Tips for using and optimizing email newsletter images

April 8, 2024

The human brain perceives information better through visual content than through text. To be convinced of this, just look at the popularity of Instagram, YouTube or TikTok, in which photos and videos prevail over text descriptions.

This trend came in a segment seemingly unrelated to social networks – email marketing. It’s hard to imagine a promotional email that does not have a single image or other visual element. We are so used to this nowadays, that we often assume the subject of the message based on its look rather than reading the text.

Of course, there are letters without visual accompaniment, but as practice shows, they concern unpleasant news or informing about some changes. For example, companies deliberately make messages that relate to tariff increases or changes in terms of service without images. The maximum they can add is a logo.

However, if you want to attract customers' attention to make a purchase, using images is a must. The problem is that simply inserting a picture into the text will not give the desired result. It needs to be optimized, and this is not only about content, but also about technical issues such as size or format.

How to optimize the image of an email before sending and why do it?

According to a 2023 Techreport study, 45% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Accordingly, the message needs to be formatted so that it is easy to read on a small smartphone screen. In addition, it is advisable to take into account that stable high-speed Internet is not always available to users. If the image size is too large, it can cause your message to load slowly, increase your unsubscribe rate, and cause your email to be classified as spam.

In order not to lose the attention of a potential client, it is important to choose the right design, size and resolution of the picture. A large number of colors and details make the image “heavy” and require a lot of traffic to load. Create visual content that is as simple as possible, while still being attractive and conveying the essence of the letter. To do this, choose the right image format. The most common ones include JPG, PNG and GIF, as well as WEBP, which is growing in popularity as browser and email clients support it.

Please note that the presented formats are not interchangeable and each is used to solve specific problems. For example, JPG, unlike GIF, has a wide color range, making it an excellent choice for photographs or when creating colorful images. There is support for lazy loading, when the text is already displayed on the screen, and the pictures become clearer as they load. Compared to PNG, JPG compresses photographic-quality images much better, but if the compression is too aggressive, artifacts may appear. This is especially noticeable when the image contains text, around which a halo of pixels becomes noticeable.

In PNG, compression is lossless, which has a positive effect on the accuracy of details, such as text. But the files themselves take up significantly more memory than JPG. That's why PNG is more often used for logos. Find out in more detail what this format is and where it is used.

Although the GIF format can store a static image, it is less efficient for this purpose than the more modern PNGs; it is more often used to animate individual elements of an email message. For example, flashing icons signaling a discount.

Such animation attracts attention and forces the reader to become familiar with the entire content of the received message, but may be perceived by some users as intrusive. Therefore, the use of such design elements should be consistent with your company’s brand, and you should also A/B test the impact of such attention-grabbing tools on your audience.

WEBP is a relatively new format, which appeared in 2010. In terms of image quality and file size, it combines the best features of JPG and PNG. WEBP provides good detail but takes up less memory. The problem is that the active introduction of support by browsers and email services began only in 2020, and according to Caniemail, the website has been using the format since 2024.

  1. How to massively optimize images and bring order to your creatives?

While working with images for their subsequent use in mailing, a huge number of files accumulate on your computer, which can be scattered in a large number of folders with names whose meaning you have already forgotten. Putting all this in order manually will take a lot of time. In particularly difficult cases, it will be necessary to spend a whole working day, and it is not a fact that some of the important photographs or pictures on which the budget was spent on acquiring will not be lost.

It is much easier and more efficient to use special cataloging programs to solve this problem, which allow you to quickly sort images manually or automatically.

An excellent example of such solutions is Tonfotos. The program indexes all images in the specified folders and automatically sorts them according to various criteria: date of creation, geolocation (if it is a photo), meta titles and descriptions taken from metadata. As a result, you immediately see how many and what images are in a specific folder, which greatly simplifies the search for the ones you need.

It is possible to sort creatives in chronological order. All found photos are displayed here, regardless of their storage folder.

If you are working on a project where you need to select images, you will find the album creation feature useful. All that is required of you is to select the necessary pictures and send them to an album with the appropriate name. At the same time, the album is virtual; the files themselves are not copied anywhere, without clogging your archive with duplicates.

Now you can start optimizing using the built-in converter, where you can select the output file format, quality and size.

When laying out a message, you often have to use photographs of models. In Tonfotos, you can create a profile for each photo model, where, in addition to photographs, you can enter additional information, for example, a contact phone number or email address.

The program automatically detects people's faces in photos. You only need to specify a person once and Tonfotos will automatically find it in other photos.

It is worth noting that all this functionality for sorting and processing images is available in the free version of the program.

  1. Bottom line

Proper image optimization is the key to email marketing success. After all, you have only a few seconds to attract the recipient’s attention, convince them to read the message and take the targeted action.

Some tips for optimizing visual content for your email campaign:

Don't forget that a well-organized image storage system will allow you to quickly find the creatives you need and use them in your emails.

Photo management applications can help you catalog and sort your photos. Here are the main benefits of using Tonfotos to organize images for your mailing list:

Using these tips, you can create email campaigns with optimized images that will attract attention and improve the performance of your campaigns.

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