Email marketing: What lies ahead in 2017?

28 February, 2017 Analysis

In 2017 we are expecting a significant change in the overall perception and preparation of marketing campaigns. The main topics in the world of email marketing will be the penalisation of image-only emails, the general tightening of spam filter rules and the increase in protection against email abuse.

Since 1st November 2016, most freemail service providers worldwide have started penalising image-only emails delivered to their recipients’ mailboxes. These emails, which are a heavy burden on the internet infrastructure and bothersome to recipients are now detected by the spam filters and penalised accordingly decreasing the likelihood of succesfull inbox delivery.

Joining the trend,, the largest freemail provider in the Czech Republic, is also planning to implement this penalisation. The changes should be made over the next few weeks.

Forget image-only emails

For Czech marketers this means having to reassess the graphic design of campaigns in order to ensure deliverability. This change will nevertheless be a positive one regarding the ways of working with content and marketers will be able to devote more attention to content personalisation.

It will also benefit the recipients, who will be able to see the content of the message immediately, without the need to wait for downloading pictures. They will no longer receive, as it is often the case, an empty email, in which they first have to download all the pictures to even see what the sender is offering to them. The most commonly used email applications block pictures by default and according to studies 43% of recipients do not initially see the pictures at all.

Better for recipients, friendlier to mobile devices

Changing our approach to the design of email campaigns also represents a step towards improving their appearance on mobile devices, given that in the Czech Republic today nearly 50% of emails are viewed on mobile phones and tablets. Not only do picture campaigns suffer from poor readability and lack of responsibility on these devices, but they also require significant amounts of data. Given the FUP of our providers, this can be an unpleasant surprise for many. Email marketing is a relationship like any other: if the recipient benefits from your email, your efforts will pay off.

Better brand protection

The DKIM digital signature has been a standard feature for a number of years and for example the Czech server Seznam no longer accepts messages without this signature. The DMARC technology, which expands the digital signature by binding it to the SPF domain records (records from where an email can be sent) and reporting function, is a further step towards protecting users against email spoofing. It helps securing the domain against abuse and crucially provides information about the messages delivered at the domain, including abusive messages. This information is completely crucial for marketers to protect their brand or for banks to fight against phishing and spam. The DMARC technology has already been fully adopted by all large foreign providers and in the future will be key in classifying the sender’s reputation. Seznam has been carrying out internal testing of the technology and we can expect it to become available in the near future.