Embedding Some Images

I was wondering how easy it would be to embed some images into an email (small ones) and have some loading normally (remotely for tracking).

What would be the best way to embed the images into the html I upload, if this is even possible?


travisbell travisbell, 9 years ago

You can add the "cm_dontimportimage" tag to any images you don't want to us to import (embed). Read more about it here:


Travis Bell
Fonant Fonant, 8 years ago

I think Bullchicken might have meant embedding one or two small images (e.g. company logo) into the email as an attachment that can then be referenced from the HTML.

You lose the ability to track the view of this image, but you have the image displayed straight away in most email clients, avoiding the "don't display linked images" problem that will result in blank images for some recipients.

travisbell travisbell, 8 years ago

Hi Fonant,

Yup, for sure. We have looked into this and while there can be some benefits, the negatives like the lack of reporting makes it something we'll be unlikely to ever implement.

Thanks guys!

Travis Bell
donquixote, 8 years ago

Sorry for not giving up on this..

Unfortunately, it is very hard to find a tool out there which has all the things I like so much about CampaignMonitor. From my research so far, I would say such a tool does not exist (unless I pay a lot).

However, a bunch of the "imperfect tools" I found do provide embedded images, and perform quite well in this regard. The same is true for most newsletters in my own inbox. Most of them have embedded images, and only with some of them they don't show up in some clients.

What I understand from your blog posts, the main "negatives" for embedded images are
N1) increased file size of the sent email. That is true, but certainly not a show stopper. And, if you are worried about bandwidth (I don't know what is more expensive, embedding or hosting), you could let people pay for big file sizes.
N2) does not show up in all email clients, especially the web-based ones. This is probably the most important argument, and yes, this would be a show stopper. My guess is, it really depends on the way you embed the image. Those examples which work (for me) make me believe that it is not totally impossible to do some decent image embedding. Maybe I need more testing to find out where the embedded images break.
N3) you can't track the open rate. True. But even with hosted images, a lot of people reading the message will not bother to click "load images", and instead read the ugly barebones (which are designed to work w/o images, but of course not as beautiful). This makes the open rates quite unreliable. Mails with only few small images will get a smaller open rate, because people are less likely to click "load images".
N4) It might have some effect on spam filters, but I don't know which that would be.
N5) It might be difficult to implement, or it might not work with other parts of CM - such as, the automated test in email clients. Obviously, I can't say much about that.

Now the "positives":
P1) People don't need to click "show images", because in many clients the embedded images show up directly (as opposed to hosted images). Many clients don't even support the "alt" attribute in images, which make it even worse to have images not show up.
P2) The reader can be offline, and still see the images.
P3) The client might want it.
P4) Many other tools allow to embed images, and it works. Unfortunately, none of them fits the requirements we currently have.
P5) People concerned about their privacy might dislike open rate tracking.

Now, I don't even say that having embedded images is the better choice in general. But, it would make me really happy to have choice, if I want to embed or host. Ideally, a separate choice for each image. You could add an explanation, if you think you need to discourage people from doing so.

Thank you,

warthogweb, 8 years ago

I get mail every day (on Outlook 2003) that displays images immediately - usually through cid. I need to put together a small newsletter as an occasional mail to a couple of hundred clients.

I looked at http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/post/1759/embedding-images-revisited/ and when I compose an HTML mail (in Homesite), CM refuses to identify it. Is there a simple way to do this?


northa, 8 years ago

Not sure I understand the stubbornness around this. There are some valid reasons people may need this (esp. P1 and P3 above).

You can make linking the default while still allowing those who need it to attach images or "encode" them like the blog post describes.

Blake, 8 years ago

Thanks for letting us know. We appreciate the feedback, and will add your votes to our list.

Right now it's not something we are planning, because of some of the downsides mentioned above, and also because we need to prioritise, and there are lots of other things we're working on already.

At the moment though, the way Campaign Monitor is built, embedding the images just won't work unfortunately.

hillsy, 8 years ago

As there is apparently a list to which votes can be added, this is just a "+1 me too" post :-)

I'm not sure I understand the stubbornness either. Having the option would be very helpful for at least some use cases and as long as users are fully appraised of potential downsides. Perhaps a file size limit would also cut down on the potential for abuse.

