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Retailers shun images for text in marketing emails

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UK retailers tend to prefer text to images in marketing emails, according to new research.

The analysis of 126,652 emails sent by IRUK Top500 retailers, compiled by Beetle for InternetRetailing, found that the average email featured 0.17 images for every word of text.

The average word count for the emails analysed was 217. The most word-heavy emails were newsletters from, which sent one email in 2017 with 7214 words.

The most image-heavy email was sent by, featuring 27 images and no text. Emails from, and also had relatively high numbers of images.

“Retailers should always be mindful of how email service providers will interpret their emails,” said Chris Cheshire, founder at “Emails with little or no words relative to the number of images are often considered spam.

“One of the reasons for this is the email provider’s spam program won’t be able to form a decent idea of what your email is about, and will err on the side of caution and just send it straight to the spam folder.

“In the past, it was recommended to send emails with no images whatsoever, to make absolutely sure that all spam filters see your email in the best light possible, and this is still considered the absolute best way of hitting your users’ inboxes. However, nowadays with email marketing being more prevalent than ever, you will see a good inbox delivery rate by adhering to the 80/20 rule. 

“If you want to include images in your emails, try to make sure at least 80 percent of your email is text to ensure the best delivery rates.”

The same analysis also found that UK retailers prefer to send marketing emails at the beginning of the month rather than the end and in the morning rather than afternoon.

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