Yep, you’ve read correctly. Unlike all the other major players (Outlook, Thunderbird, Hotmail, Yahoo etc), Google’s Gmail service (recently, finally, out of Beta, don’t you know!) now loads images by default.
Of course, there’s a catch. Images aren’t loaded by default for a very good reason: it is easy for a spammer to know your email address is valid if you load an image. Email clients usually allow you to approve certain senders, usually from their address book, so that images in your emails from those specific senders are automatically loaded.
So until now, a major goal for an email marketeer is to convince their recipients to add them to their ‘safe senders’ (or similar) list. This decreases the chances of the email marketeer’s message being filtered as junk, and increases the chance of your tracking images and links being permitted. All round good news, and the main reason why we always advise our customers to keep their “from” sender name and address consistent across their campaigns.
Google have now moved the game on, and it will be interesting to see who else follows. They will show your images automatically, so long as you, the sender, meet two criteria:
1) Your emails are authenticated. All Sign-Up.to campaigns are DKIM authenticated by default, so unless you have specifically opted-out, your campaigns will be okay. Contact our support team for more information.
2) The Gmail user has sent you at least two emails in the past. Now this is the interesting bit, isn’t it? Essentially this is how Google identify that the recipient trusts you. So, you’d better make sure they do.
It is therefore time to add to our advice to keep your “from” sender name and address consistent. Now you need to encourage your recipients to reply to your emails.
This must be thought of as a positive step. Modern marketing is a two way conversation between provider and consumer; a far cry from old fashioned one way broadcast messages. Asking your recipients for their feedback on your products or services should be part of your general strategy, but you can always ask them to reply to receive vouchers or some other special offer too.
More information on Gmail’s policy is available here.