Shine Through Email Image Blocking with These Top Tips

guide to email image blocking

If you’re in electronic mail advertising, you’ve most likely heard that you just’re not speculated to ship all-image emails. Lots of causes have been given for this. Your electronic mail will go to spam. Your viewers gained’t be capable to see it. It’s dangerous for accessibility. All of these had been good causes. But as electronic mail has superior, the panorama has modified. Let’s dive into how the altering panorama has impacted photos in electronic mail and replace a few of our greatest practices for 2021 and past.

I’ll stroll you thru:

What’s that?

Email picture blocking is the follow the place photos are blocked from emails or not displayed by electronic mail shoppers or firm servers. This leads to photos not exhibiting up in emails, reminiscent of this one with nearly no picture ALT textual content:

Email made up of two photos: restricted non-descriptive ALT textual content offered

Or this one with higher picture ALT textual content (nonetheless doesn’t look nice, although, proper?):

DSW email with email image blocking
Email created with a number of photos: ALT textual content offered is a bit more descriptive in locations

Why does it occur?

There are a number of the explanation why electronic mail shoppers block photos or flip them off by default. The largest cause being safety. Microsoft claims they block photos to assist their readers keep away from viewing doubtlessly offensive content material in addition to shield them from malicious code. They additionally supply the purpose that blocking the pictures by default permits individuals with decrease bandwidths to decide on in the event that they need to use that bandwidth for picture obtain or not.

For electronic mail shoppers which have photos turned on by default, a lot of them use picture proxy servers to host the pictures as an alternative of getting the pictures come immediately from the exterior hosts. This permits for the e-mail shoppers to test for viruses and malware earlier than the pictures attain inboxes, lowering the necessity for picture blocking as a safety characteristic.

The bandwidth argument would nonetheless be cause for picture blocking to be turned on, however all cell electronic mail shoppers we examined permit photos by default. Subscribers have to essentially dig to determine how you can flip photos off for his or her cell gadgets. This makes it even more vital for electronic mail entrepreneurs to verify any photos getting used are optimized.

Where do electronic mail photos get blocked?

In the previous many electronic mail shoppers blocked photos by default. These days, the most important culprits are the Outlook desktop shoppers. Most different electronic mail shoppers, with the exception of AOL, present photos by default.

Webmail Clients

Email ClientDefault Image StatusRenders ALT textual contentRenders styled ALT textual content
Gmailon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
AOL Mailoff ✘sure ✓sure* ✓
Yahoo! Mailon ✓no ✘no ✘
Outlook.comon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
Office 365on ✓sure ✓sure ✓
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*ALT textual content nonetheless has an underline.

Desktop Clients

Email ClientDefault Image StatusRenders ALT textual contentRenders styled ALT textual content
Outlook 2007-2019off* ✘sure** ✓no ✘
Outlook (mac)off* ✘sure ✓sure ✓
Apple Mailon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
Office 365off ✘sure** ✓no ✘
Office 365 (mac)off ✘sure ✓sure ✓
Windows 10 Mailon ✓no ✘no ✘

*This was off as of Outlook 2016, however we weren’t capable of check to see if that is nonetheless the case.
**This renders after the warning message and provided that photos are turned off. If a picture is damaged, the ALT textual content doesn’t render.

Mobile Clients

Email ClientDefault Image StatusRenders ALT textual contentRenders styled ALT textual content
Gmailon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
AOL Mailon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
Yahoo! Mailon ✓sure ✓sure ✓
iPhone (iOS Mail)on ✓sure ✓sure ✓
Samsung Mailon* ✓sure ✓sure ✓
Outlookon ✓sure ✓sure ✓

*This was on final time we checked, however we weren’t capable of check to see if that is nonetheless the case.

So is an image-only electronic mail a demise sentence to your electronic mail? According to Email Client Market Share, whereas Outlook is the 4th hottest electronic mail consumer, it solely accounts for six% of electronic mail opens. But as Outlook blocks photos—and thus, the open monitoring pixel—by default, we don’t understand how correct that’s.

So there’s an opportunity you’ll be OK. But, as in all issues electronic mail, it will depend on who your viewers is. If you’ve got the next than common quantity of Outlook subscribers (in the event you’re B2B, there’s probability that is you), then you may be in bother.

illustration of an inbox with an email that gets a green checkmark

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Who blocks their emails from loading photos?

There’s no actual option to inform how a lot of your viewers is impacted by picture blocking, because the open charges are measured by having a picture pixel load. No picture loading means no open is tracked.

According to our prior analysis from when Gmail first began turning photos on by default in 2013, 43% of Gmail customers used to view emails with photos off. Is that indicative of what Outlook customers do? It may very well be, however now we have no manner of figuring out.

