Gmail announced today that they’ll be able to turn images on for all inbox subscribers by default. For email marketers, this is good news! Not only because your subscribers will be able to see your gorgeous email as you intended it — with images — but because it may lead to an increase in open rates. Here’s how…

Email service providers, like emfluence, all track views or opens by whether or not a subscriber downloads the images in an email. When you send an email, you’re not sending each subscriber a copy of your images, you’re simply “calling them up” from your image library in your emfluence account to show to that subscriber. When they call for the image, we know that they opened the email. So if subscribers have images turned off by default, we don’t know that they opened an email unless they load images (0r click on a link within the email).

Gmail has traditionally kept images off by default for senders that aren’t part of an inbox user’s contact list or safe senders list. They did this mostly for security reasons. Last week, they announced that they’ll be caching all images in incoming emails, meaning, they’ll be saving a safe copy of every image and showing you that instead. Since they’ve rolled out that update, it’s now safe for Gmail to turn images on by default for all its users.

This means no more “Display message images” links in order to see your email:

And for email marketers, images turned ON by default means we’ll actually be able to more accurately track open rates for Gmail subscribers! For emfluence Marketing Platform users, keep an eye on your Unique Views rate at Gmail and see if they go up over the next few weeks.

With every win comes a “price” — it’s important to also note that because Gmail is caching images, they’ll only need to “call up” our image once. That may mean that the Total Views for Gmail users will decrease. In fact, it’s unlikely that any subscriber with a email address will register as opening more than once. BUT, as a long-time email marketer who has always had to say that the Open Rate (View rate) is a minimum number, having the likelihood of reporting Gmail openers 100% accurately is a pretty cool bit of news for the day.


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