Text to Image Ratio

Should I be Concerned with Text and Image Ratio in Email?


With accessibility, interactive, GDPR and more in the immediate future, the last thing we want to stress over is text and image ratio. Unfortunately, there’s not a blanket answer that works for everyone. However, we can provide some information on where it does make sense to pay close attention to the text/image balance in an email.

Text and Image Best Practices in Email

We’re not comfortable giving you a yes or no just yet, but we can start with some overall best practices.

1. The 60/40 rule

The most common guideline you’ll hear is no more than 40% image coverage and a minimum of 60% text. While there are exceptions, this rule will generally keep you out of any deliverability issues. That said, filters aren’t going to look at your ratio and reject it if you’re at 61/39. Deliverability will be minimally impacted. If you’re looking to push the limits on best practices, this is the perfect time to start looking at email testing. Email on Acid’s email testing will show you how your code will appear in all major clients and most of the smaller ones, which allows you to know what you’re sending before you send it.

2. Strive for balance

Just like walking, you need to have some balance for the basics to work. Make sure you have a balance between image and text that makes sense for the type of devices you’re sending to. If you’re mostly looking at mobile clients, an image focus is a good balance. If you’re going to be in Outlook mostly, you may want to focus on the text more. Find the balance based off your specific campaign needs

Content First

Your content is the vessel for your message. If you have bad content, the deliverability of the email doesn’t matter.

1. Make your emails in a way where they make sense when you take the images out

Hear me out on this. Many clients including some big ones, like Outlook, block images as a default. Unless the recipient is actively right clicking and opening the image boxes, your text is going to have to be able to stand on its own. When crafting your email, put more focus on your content than the ratios. When you run an email test through Email on Acid, you’ll be able to see exactly how that text will show up. If it makes sense with no images, you’re in good shape.

2. Use Alt text with images

This will help you get a sense of what to do when images are turned off. Once again, you should use this but stand on content. Content is king for a reason. However, you should always consider accessibility best practices when using Alt tags. Setting the right alt text will enable screen readers to accurately describe images to those using them. However, not all images need alt text. If your image is purely for the aesthetics of the email, such as a spacer gif or shadow, be sure to set an empty alt=”” on the image. This simply tells the screen reader to skip over these images.

Where You Can Stretch the Rules

1. Mobile

If your analytics are telling you most opens are on mobile devices (especially for B2C, this is usually the case), you can go heavier with images. Mobile works well with images, and they’re a great way to grab attention on a smaller screen or device. Don’t be afraid of making your images more prominent for mobile marketing. As always, this is where testing comes into play. Make sure to run your test send through Email on Acid’s Email Testing Tool to see exactly how your email will show up on mobile devices.


1. So, does it matter?

Most of the time, no. If you’re staying in the general guidelines or within an arm’s reach, you’ll come out just fine.

2. So, what should I do?

Focus on the content of the email. Make sure if the image is blocked, you can get your message across.

3. What else?

TEST! There is no better way to get rid of send anxiety than using email testing. Save yourself time, know exactly how it will look, and you’ll eliminate the worry over text and image ratio in no time.

Test today!

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

1 thought on “Should I be Concerned with Text and Image Ratio in Email?”

  1. Thank you for continuing the alt tag campaign! So many clients at first find this not worthy in their work requests and it’s up to us to convince them otherwise. Meanwhile, you mention images for mobile – do we ever need to be aware of data plans when using image heavy builds? More images = more data to download = data plans affected. Or is this not so much an issue?

Comments are closed.