What Gmail's New 'Download Images by Default' Rule Means for Marketers

Association of Strategic Marketing
December 23, 2013 — 1,670 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

Google has just improved Gmail by allowing image files to be downloaded and viewed automatically on user systems. This means that people no longer have to select the ‘Display images below’ option to view pictures sent via email.

Option Available Prior to the Update

The main purpose of the option was to keep malicious spammers away, who could send malware and affect both systems and private networks through the images. People could also find out the physical location of users if they had access to the IP address through image files. To avoid these things, Google had put it to the discretion of the user whether the files would be visible or not.

How is it Safe Now?

Most users would only open image files if they came from reliable sources like friends and family. Now, they can see all images sent by e-mail. This is possible because Google runs the images through its own proxy servers that check the files for viruses before allowing them to pass to end users.

How will this Affect Internet Marketers?

This new feature is probably going to have a huge impact on the email marketing industry. Email marketing was limited by HTML text and catchy content intensive emails. Though pictures were also sent before, it was up to the users to open the image files. This made it difficult for marketers to grab immediate intention of potential customers.

With the availability of visual cues, email marketing may become far more effective than it was before. Combination of interesting write-ups and attention-grabbing images will make it easier for companies to reach out to their target groups.

Will Marketing and Advertising Change Due to the New Change?

The entire marketing process will become a lot more competitive as well. Email marketing is rather inexpensive. With the server accepting pictures being sent through the platform, marketers will be able to substantially reduce their costs of advertising while still creating a large impact on customers.

Why is this so Important for Gmail?

Gmail probably has the largest population of consumer users, making it one of the most targeted online platforms from the advertising perspective. Online advertising has become very effective now that most people use smartphones and tablets. The advertisements can be viewed on any Android or iOS device. Images will automatically be downloaded and shown on these files as well.

Association of Strategic Marketing