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The Fishbowl Perspective on Gmail’s Image Display: How Does the Change Affect Restaurant Marketing?

Jes Karg PhotoRecently Google made modifications to how Gmail displays images.  Here at Fishbowl, any time a tweak like this occurs, our product team watches over time to see how the email marketing landscape is affected, particularly for restaurants. With enough data now in hand, we sat down with Jes Karg, Product Manager for Enterprise Email, to get the scoop.

How exactly did Gmail change the way it displays images?

Jes Karg, Product Manager, Enterprise Email: Gmail explains in their blog post that “instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.”  That means Gmail is now automatically displaying images when an email is opened and no longer requiring a user to click on the “display images below” link.  From a user’s perspective, this is an improvement.

What does that mean for email marketers?

JK:  This has impacted open rates:  in general, open rates have gone up a tiny bit for our clients. Since the change was rolled out, we have seen our average open rate increase from 18.5% to 18.86%. We believe this is because previously an “open” was only counted after the user had clicked on the “display images below” link.  The user had to not only open the email, but take action to click on that link. Now, the open will be counted as soon as the user opens the email.

So this does not affect how we track open rates?

JK: No, not at all. It will only have a slight impact on open rates.

Has this impacted anything besides open rates?

JKYes, there have been changes to our reporting. We created a new device type called “Gmail image proxy” in Enterprise. This new bucket will represent any email opened where the images automatically display. Overall, this bucket encompasses just under 8% of total users, so this impact is relatively small as well.

This is great info. Thanks for explaining the changes, Jes.

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