gmail-logo

Google Quietly Updates Gmail to Cache Images: Impact for Email Marketers

  |  December 31, 2013   |  Comments

Continued from

4. Cookies

Cookie synchronization for ad serving and retargeting may be undermined. Advertisers are increasingly performing cookie synchronization between ad data management platforms and their CRM databases. The benefit is more relevant ad targeting and more timely and relevant email. Gmail may become a black hole for this activity.

5. Timing

Tools that deliver images dynamically based on time (think time-limited offers) will be negatively impacted. Once the recipient sees the image, it will not be downloaded again and so will not be able to change.

6. Counts

Since images are cached they will, at most, be downloaded once per recipient. Total opens will fall. Tools that use multiple image downloads to infer read times and repeat reading will be negatively impacted.

One other impact of the Google image cache is that it restricts images to 10MB. Any image larger than that produces an error. While not an issue for most, this can be significant for animated images.

If you're wondering why Google would make these changes, I can think of a couple of reasons.

The first is privacy. Unlike most other webmail providers, Google has always hidden the submitting IP address of emails. This change also masks the IP address of readers, as well as other information about them that might be considered sensitive (browser information could be used for exploits, for example).

The second is performance. Google's cache service is fast, but some senders' image delivery isn't. This can provide a better experience for Gmail users.

There are other possible reasons, but most of them require ownership of a tin-foil hat so I won't get into them right now.

As for what to do about it, talk to your email provider. For most email marketing, the impact will be on reporting and analytics rather than functionality. If your ESP provides gross or total open rate numbers, these will likely shrink. Providers that collect and report on statistics around location, device etc., are already working to exclude or adjust for the Gmail data and see if there are other ways to obtain the same information.

The larger impact though is if you're delivering images dynamically based on device, time or location. In these instances, you will certainly need to make changes. The most likely outcome is that Gmail users will get a degraded experience, rather than the improved experience Google was aiming for.

Page:

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Harding

Derek Harding is the CEO and founder of Innovyx Inc., a member of the Omnicom Group and the first e-mail service provider to be wholly owned by a full-service marketing agency. A British expatriate living in Seattle, WA, Derek is a technologist by background who has been working in online marketing on both sides of the Atlantic for the last 10 years.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...