Gmail changes how it handles images

Gmail recently announced a change to the way it handles images. This change has caused much consternation in the email marketing community as to how it will affect the reporting of open rates on emails. The number of times your email is opened gets tracked by the use of a tracking pixel image, does this change affect how my subscriber emails are tracked? Can I no longer find out how many people have opened my email?

Fortunately the clever folks at MailChimp , our email marketing solutions partner, have done the homework for us in this informative blog post. In summary:

  • Gmail only requests images for emails after the email is opened for the first time.
  • Gmail will now show images in email automatically, rather then the user having to click ‘Download images in this email’
  • This means that your initial open rates will now be more accurate
  • However, you will likely not get information on subsequent opens, as the images will then be coming from Google’s cache

All in all I think this is a good change. Users will be protected from malware, as the images that Google caches will be checked before they are served to the end user. Also images will be loaded by default so that crucial metric, the open rate, will now be more accurate for us email marketers.

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