We have updated results for embedded image/data URI support in email – view our latest post.
In a recent post we discussed our (poor) results from testing embedded images in email. A couple of people pointed out a different method we could use that may produce better results.
So we’ve run through our tests again, this time with the image as a Base64 encoded attachment to the message. Here’s how it went.
Embedding as an attachment
Rather than having the image src be the encoded data, this time we define the email as a multipart/related file, and place the encoded image in a separate section of the email.
Then in the body of the message, we refer to the image via its identifier which is specified for each attachment.
Results for embedded attachment cid method
This time around, we did see some better results. The image was rendered by default in the desktop clients at least, but still not in webmail clients.
|Apple Mail||Image displays inline and as attachment|
|Entourage 2008||Image displays inline and as attachment|
|Gmail||Image will not display|
|Windows Live Hotmail||Image will not display|
|Outlook 2003||Image displays inline and as attachment|
|Outlook 2007||Image displays inline and as attachment|
|Thunderbird 2||Image displays inline and as attachment|
|Yahoo! Mail||Image will not display|
Although the images did show up ok in desktop clients, in webmail clients they did not at all, even after clicking ‘display images’ or equivalent. Additionally, in the desktop clients the images are shown inline, but also as attachments on the bottom of the email.
If you have just one image, it might be ok, but with most newsletters you will have an email that ends with a messy jumble of individual image attachments. Imagine the Threadless newsletter for example.
The increased initial download size, and hence slower speed, the failure to show for increasingly popular webmail clients and the hassle of attachments still seem to indicate that embedded images are not the way to go in most cases.
Our recommendation is still to have the understanding that your images may not display, and design your emails accordingly. Please note that Campaign Monitor itself does not support embedding images in this way at all, we tested outside of our application.
Thanks to everyone who commented and suggested this additional test, we appreciate the feedback.