Adventures in Mobile Marketing

10 Images Off- 2 Weeks Later

Revisiting the same retail/corporate emails that I profiled in “10 images off”. Have they cleaned up their act? Also, some surprises from top retailers. Eddie Bauer, Peets’, Red Envelope, Gap, Barnes & Noble, Fandango, Avis. Some new samples & surprises: Dell, Amazon, & Twitter. Note- Discovery isn’t covered because they haven’t sent me anything.

The top methods of managing Image Suppression in design:
- Less image dependence in the overall design (say it with words!)
- Good alt tag strategy- entice and describe, briefly
- Lift text to the top of the fold- make sure folks see your offer
- Use html tables with background text color and CSS inline text color
More posts on Image Suppression.

1. Coit Liquor
I removed them because the point I was making was evidenced this week by another company.

2. Eddie Bauer: the Good Got Better

Then: Great

Mixed Text and Image Sample

Now: Greater

Eddie now

I wasn’t sure they could improve- but they did! Nice HTML table, inline CSS font styling. Also, note the images that are off don’t dominate the message of the HTML. New font styling on the headline lends it more predominance.

3. Peets

Then: Great Mixed-Use


Now: OK

Peets now

Partially because my browser was stretched out larger, I couldn’t see the copy below the main promotional image. So they should probably tighten up that layout to let the text float higher. I think it would just cover more bases. I still really like the palate and use of HTML table colors.

4. Red Envelope: Different Approach- still Mediocre


Red Envelope


Red Envelope now

Before it had a mysterious subject line and mysterious alt-text. Now, they are more descriptive in their alt-text, but overall still very dependent on images in their design, and very little text comes through above the fold.

5. Avis: Worse

Then: So-So


Now: Less ALT Tags

Avis now
Before, I commented on their use of spacer GIFs, and muddled multiple offers. This time, they changed their template, to remove alt-text from the main promotional image.

6. Gap: Still Struggling

Then: Behind


Now: Slightly Better

Gap Now

Still the alt-text is in all caps, but at least with the image on the right they mixed it up a little. Also very image dependent, and no text or offer information. All image menu header, though using alt-text, looks cluttered with images suppressed.

7. Fandango: Worse

Fandango Sample

Fandango Now

Got a little worse. In the first email they knew my name. In the second they stopped personalization with a simple “Hello!”. I do still like the bulleted text above the fold and the colored HTML tables.

8. Barnes & Noble: Staying Strong
Then: Strong
Barnes & Noble

Now: Still Strong
Barnes and Noble Now

My impression- and leave a comment if you disagree- is that their template is really quite good.

New Samples & Surprises

6. Dell: Innovative
Dell Now

What a great creative way to sell using HTML and colored text. It’s really great.

6. Amazon: Missed the Boat
Amazon final

Not so great. Their usual emails are far better, but this one-off promotional one that I got today doesn’t use alt tags, and relies far too heavily on images.

8. Twitter: Alternative
Twitter Now

Interesting some of the companies that decide to email just in text. I wonder if someone can do a metrics tests showing a 50% split on text versus HTML in the current climate of image suppression, and also with segmentation on the user’s email account- yahoo, gmail, etc. I wonder if the click % would be the same. The common rule is that text emails just don’t get the kind of clickthrough that HTML emails experience, but maybe times are changing, especially for certain verticals?

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Written on Tuesday, 31. July 2007 at 15:50 In the category images off. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. Share on FriendFeed

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  1. [...] I had just wondered about this – at the bottom of my post on Tuesday, when I noticed that Twitter is sending text-only newsletters. I see some companies going the text-only route, in the last few months, and I wondered if that was in response to the image suppression going on with webmail. The study above seems to conclude that light HTML can solve the problem. HTML in general gets better clicks, but surprisingly, plain text outperformed the heavy HTML. I’m sure there’s a study from even a year ago that would show the opposite. So is this the effect of webmail? I have to admit more details would be nice from the experiment- the kind of company mailing, the content, the layout, the sample size, existence of control groups, etc. Written on Thursday, 02. August 2007 at 13:18 In the cateogry techniques, other_blogs. Follow the comments via RSS here: RSS-Feed. Read the Comments. Trackbacks- Trackback on this post. [...]

    Pingback: Adventures in Email Marketing » HTML vs. Plain Text | – 02. August 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  2. [...] More and more hosted email providers- namely Yahoo Beta and Gmail- are turning off images by default. In advising one client on how best to handle the alt-text, that is the text that shows when an image is “turned-off” by the email server, I scanned two email inboxes and found ten examples that illustrate the various techniques being done out in the field. Covered are: Coit Liquor, Eddie Bauer, Red Envelope, Gap, Avis, Discovery, Peets‘, Macy’s, Fandango and Barnes & Noble. Also reviewed 2 weeks later, “10 Images- 2 Weeks Later.” [...]

    Pingback: Email Marketing Guidelines | TECH Bar – 18. August 2009 @ 12:00 pm

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