3 Ways to Effectively Embed Images in Email



A Picture is Worth a Thousand Mbs

Images are a big part of learning today. It turns out that some people actually learn better with visuals. Images are also a powerful tool for email marketers. An image can translate knowledge, communicate emotions, and receive increased engagement rates.

 Images, when used correctly, can elevate email messages and email marketers should take advantage of images and the impact they have on their customers. It’s even nice to spice up your transactional emails with images every once in a while.

Images across all media channels should be an important priority for marketers, especially when it comes to email. I know what you’re thinking, images in an email are difficult to work with right? Not if you use them correctly. If you don’t handle images properly, they can affect your engagement, deliverability, or even your sender reputation. Knowing how to properly embed images in html emails is crucial.

To overcome these issues, it helps to understand the proper ways to embed your images in an email. Here, we will talk about 3 ways you can embed your images and the pros and cons of each one. One way isn’t necessarily better than another, it’s just what you happen to feel comfortable with.  It is also good to understand the benefits and risks associated with each method as well.

3 Ways Senders Embed Images

Today there are three methods when it comes to embedding images:

  1. Linked images
  2. Inline embedding
  3. CID tags

Before marketers pick and choose which method they want to use, they should be testing how their active contacts behave with their emails right now.

The reason for this is because it is very important to analyze your contact's behavior before using images in your emails. You will need to test out what type of images need to be created for which clients, the correct size, how they render images for their contacts, and how they treat ALT text.

Now let’s break down these options into more detail.

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Linked Images

These are the simplest to implement and the size of the email is smaller. The only downside to this is how many people you’re sending an image-laden email to because this could affect your email deliverability. If you’re sending an embedded image to a smaller group of people, then a cloud hosting site like Google Drive could help you send that image. On the other hand, if you’re sending an email to thousands of people, the best option for you would be a content delivery network.

Content delivery networks host your images in data center networks. Emails with images designed within them will call the content delivery network’s hosted image by way of an embedded HTML tag.

A linked image is very easy to use and it allows you to make adjustments to your image through HTML coding. The negatives to this method would be that you are required to use an email to download an image from an external server. This then can cause latency issues.

Inline Embedding

Inline embedding is another simple method to use when it comes to embedding your images in an email, but even faster. This requires you to have a specific type of encoding scheme, called “base4 string” for your image. With this encoded string, you can easily embed your image into your email through a standard HTML tag and that’s it. No dealing with other codes.

The unfortunate downfall is that inline embedding is blocked by Microsoft Outlook. It does not interact well with webmail services. And Microsoft accounts could be a big part of your email send.

CID (Content- ID)

If you look back in the history books, you will see that CID has been used to send images and videos through email for quite some time, and it’s still often chosen by email marketers today.

While linked images and inlined embedding might be the easier options, CID still is more versatile than inline embedding, and even linked images still have the same blocking issues as CID and inline embedding.

Using CID in your email isn’t super complicated. It essentially takes two steps, attach the image to the email and attach the HTML tags in the email template. This means that when the email is opened the image is embedded.

Notice, I said before that CID isn’t super complicated - well it's not super easy either. Some cons to CID are it doesn’t work well with browser-based emails like yahoo or Gmail. Sometimes the image might not be properly displayed in your email to the client. But CID actually works great with desktop emails.

Also, something else to take into consideration if you choose CID is, embedding images will increase the size of your overall email, which then could lead to a negative effect on deliverability, sender score, and more. Not to mention you have to put in a lot more work into preparing your template, and that it feels a tad outdated.


Whatever you choose, you’ll want to have as much knowledge as possible on who you’re going to be sending emails to and where they are going to view them. You’ll need to prepare email images for desktop, mobile, web browsers, and all of the different types of email services. It’s a lot of work, but the more prepared you are ahead of time the more effective it will be in the end.

Now, it’s time to one-up your competitors and start building image-based relationships with your end-users. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.


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