EEC Study: 23 Percent of Major Online Retailers Send Unintelligible E-mail When Images are Blocked
Twenty-three percent of retailers send e-mails that are completely unintelligible when images are blocked. And of the 77 percent that sent intelligible e-mails, there were significant variations in clarity based on their use of HTML text and alt tags.
These were key findings from the Email Experience Council's "Retail Email Rendering Benchmark Study," which examines the e-mail design practices of 104 top online retailers tracked via the eec's blog, RetailEmail.Blogspot and their performance in an images-off e-mail environment. It also includes the results of a survey of 472 marketers regarding rendering issues, conducted in conjunction with SubscriberMail, the sponsor of the study.
The study also found that only 42 percent of retailers designed e-mails that included a good mix of HTML text and images, and only 63 percent of retailers used alt tags on their images adequately or extensively. A marketer's use of HTML text and alt tags is a major determinant of the intelligibility of its e-mails.
Other findings include:
- 14 percent of retailers compose their navigation bars with HTML text rather than images.
- 3 percent of retailers used HTML call-to-action buttons rather than images.
- 88 percent of retailers include a "click to view" link in their preheader text, which is the small text at the top of an e-mail that informs a recipient about whom the e-mail is from, what the e-mail is about and how to view it with images.
- 63 percent of retailers include whitelisting instructions in their preheader text.
- 21 percent of retailers displayed meaningful snippet text -- or the first line of text in an e-mail -- in their e-mails.
The Email Experience Council is the e-mail marketing arm of the Direct Marketing Association. The study is available to eec members at its Whitepaper Room.