When one of the largest email platforms on the planet announces a major change, email marketers need to take notice. Google recently announced just such a change, informing customers that Gmail will now be displaying images within its emails by default.
Prior to this change, Gmail users had to manually turn on images within their email. This could be a confusing and time-consuming process, and many users simply never bothered to make the change. That meant that email marketers often had problems with Gmail addresses, since viewers were unable to see the images included with their messages.
A good news for email marketers
This new change at Gmail should be good news for the email marketing community. Since all Gmail users will now be able to see images by default, it should be easier for marketers to get their messages across.
Of course this change will not impact all email marketers in the same way. As with past changes, the marketers who stand to do the best are the ones who are best prepared. Taking the time to prepare for this change and make changes to the way you do business can boost your open rates, increase deliverability and increase response rates.
This new change also mean that images are more important than ever before. Images have always been an important part of marketing. Email is, after all, a visual medium. With this new change, however, images take on an even bigger role. It is more important than ever to make sure you consistently add eye-catching images to each email you create.
This change in the treatment of images within Gmail will apply to all devices, from traditional desktop and laptop computers to tablets and smartphones. As always, it is important to consider mobile devices when designing your emails. That may become even more important now that mobile users will be able to see your images without making a change in their email configuration.
All in all, this change should be a positive one for email marketers. The ability to view images automatically instead of having to download them manually should increase open rates and help subscribers get the information they need. It should also make the tracking of opens more accurate, which brings us to another recent change for the Gmail platform.
Gmail now caching images
While the recent announcement concerning the handling of images in Gmail is one of the most important, it is not the only change coming to the popular email platform. Gmail is also going to cache those images. That means the images will be downloaded once from the server that sent them, then hosted on a Gmail proxy server after that.
When a subscriber opens your email for the first time, any images will be sent from your website, image hosting service or email service provider. After the images are initially downloaded, Google will cache them on its own proxy servers. This essentially reroutes all image downloads and open tracking. What that means to you is that you will not be able to track any subsequent image opens. It also means that the IP address of the recipient will no longer be trackable, since those recipients will appear to have come from the proxy server assigned by Google.
It is not yet known how long Google will be caching those images, and that could have an impact on open tracking. If Google only caches the images for 3 days and your subscriber returns to the email a week later, that could be treated as a new open. Only time will tell.