Suppression Oppression

Spammers have negatively influenced email in lots of ways, with one of the most visible being the need for image suppression. There is no question that the average consumer prefers pretty, graphically-enhanced email over the boring, plain text versions. But there is also no question that the average consumer prefers that pictures with “adult” themes don’t accidentally pop up while at the office or in front of impressionable kids. The ISPs have combated this problem by suppressing graphics — essentially treating all images as potentially problematic. (Thank you, Mr. Spam.)

Despite how widespread this practice has become, few marketers really think about how image suppression affects their email program. They should. Why? Three reasons:

1. Image suppression messes up your tracking: Open rates are calculated when an invisible graphic pings your servers. No graphic, no ping, no open. Data from DoubleClick and others suggests that an overall decline in open rates is due to the rise in image suppression. Knowing this when analyzing your data is important.

2. Image suppression can make your email unreadable: Depending on how your email is designed, your message without images might look very bad or it might be completely unintelligible. Through the design process consider what the email will look like without graphics. You may not be able to make it look great, but you can at least make it readable.

3. Image suppression limits your response rates: When someone can’t see your email, or read your email, they are less likely to interact with it. How much money do you leave on the table because your best offer is in a graphic that doesn’t display?

Ready to get serious about image suppression? Email me and I’ll send you our Image Suppression Best Practices Checklist. It includes seven tactics that you can use right now.

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