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Boost Deliverability with Optimal Text-to-Image Ratio in Emails

As an email marketer, you need to take care of a lot of things. Apart from writing engaging and relevant content, you need to add design elements to p...

As an email marketer, you need to take care of a lot of things. Apart from writing engaging and relevant content, you need to add design elements to please the viewer’s eyes. But, the most important thing is to get your email DELIVERED to your subscriber’s inbox – while ensuring you have respectable open and click-through rates.

Emails should be designed and coded by keeping the concern of email deliverability in mind. Most ISPs look through the keywords that indicate whether the emails are spam or not. And hence, image heavy emails without much text can raise a red flag for the spam filters.

Although different spam filters have different criteria for a healthy balance of text and graphics, it is recommended that the marketers maintain a proper text-to-image ratio to ensure their emails sail through the spam filters and land in the viewer’s inbox successfully.

Recently, Mailchimp in their blog recommended to follow an 80:20 text to image ratio in emails, i.e., 80% text and 20% images.

text to image ratio_graph

Why is Maintaining the Image-Text Ratio in Emails Important?

‘Image only’ emails go into SPAM

Spam filters block image-only emails. Spammers can hide secret links or content in the mail by sending image heavy emails so that their content is not recognized and read by the spam filters. And so, any email with no healthy balance of text and images is sure to get rejected by the spam filters.

Images maybe ‘turned off’ by viewers

Some users and email clients generally keep the images turned off at their end. If the image is blocked, the email will appear to be either incomplete or completely blank. Such emails are likely to be ignored, marked as spam and even unsubscribed.

Images may take more time to load

When there are more images and less text in an email, the images may take more time to load depending on the browser and internet connection of the user and hence may not convey the entire message of the email. Emails with images that take more time to load have lesser click-through rates and conversion rates.

Take a look at this email from Shopbop!

text-to-image ratio _shopbop template

All the information about the offers and CTA are contained in the image. And when the images are turned off, the same email appears as below:

text to image ratio_shopbop_images_off

Here, the alt tags serve the purpose of conveying the message of the email. But it is essential to maintain a ratio so that the message is conveyed in a better way.

How to make sure your Email gets delivered?

Email marketers need to bear in mind the following points while planning an email campaign:

  • 80% of the email should be text.
  • Images should cover only 20% of the email.
  • The images should compulsorily have alternate text (alt tags).
  • Avoid the concept of ‘one image will serve the purpose of the email.’
  • Emails without a balanced text-image ratio won’t allow the users to search for it after a certain period.
  • Test your email well and see how it appears in different clients.

For more insights on Email Deliverability, refer our Infographic:

View Infographic!

Wrapping Up

In your next email campaign, make sure to maintain the 80:20 text-to-image ratio and stop believing in the taboo of “More the images, better the email will be.” Even better, test your emails with various text-image ratios and find out what works best for your business.

Happy Emailing!

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Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing email design and coding companies. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage, share insights with fellow marketers, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on the latest email marketing best practices.

4 thoughts on “Boost Deliverability with Optimal Text-to-Image Ratio in Emails”

  • Noreen

    How do you go about calculating the text to image ratio? Words/image? Character? Many thanks.

    • Hey Noreen!

      Usually text to image ratio is calculated on the basis of the number of characters including spaces, all words and the number of images.
      Most of the spam filters have character counts calculated to be filtered on spam. And on top of it when images are added to that count, they calculate what will be the status.

      Now coming to your calculation, you can use spam test and in code remove all images source and count characters and pass on the spam test. If that characters allows spamming, start adding images to see when it’s failing. That’s the time when you have to work on maintaining the text to image ratio to 80:20.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

  • Hi Kevin,
    I’m a big fan of your blog and I wanted to let you know I linked out to your site because I thought the content would be really helpful to my readers. You can check out my post here

    Have a blessed day!
    Susan Porter

    PS. If you shared my post it would really make my week.

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