A fascinating bit of information on email image blocking can be found on page six of MarketingSherpa‘s 2009 Email Marketing Benchmark Guide:
“In the version with blocked images, we see a higher percentage reading the entire headline instead of scanning and skipping down, which appears to be related to the pull of the image below. When that image is removed, people spend a bit more time reading. That underscores the power and danger of compelling images – they can engage and attract the user’s attention, but they may be stealing it from a key piece of content.”
Wow: who would have thought that image blocking could actually be a good thing!
It all comes down to content. In the end, what does it take to get a user to open your email, click through, and buy? An image can engage, yes, but you still need a message to drive an action.
Most email viewers have images suppressed by default; and users don’t bother to change the setting. That means all that time spent deliberating over which picture to use, all the money spent on that cool stock photo from Getty Images, all the care that went into that stellar product shot of your newest doohickey could well be for naught.
A 14-page excerpt from the MarketingSherpa guide is available for download here.