Ungraceful degradation of HTML emails and conversion rates.

8 May 2009 - 11:51am
5 years ago
5 replies
656 reads
Harry Brignull
2004

Hi everyone,

I'm currently doing a bit of desk research on HTML email, and I've been
really unimpressed with how many sites use templates that degrade very
ungracefully when images are turned off. I'm wondering if anyone has any
stats on the proportion of users who have images turned off by default, or
any stats on the proportion of users who click "display images below" (etc)
to reveal them.

What I'm really interested in is the impact on conversion rates. Personally
I don't need any convincing, but I'd love some stats or a case study to show
my clients.

Anyone got any references or anecdotes?

Thanks

Harry

--
http://www.90percentofeverything.com

Comments

8 May 2009 - 12:32pm
Den Serras
2009

I certainly don't have data, but I've advocated with all my clients
to use images as enhancement and never, ever include important copy
in the image. Then I use ALT tags for those who don't listen to me.
Conversion rates are hard to judge since email has different content,
so I can't say if reduced dependence on images affects it.
Personally, I get frustrated if I have to click on show images. But I
like it when I choose to show them because I really want to know more.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41858

9 May 2009 - 11:55am
DampeS8N
2008

I turn off HTML email entirely. As should anyone.

Focus on making HTML email more secure, rather than making it look
good when people turn it, or part of it, off.

Crack that egg, and no one will turn it off anymore.

It is to the point where I am very impressed with sites that send out
text-only email as the default or only option. And I stop getting
email from ones that give me HTML as my text-only email.

This is just me. I don't have data on email.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=41858

10 May 2009 - 11:01pm
Elizabeth Buie
2004

At 9:55 AM -0400 5/9/09, William Brall wrote:

>Focus on making HTML email more secure, rather than making it look
>good when people turn it, or part of it, off.
>
>Crack that egg, and no one will turn it off anymore.

I will.

Elizabeth
--
Elizabeth Buie
Luminanze Consulting, LLC
+1.301.943.4168
http://www.luminanze.com

11 May 2009 - 1:07am
Harry Brignull
2004

I agree that security is worthy concern, but I expect that it's something
that only relatively technical users think about. For most people, I think
having to click a link to see images is just a "strange" extra step that
many don't bother doing. (I'm guessing.)

Email is stuck in the dark ages.

- Harry

11 May 2009 - 9:31am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 11 May 2009, at 07:07, Harry wrote:

> I agree that security is worthy concern, but I expect that it's
> something
> that only relatively technical users think about. For most people, I
> think
> having to click a link to see images is just a "strange" extra step
> that
> many don't bother doing. (I'm guessing.)

Other reasons I've encountered for people rejecting HTML mail include:
* legibility (this is the reason I read text parts by default)
* accessibility.
* primitive spam detection (I've met a couple of folk who bin it
automatically coz most is spam/marketing.)
* ability to read off-line

> Email is stuck in the dark ages.

Sometimes I think that. More often I think e-mail is really very, very
good at what it does do - and a lot of folk are trying to use it for
something that it's unsuitable for :-)

Cheers,

Adrian

--
delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com

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