If you happen to be one of the millions of users who use Gmail for their email service provider, you have most likely seen the pop up message when you logged in letting you know that images in your email are now being enabled by default. This information corresponds with the announcement a couple weeks back from Google and Gmail that they will soon begin caching and serving email images from their content delivery network (CDN) to assist in speeding up the process of browsing through email.
Now some users of the Gmail services might be unhappy with this new default setting, but rest assured you still have the option to disable it. In your setting’s panel, you can select “Ask me before displaying” which will convert your email back to the old Gmail setup.
Some are saying that this move by Google and Gmail is to expand upon their already great spam detection system and thwart even more spam emails for its end users.
One of, if not the largest solitary problem that Gmail has with spam is that mass e-mailers otherwise known as spammers are using images that contain keywords that could be, but aren’t necessarily flagged as spam. While, only a theory there are some who are saying that Gmail is trying to use optical character recognition (OCR) to weed out some spam, but that is another discussion all on its own.
Spammers also make use of several techniques to fool spam detection systems by sending their emails from a slew of different internet protocol (IP) addresses, have multiple subject lines, varying alt tags for their images, among other things.
By taking control and caching images, Google/Gmail can now take as a signal that items are spam when there are enough people who are reporting the email as spam, or saying not to display the images in the email. There is even a possibility that Gmail could replace the spam image with one of their images which state it is spam.
What this Means to Email Marketers
This move by Gmail deprives Email marketers of data that they were able to collect previously through the use of images, items such as the approximate location of the recipient.
Prior to the image loading, change, email marketers were able to attach coding to an image which would be able to retrieve the approximate location of the recipient when they opened that email message. However, now that Gmail/Google is opening the information before it reaches the intended recipient, the location which is sent to the marketers is that of Google/Gmail and where their servers are located. In short what this means is that an email marketer can no longer customize an email in order to promote a brick and mortar store which is closest to the individual consumer.
Whatever the motive it is clear that this move by Google/Gmail will trip up many email marketers, but will make the end users experience much more pleasant. This isn’t the first time email marketers have been tripped up by Google/Gmail, and it certainly won’t be the last. As technology increases marketing techniques, will change and grow with the changes.