BThies BThies, 8 years ago

Here are some negatives I see with embedded images:

1.)  You're forcing images down the throats of those who don't want to see them.  You're removing the purpose of that feature in their email client, and removing the viewer's choice.  Never good.

2.)  Increased file size can fill up someone's mail box real quick (especially users that have quotas on their inbox)  Imagine if everyone used embedded images...

3.)  Some major ISP's filter and block mass emails being sent with attachments.  You'd be putting CM's services at risk if massive amounts of emails were being sent with attachments.  AKA - don't clog the net.

4.)  Spam Filters. Red flags go up everywhere with HTML, JPEG, BMP, etc. types of attachments.  A lot of your emails would be hit as suspect or spam immediately by various Anti-Virus and Firewall software.

IMO - If your goal is to reduce your deliverability for the sake of a small portion having more viewability - I'd recommend against it.  Use links to the "web version", and make it stand out at the top of the email.

Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
northa, 8 years ago

We're only asking for the option. And we're not talking about some theoretical situation. I'm butting up against this in real life with real clients.

In response to your points...

1) We're sending email to people who have signed up asking for email from us. No one is forcing anyone to receive our email. They always have the option to unsubscribe.

2) I don't think we're talking Megabyte attachments. I'd be fine with a file size limit. If the logo to showed up on first load, I'd be content with that.

Real Life: I have a client (who doesn't use CM) who routinely sends 500KB Word/PDF documents as attachments because it allows her to control the formatting. She could care less about bandwidth and most people on the list are happy to receive the large emails.

3) I don't doubt this is at least partially true (a specific example would be useful though).

Real Life: My clients are generally sending to other business users, most of which don't use free email services.

4) Ditto

There are specific real life use cases for this feature.

Real Life I have a client that has 70% of their list using Outlook. Guess who they hold responsible when the images in their email newsletter doesn't display properly (hint, it's not Campaign Monitor). I've explained the limitations of CM and the supposed benefits, but you know what they say? I can do this with my desktop email client, why should I use CM?

BThies BThies, 8 years ago

@northa - You make some very valid points, but I did want to comment on a few things:

1.)  On my first point - it meant forcing the images, not the emails.  Even though people are signed up/subscribed to your newsletter, they still may have images disabled on their email client on purpose. (Others sending them emails with images they don't want to see; corporate policy; etc.).

2.)  You may not be talking megabytes, but some designers may want to use large images, animations, etc.  Also, if you're allowing attachments for images, what's to stop them from adding the ability to attach things such as PDF's?

Really it comes down to the CM service deploying emails as fast as possible to prevent bottlenecks for others.  Most email deployment services "throttle" the number of emails sent at a time so ISP's don't see 110,000 emails all at once (and put up their walls thinking it's an attack).  By adding image attachments or other attachments, the deployments are slowed, and thus your timed deployment may take longer to get out.  This could potentially slow the service up for other users.

3.)  Taking parts of #2, ISP's are constantly monitoring to ensure an infected file doesn't bombard their clients, and cause widespread issues.  Typically a person sending a personal email out with attachments may send it out to 30-50 people max on average (hard to say, but really, who sends out thousands at once from their personal inbox?... I'm afraid to know actually).  If the ISP picks up on thousands or tens of thousands of emails coming through with the same attachment(s), it may raise red flags and block the email - possibly the sender as well.  If you swim deeper into it, you may also run the risk of having corporate IT dept's block you as well - they're not going to let a mass flood of the same email with attachments hit multiple users and cause mass infection.  (May end up in junk folders depending on volume)

Again, it's a toss up whether you're willing to drive down deliverability for the sake of viewability, and whether CM is willing to put their necks out to do this.  It'll be interesting to see if this gets implemented, and how accurate my statements hold up.  If I'm totally wrong - I'll shave my head and post it on my website.  :-)

Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
EllenD, 4 years ago

I know this is a very old thread, but things change over 3 years so I was wondering if there was any update on the question of embedding images.

I'm aware of the advantages of the current method but have a client who is very keen on the way the attached/embedded images are served without having to click to download them - does anyone have any suggestions please? Thank you!

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi EllenD, thank you so much for getting in touch - we actually have some updated results on  embedding images in email.

Email client support still isn't fantastic and there are not many scenarios in which images download automatically. So we generally don't recommend this technique. Hope this helps!

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