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Gmail Showing Images Automatically; Is This a Good Thing for Marketers?

Posted on 12.12.2013

Email marketers have had a long-time, tenuous, love-hate relationship with images, and as of this week, it has seemingly become even more complicated.

Google has announced that Gmail users will no longer have to select "display images below" in order to see pictures/images. Instead, those images will now load automatically. That's a good thing for the user experience as Google is taking steps to ensure its users safety and security. As can be expected with a change of this magnitude, however, many email marketers immediately panicked - but alas, for no good reason it seems.

The belief that marketers would be unable to get any user-based click data from images at all (they would only see a single request from Google) has quickly been debunked. Google will essentially be serving all images through its own secure proxy servers but this doesn't mean that marketers won't be able to get any information whatsoever. Instead, it seems that email marketers will be able to see the first request for images (and from each user).

In short, the change won't affect unique open rate as initially suspected, but it could cause problems when there are multiple opens by a subscriber. That, however, will only lead to more accurate reporting on the whole.

Website Magazine will follow this issue closely in the future and post updates within our Email Experience channel.

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