Friday, December 13, 2013

Gmail Now Displays Images by Default

By: Chris Reibold
Senior Email Analyst

You may have heard this week that Google made some changes to the way Gmail displays images in their emails. Previously, Gmail would make a request for an image every time an email was opened, but now they temporarily store those images, including the one we use for open tracking.

What does this mean for our users?

To facilitate open tracking in emails, we embed a transparent image (1x1 pixel) in each email, hosted on our servers. When you open the email, JangoSMTP knows that unique image has been accessed, and can then tell the sender their email has been opened. While using cached images is great idea for Gmail, it does create a problem for any Email Service Provider (ESP). Mainly that, with this new image caching system in place, location tracking won't be available for Gmail addresses.

However, there are always two sides to the coin – we have done some tests here at the office and actually are happy to see that open tracking appears to be more accurate with Gmail addresses now. Additionally, this should not affect POP or IMAP mail clients in anyway. For forwarded messages or multiple opens, Google will need to load the image at least that first time before they can cache it. When a customer comes back and re-opens the email, or forwards it to additional address, that’s where you’ll possibly miss some of the tracking, but that doesn't affect that first/unique open.

Image Source: Official Gmail Blog
When Gmail users open up their web interface, they are now presented with an alert regarding this new change. They now have the option to turn images on or off by default. Leaving images on enables image caching, but still lowers our ability to track repeat opens. Turning images off, however, allows users to open messages without downloading our tracking pixel.

Remember, this doesn't affect the number of subscribers actually reading your email, it simply makes the unique
opens more accurate.

If you have any questions regarding the change contact us at: 1-855-709-4099, or submit a ticket at