Case Study: using images in emails to encourage clicks

A very common strategy in email marketing is using images in the body of the email, or even turning the entire email into an image. Doing so serves a few purposes: the email content becomes less likely to fail depending on the browser being used, and data collection becomes easier — tracking email opens requires enabling images. These facts, and others, have led many companies to adopt image-based email marketing campaigns. Below, we present a case study related to using images to encourage open rates — and whether or not it is a good idea.

Context and A/B Test

Canopy Labs worked with an entertainment company to optimize their email campaigns following performances and events. The marketing campaigns thanked individuals for their attendance and encouraged them to come to the next event at a discount. Two email templates were used, as shown below.

The goal was to test whether images were effective in getting people to click offers. Template A provided a small image with text thanking the individual, with a call to action at the bottom of the email. On the other hand, Template B showed a bigger image with the call to action directly on the image itself. Clicking anywhere on the image would lead to a web page with purchase options.

Results and Takeaways

Based on the click analysis, the email with text and no major image had a click rate of 23%, versus 16% for image-based emails. Furthermore, the open rates for both images were the same, showing that individuals were more likely to click offers outlined in the text itself.

This is valuable information for anyone sending offers or deals by email. Click rates tend to be higher in cases where text or HTML are used — this could be driven by a number of factors, including images being blocked by email tools, or incompatibilities with the software being used to read the emails themselves. Regardless of reason, it is clear that companies and individuals should experiment with HTML- or text-only emails when trying to increase their conversion rates.

Written by Wojciech Gryc

Wojciech Gryc is the CEO of Canopy Labs. Prior to Canopy Labs, Wojciech was a consultant with McKinsey & Co. and a researcher at IBM Research. Wojciech is a Rhodes Scholar and Loran Scholar.

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