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How to Embed Images into Emails: The Facts

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04 Jan 2021

Images tend to communicate more information than the text. Images can make an email instantly engaging and eye-catching. They work as an extra garnishing on the well-written email. Their power to quickly deliver messages and flawlessly conveyemotions is unmatchable. However, what’s imperative is that you should understand the key concepts of rightfully embedding images in your emails. This is because images influence your deliverability rates, engagement rates, and the sender’s reputation.

In this article, we would be going through all the preferences available for embedding images and their pros and cons in detail. At the end of this article, you would be able to choose the right method for embedding images into emails.

CID (content-ID)

CID or content-ID is an old method of embedding images. It works by adding HTML tags of the images in the message body of the email. When a user opens the images, they see the HTML tags attached to the images. CID works great with the majority of desktop email clients. However, it causes issues with web-based email clients like YAHOO, Gmail, Outlook.

The pros and cons of the CID (content-ID):



Inline Embedding

Inline embedding, also known as base64 encoding, is much simpler compared with CID (content-ID). It doesn’t require you to drill into any MIME or code to use it. However, a base64 encoding, a type of encoding scheme, is required for embedding images in your email. If you have a base64 string, you can easily embed images in your emails by attaching an HTML tag in your message body with the image, and you are good to go.

To use inline embedding, you have to insert an image in your email and encode the image file as base64. To encode it, you have to paste the base64 digits in your standard HTML code, and you are done with it.

The pros and cons of inline embedding:



Linked Images

Both CID and inline embedding of images can significantly increase your overall size of the email. This can affect your emails to load slower. However, linked images come to the rescue to avoid these types of problems. Linked images work by linking your images from an external server. Well, here are a few things that need to be considered before opting for this method.

If you are sending around 100 emails in a week, there would be no need to consider this because public folders like google drive, DropBox, and OneDrive can host your images. Instead of this, if you send thousands of emails in a day, it would be advised to host your images in Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Edgecast or MaxCDN.

You can follow the guide below to use linked images in your email:

The pros and cons of linked images:



Why image testing is important before sending emails

Before you send emails, it is vital to know that your images have been rendered properly, no matter what method of embedding images you have chosen. You have to make sure that your emails would look like in different email services like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

There are many email testing services like CBT Mass Email Sender, Litmus and Mailtrap that can test your email images, whether they have been rendered properly or not. If you found your images aren’t displaying properly, start troubleshooting or try other image embedding method. They would probably solve your problem.


You should design your emails so that even if your images are rendered properly, you have to assume that it will not load in the inbox. Your recipients may have set their personal settings to block the images automatically. So, you need to make sure your emails still look great when images don’t appear.

You should include ALT text with your images. If the images don’t load, the reader can still know what the image was about, and your message would be delivered.


Among all the image embedding methods, it is essential to know which method you should go for. Before opting for a method, you should figure out whom and when you are sending the emails. To accurately choose a method that works for you, you can check emails by big companies such as Google, Pinterest, Amazon, etc., check their email header and codes, and start repeatedly testing until you find the right method.

Moreover, it would be best if you found that why are you embedding images in your emails? Is it to improve your brand image? Or to improve your email engagement? Monitor the analytics of how your email is responding. If it improves your brand image, but your email engagement is falling, you need to try the other method. You have to consistently try different methods according to the audience viewing devices or services and find out what works for you.

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