Best Practices When Using Images in Email Marketing Campaigns

Email becomes more powerful with images. The saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” certainly has merit as images embedded into emails have the ability to create interest and instantly engage your audience with your brand. Through market research, there are “best practices” that provide insight on how to more effectively use images within emails.  This is where you can stand-out by making your email visually different and adds to longer-term memory.  Various studies examining the impact of visuals in email support the importance of utilizing images. Skyword found 94% more views with a compelling visual and instigates faster consumption of content (Csutoras, 2016; Gonsalves, 2012). Hubspot found 65% of users like emails that are mostly composed of images, while only 35% prefer their emails to be text heavy (Zarrella, 2015).

Side Note: However, there is a risk that when images and graphics are embedded that your email may get flagged as “spam.” This is especially true with large, embedded images resulting in a higher spam score. There is also the fact that around half of recipients of the email may have their images turned off. This means the recipient will see white boxes instead of the graphic unless they specify to display images. Also, if you use too many images, the click-through rate continues to decrease with each additional image (Zarrella, 2015).

Here are some guidelines for utilizing images in email:

  1. Images need to reinforce the brand message. Having logos and consistent colors are an important part of brand identity. The images used should be professional and pertain to the brand.
  2. Emails with three or fewer images and approximately 20 lines of text have the highest-click through rates according to Constant Contact (Paquet, 2015). Follow the 25% rule that no more than 25% of your email should be image-based.
  3. Utilize Alt and Title Text with your image. This is text that appears within the image url that describes the image and can deliver the message even if the “display image” feature is “off.”
  4. Don’t completely rely on the image to convey your message. Remember if the image is turned off, there needs to be supporting text in the email that delivers the message.
  5. Use proper file type of .JPG or .PNG and know which is better depending on how the image is to be used. See illustration based on Constant Contact recommendations.

Put the power of quality images to work for you in your emails and on your website. Images “sell” and can say more than written narrative can in 4 seconds or less.  Visual marketing can be very powerful and is effective across the platform such as social media engagement to websites. Don’t underestimate what a picture can do for your business.

Marketing Matters written by: Sabrina Pack-Professional Certified Marketer with SkyWest Media.



Csutoras, B. (2016, July 20). Increase your Views 94% with Visual Marketing. Pixelroad. Retrieved from

Gonsalve, C. (2012, August 31). Skyword Study: Add Images to Improve Content Performance. Retrieved from

Paquet, M. (2015, March 11). Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Adding Images to Your Email Marketing. Constant Contact. Retrieved from

Zarrella, D. (2015).  Science of Email 2014. Hubspot. Retrieved from