here’s The Breakdown
Who this affects:
- Your subscribers who use Gmail.
- Your open rate reports from subscribers who use Gmail.
What you gain:
- More accurate open rate reporting, both for unique opens and total opens.
- Open rates will appear to increase as more opens in Gmail are reported.
What stays the same:
- You can still segment by opens and have this include more accurate opens that would not have shown before.
- While some are worried that Gmail caching the images to Google’s servers (details here) would interfere with accurate reports, our recent changes and testing show that it will not be affected.
What your subscribers gain:
- They can see all your images and interact with emails immediately on opening.
- Gmail is more stringently protecting emails for more thorough blocking of inappropriate images.
- If they choose, they can still keep images blocked using the “don’t show images” flag.
A note on timing: the Gmail updates rolling out currently and will extend to mobile apps in early 2014. That means any increases in open rates and engagement will occur gradually during that time period.
For those subscribers choosing to proactively disable images, don’t forget to make sure you apply useful, clear alt text to any images in your emails.
Read the more technical explanation behind these updates on Gmail’s blog.
Also, if you haven’t used images in your emails in the past, consider this: adding even a simple logo will add significant accuracy to your open rates, since all emails that include images can be tracked. You can still send plain text emails and add just a logo or image with the Plain Text HTML template.
Oh, and your images can be hosted on AWeber itself, for free – an unlimited number of them.