Posted 17th December 2013 by APSIS

Gmail disables image blocking and starts to cache images

This is how it affects email marketers

Some days ago Google announced that Gmail will start handling images in emails in an improved way. Images will from now on be loaded automatically into emails. No more ”Click to download images”. Technically, Google will cache images as soon as they have been downloaded once.

The update was rolled out on desktop December 12, and will be launched on Gmail
mobile apps during early 2014 according to Google.

How will this affect you as a email marketer? And what happens with the method of
tracking email opens through the downloading of images?

Gmails new method is based on cached images

Before the update, every time you opened an email in Gmail, the images were fetched
from the original server. With Gmails update, the images are only fetched from the origin
once. Thereafter they will be cached, stored on a server at Google. For how long they
are cached, we donʼt know yet.

According to Google this will result in improved speed and reliability for the receiver.
For the sender - it will mean less bandwidth usage.

How will open rates be affected by Gmails image cache?

As you might already know, most email marketing tools measure open rates based on if
the recipient has downloaded a small pixel image or not. This means that if an email is
opened with image blocking enabled, it will not count as an open.

Given that Gmail now loads images automatically, your open rate will improve and better represent the correct number of read emails. (We would like to add that APSIS Pro also measure open rates based on clicks in emails. If a subscriber have image blocking on, but clicks in the email – it will count as a open).

But what happens if an email is opened multiple times when the images are cached?

While the number of tracked unique opens will be more accurate, the flip side is that
multiple opens could be harder to track, it all depends on how long
Google cache images.

Important: Other statistics are not affected
Itʼs important to stress that clicks and other types of tracking in emails are not affected by
the Gmail update. It is only the downloading of images that is affected.

Stay tuned for more updated information

Visit this article from time to time. We will update it when new information and results regarding the update are released.