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Slow response to problem of blocked email images

Slow response to problem of blocked email images

Over 50 percent of images in promotional emails are routinely blocked by email and webmail programs, says a recent survey by the Email Experience Council (eec), the email marketing arm of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), writes MarketingCharts. Nevertheless, many marketers still send image-based emails that do not render well as text-only. The "Retail Email Rendering Benchmark Study" examined the email design practices of 104 top online retailers tracked via RetailEmail.Blogspot and evaluated their performance in an email environment with images disabled. Most retail email marketers (57 percent) send largely image-based emails, even though they have higher spam scores (and so are more likely to be blocked by spam filters) and have lower open and response rates, the survey found: "Email marketing currently generates an estimated return on investment of $48.29 for every dollar spent on it, according to the Direct Marketing Association," said Jeanniey Mullen, the founder and executive chairwoman of the Email Experience Council and chief marketing officer of Zinio. "We conservatively estimate that if all marketers optimized their emails for image blocking, email's ROI would jump to $52.69. Not paying attention to rendering impacts revenue directly." The report also includes results of research among 472 marketers regarding rendering issues:
  • Only 47 percent of respondents say their companies have taken action to design emails with image suppression in mind.
  • Those actions ranged from adding alt tags or "click to view" links, to minimizing images above the fold:
  • Of the 38 percent that had tested to see whether the changes they made produced results, 32 percent have seen more opens, 32 percent have seen more clickthroughs, and 17 percent have seen more conversions - with 47 percent seeing at least a 10 percent improvement.
Additional findings from the "Retail Email Rendering Benchmark Study":
  • 23 percent of retailers send emails that are completely unintelligible when images are disabled.
  • Of the 77 percent that sent intelligible emails, there are significant variations in clarity based on use of HTML text and alt tags, two techniques that can boost effectiveness in image-disabled environments.
  • Only 42 percent of retailers designed emails that contained a reasonable mix of HTML text and images, and 63 percent of retailers used alt tags on their images adequately or extensively.
  • As a result, the report advises marketers to include more HTML in their emails by including the following:
o Headlines o Section heads o Product names, prices and other text companying product images o Text in banners o Lists (upcoming releases, etc.) o Menu and navigation bar text o Call-to-action buttons o Promotion codes and instructions on how to apply them Additional findings: o 14 percent of retailers compose their navigation bars with HTML text rather than images. o 3 percent of retailers used HTML call-to-action buttons rather than images. o 88 percent of retailers include a "click to view" link in their preheader text. o 63 percent of retailers include whitelisting instructions in their preheader text. o The emails from only 21 percent of retailers displayed meaningful snippet text.

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