How Gmail Image Caching Feature Will Affect Email Marketing?

Gmail has added series of features to enhance their free eMail service. Recently they introduced Gmail tabbed inbox  and now they have introduced Gmail image caching to make your Email more secure and safe from malware. If you are one of those who uses Gmail, you must be aware of feature call “Display images below” or “Always Display images from $email“, which blocks automatic image loading inside an Email. You have to click on “Display images below” to see the images inside an Email. This feature makes your Email more secure, but it’s annoying at times. Now gMail is handling this issue by caching the images on their proxy server, and filtering out any spam or possible hacking attempt on your Email. This feature has its own pros and cons, and it will certainly make Email marketers to re-work on their Email analytic tool.

What is Gmail Proxy Image caching and how it will Affect You?

I’m sure you must be aware of Email tracking tools like SpyPig or Signals, which adds an image pixels with unique identifier to help you track the Email opening. The best part is, you will get to know every time when somebody opens your Email. With Gmail Image caching feature, now Gmail will cache images (Images inside an Email) on their secure proxy-server, and subsequent image loading request will be served by Gmail proxy servers. For an end-user this will help them to load Gmail faster and  making your Email more secure from un-known senders.  More over, you don’t have to click on “Display images below” every-time you receive an Email from un-known sender. Be it on Android, iOS or web version of Gmail, images will load by default.  Below .gif explains how this new change will make reading Emails easier for you.

gMail Image Caching Email marketing

The problem for marketer is Email analytics, as we will not be able to track subsequent Email opens. According to TechCrunch source, these changes will not affect Email-marketers much, and will not block them from tracking unique opens. The only problem is, you will not be able to track subsequent opens, as subsequent image loading will be served via Gmail proxy servers. This also meant, we will not be able to determine the location of eMail receiver. All the popular Email-marketing companies have shared their in-sight and views on this latest changes from gMail team, and let’s have a look what they have to say.

How eMail Marketing companies are responding to gMail Image loading changes?

I use Aweber for Email-marketing, and according to them this new changes will improve Email-tracking and results will be more accurate. This feature is rolling out, and will extend to mobile-apps by 2014. So, with time your Email-tracking will be more accurate. Here is what Aweber team has to say:

Initially, the change also meant repeat opens by the same subscribers would not be communicated, but our devs cracked down and found a fix. This means both your unique and total open rate reports will, with Gmail’s update, be more accurate than was possible before.

According to Mailchimp blog post:

“Using cached images is a fine idea for Gmail, but it has the potential to mess with open tracking for ESPs. Fortunately, MailChimp can still detect the first request for the open-tracking pixel. This won’t interfere with the count of “unique opens” you get in your reports, but it could prevent us from seeing multiple opens per subscriber.


  • Now you don’t have to click on “Display images below” to load images in Email. They will be loaded automatically.
  • Email marketing tool will be able to track Email opens more accurately.
  • Email analytics will not be able to track subsequent Email opens.
  • This also makes your gMail more secure, as hacker will not be able to get information related to your system I.P.
  • This might also affect tracking devices used to open Emails.

From a marketer point of view, gMail new changes is killing eMail-marketing to a great extent. eMail marketing has been an ultimate tool for Internet marketers to reach directly to their subscribers, but with tabbed Email tab (Promotion Email), and changes in Email-tracking seems like a big blow-out for Email marketers. But from an end user perspective, these changes are very helpful to make their Email more secure.

Do let me know your views and opinion about Image caching changes from Google? Do you think it’s useful for Email marketers or it will make Email-marketing tougher in coming days?

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 2 )

  1. Harmeet singh says

    This will surely affect the email marketers…..
    I think this will affect the current tracking procedures used by many Email Marketing Service providers.

  2. Vipin Pandey says

    Hi Harsh,

    Yesterday I got notification when log in to my Gmail Account that now images are safe on Gmail. When I saw your post then got actual idea how it is safe now and unsafe earlier. It was really annoying earlier, we had to think before clicking show images button that this image is safe or not. Now it is OK.

    Definitely it is going to help email marketing companies that they can use image and graphics in the emails without thinking that user will see it or not.