Since you possibly can’t inform precisely how a lot of your viewers is opening emails with photos off, it’s finest to create your emails with picture blocking in thoughts to make sure one of the best expertise for everybody.

How are you able to optimize emails for photos off?

There are a number of methods you possibly can code an electronic mail to supply an awesome expertise even in shoppers the place the pictures are blocked. We’ll dive into them right here.

Use reside HTML as a lot as doable

The finest option to code emails to make sure most accessibility is to code emails with reside HTML. That means not placing textual content (particularly key data) in a picture. Have buttons and textual content be coded utilizing HTML as an alternative of created as a graphic. Use photos for photos particularly.

Live textual content

Keep your textual content in paragraph and header tags. Brand types are vital, however not more vital than eager about your subscriber’s expertise.

Magic Spoon does an awesome job of getting their photos comprise correct ALT textual content, however it will be quite simple to have these as reside textual content in a <p> tag for a a lot more impactful no-images model reminiscent of what Ace Hardware did:

Magic Spoon electronic mail with photos offAce Hardware electronic mail with photos off
Magic Spoon email with images off Ace Hardware email with images off

Bulletproof buttons

Using reside textual content in calls to motion (CTAs) is crucial. As the principle driver to your electronic mail, you need to guarantee your CTAs present up it doesn’t matter what expertise your subscribers are utilizing. Use a bulletproof button to perform this and ensure your CTAs all the time present up:

jewel-osco email with blocked images
Email with photos off: Button has been achieved with reside HTML to make sure it nonetheless seems (Source: my inbox)

Background photos

Don’t entice textual content in your photos. But that doesn’t imply you possibly can’t have an exquisite design. To get one of the best of each worlds, use a background image with reside textual content on high. This ensures your message comes throughout even when photos are turned off.

And embody background colours with the background photos to verify your electronic mail continues to be intriguing and on-brand (you don’t need big white area—until that’s the look you’re going for). Just make certain to type your ALT textual content so it exhibits up on the background coloration fallback and doesn’t get misplaced. Like this example:

Images on Images off
Oregon College Savings Plan email Oregon College Savings Plan email with images not displayed


Live coding emails might be trickier than “plopping an image in,” however when your electronic mail is coded, making modifications to the textual content is a lot simpler and faster than making modifications to a picture and having to re-upload it. With all of the instruments out as of late (reminiscent of Litmus’ Visual Editor), it’s simpler than ever to create an electronic mail with out utilizing photos solely.

Use ALT textual content or stylized ALT textual content

ALT textual content is the textual content that exhibits up when photos aren’t displayed or is read aloud when your subscriber is utilizing a display screen reader. As proven within the help desk earlier, ALT textual content is supported nearly in all places. And in some locations, you possibly can even type the ALT textual content so it seems to be just like the precise textual content in your photos.

Using ALT textual content helps individuals with picture blocking turned on (and people utilizing display screen readers) know what’s within the photos. I do know I usually have bother developing with what to write down for ALT textual content for photos, so listed here are 4 useful ideas.

ALT textual content doesn’t must be dry.

Add emotion to your ALT textual content descriptions to assist enliven your photos. For instance, have a look at this picture:

Taylor Davis, caught laughing out loud in an unexpected moment

Instead of simply “Taylor Davis’ Headshot,” use “Taylor Davis, caught laughing out loud in an unexpected moment.”

Keep in thoughts the context of your photos.

Yes, be descriptive, however context is essential. Let’s have a look at this picture, for instance:

a popup alert showing a compelling subject line

“Person looking at their phone and then a closeup of the screen showing a notification for an email” is a good ALT textual content. But if the article is about topic line ideas, then “a popup alert showing a compelling subject line” is a more related and useful ALT textual content.

Leave ALT textual content clean for ornamental photos. 

Image-based bullet factors or horizontal guidelines don’t want ALT textual content. If the picture is only ornamental, not practical, then including ALT textual content would solely distract readers out of your message.

Don’t inform individuals to obtain photos.

I used to suppose one thing like this was genius as a result of downloaded photos meant getting open knowledge:

ALT text is provided, but is not descriptive
ALT textual content is offered, however isn’t descriptive

This looks like a enjoyable and intelligent option to get individuals to obtain photos, however anybody with a display screen reader might really feel ignored. ALT textual content needs to be used to enhance all your subscribers’ experiences.

How to code ALT textual content

Adding ALT textual content to pictures is as simple as including the ALT attribute to your picture tag:

Jerry Gordon

About Jerry Gordon

Webmaster, nature and tech lover. Jerry manages the day-to-day operations at DigiToolsadvisor. He loves enjoying his free time, but most of all, trying new tools to master.