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Take Advantage of Google’s Image Cache

Gmail IconWhen Google implemented image caching on their email service a little over a year ago, it ruffled the feathers of email marketers everywhere. It has a number of negative effects that all boil down to the fact that marketers no longer receive requests from the user as Google effectively works like a proxy, downloading and storing any image they embed and then “serving” it to email users – this means tracking and all the important data that marketers use to serve better content to subscribers will no longer be available. Additionally, the absence of tracking puts a dent on all the metric tracking tools that they and their ESPs rely on.

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Motivation Behind Google’s Image Caching

Putting on a tinfoil hat and claiming that Google did this in order to hurt the email marketing industry is unnecessary. In the first place, no company would admit to doing such a thing, and even if true, we all need to accept that Google is a business first and foremost, and that their advertising arm is a competitor for email marketers. Even if you take the sunniest explanation – that Google is doing this to improve security and speed for their users, it will not change anything. Worse, it distracts email marketers from what’s important: taking advantage of Google’s Image Cache.

Google’s Image Caching feature is never going away, and now most people aren’t even aware that it’s on. All that’s left for email marketers is find ways to cope with it on, as well as take advantage of any benefits it brings.

First thing’s first, you need to talk to your email service provider and ask around if they have implemented changes designed to work with email caching. Why, you ask? It’s because the caching’s biggest effect is on reporting and analytics. If an email service provider relies on gross or total open rate numbers, you’ll most likely see numbers that are lower than what they really are.

Next is to reassess your emails. Are they relying on images delivered dynamically? If yes, then your campaigns are being hampered by Google’s image caching service. You will have to find an alternative unless you want to give Gmail users a degraded experience – and let’s not forget about this fact: the reason why the image caching service isn’t being pooh-poohed is because it’s sold as a way to improve the experience of the end users. If you want to succeed in the business, they’re who you really want to cater to.

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