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Forcing those opens

Most email marketers want to see their open rates go up. This particular marketer has come up with a new way to force recipients to load their mail.

I’m not sure how successful this approach is going to be. I can see how this might increase open rate, as people who are interested in registering but may not load images by default actually load images. On the other hand, how common is it to not load images by default? I tend to think I’m unusual in that I have images off by default. But if I was really interested in attending the presentation I would probably open images. But I’d be a clickthrough if I was interested enough.
Any thoughts on how successful this might be at increasing the open rate?

5 comments

  1. Huey says

    I dunno, but my first question would be: how much does some regex match of “win a new iPad” hurt you in current SpamAssassin scoring?

  2. John L says

    You’re not at all unusual in having images off by default. My gmail and Yahoo account only load images for senders in my address book, and Thunderbird has image loading off by default as well. (My regular MUA is Alpine which couldn’t show images if it wanted to, but I know that I’m odd.)
    In this case, the click to open seems counterproductive. If the goal is to get people to go to the seminar, a sensible person would put the registration link right out front where it’s easy to click. and measure the effectiveness by counting the visits to the registration page. The only reason to stick the image loading step in between is to goose the numbers for metrics software that is too lame to measure what you really want to measure here.

  3. Michael A. Atkinson says

    I get a lot of email promising to enter me for a new iPhone or iPad. Generally they get binned unread.

  4. Catherine Jefferson says

    What Huey and Michael said. The “free ipad” schtick would likely have resulted in that email being binned, by me if nothing else in the email triggered my filters enough to put it over the edge or if I’d whitelisted the sender. I also don’t load images, and *really* hate mailers that try to force the issue. If I’d received this from somebody whose email I had requested, I think I’d have likely unsubscribed. (Pushy salespeople affect me similarly.)

  5. Johnny 5 says

    I also feel there is a best practice for including Alt tags for descriptive or associative images like this. Bullets, spacer gifs and other arbitrary images can have an alt tag with no value.
    I will refer to the ADA (American Disabilities Act) best practices for websites. Some email clients use accessibility tools. Therefore having Alt tags is important to someone with impaired sight or blindness.
    http://www.ada.gov/stdspdf.htm

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