The Best Image Size for Email Newsletters in 2019

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March 25 2019

You work hard to take every factor into account when planning your email campaigns. You want your subscribers to open your email and feel amazed at your design.

Naturally, you need to figure out the best image size for email newsletters.

Is there a hard and fast rule for your image size? Won’t your customizable templates adapt to different screen resolutions? What other factors should you consider when designing your emails with images and multimedia?

In this post, we’ll go over the ideal image size as of January 2019. We’ll also provide you with some general industry standards and tips for ensuring your email campaigns look beautiful no matter what.

Best image size for email and more best practices.

Your goal isn’t just to select the best size for your email—it’s making your email beautiful and successful. Sticking to the topic of images, let’s take a look at what factors, along with size, determine the accessibility and appearance of your email designs.

1. Dimensions: 600px to 650px is still the best image size for email.

The most popular screen resolution worldwide—across both mobile and all platforms—is 360×640. Roughly 34% of mobile users and 19% of all platforms use this resolution.

If you’re stretching your images to a width of 1000px and beyond, that’s actually not such a good idea. Even in 2019, the best image size for email is still a 600px width.

If you want to push the limits, give 650px a try and run plenty of tests to ensure it looks right in various email clients—on various browsers and mobile devices.

Maybe you want to play around with full-width images. Perhaps your goal is to create email campaigns that look more like a landing page. Depending on your subscriber’s devices and email client, you can stretch your images to widths of 800px or 900px.

Keep in mind that many email apps include navigation menus and advertisements which could interfere with your image spread. If you want to get daring with image sizes, it’s crucial to design different emails for subscribers based on their email clients and browsing habits.

This email from Jaybird went with a full-width image format and knocked it out of the park. High-quality graphics are the perfect way to promote new products.

High-quality graphics are the perfect way to promote new products.

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

2. File weight: 1MB max is the best image size for email.

Ah yes, the other image size. It’s true that width is important, but you should also consider the weight of your images. In this respect, the best image size for email is 1MB or less. If you can get by with a much lighter image, that’s great.

The goal is to ensure that your email loads quickly. Giant images will take forever to load, so your subscribers may end up clicking away.

Plus, more than half of emails are opened on mobile devices and that figure is constantly growing. Don’t eat up your subscribers’ precious data with massive high-resolution images.

3. Play around with the length.

Here’s the fun part. While a 600px width is the best image size for email, you have some room to play around with the length.

Plenty of brands design beautiful vertical graphics that “flow” nicely as users scroll through the email.

In terms of length, simply consider the overall file size in terms of MB and the amount of copy you plan to include.

This email from Hyped Marketing contains one very long background image with an informational copy set on top. Even if the image doesn’t load, subscribers can still understand what the email says.

This email from Hyped Marketing contains one very long background image with an informational copy set on top.

Image Source: Really Good Emails

4. But don’t use one large image for your entire email.

It might be tempting to make your email one large image, but this isn’t a good idea.

For one thing, many subscribers have email images disabled altogether. Imagine your content being disabled before your subscribers even get a chance to read it.

Plus, if it does work but takes too long to load, you could lose your shot.

Finally, marketers should consider accessibility. Some visually impaired subscribers rely on text to understand what’s happening in their email inbox.

5. Consider which email clients your subscribers use.

Understanding email clients will be your best line of defense for designing the perfect emails.

Don’t limit yourself: Segment your subscribers into different categories based on whether they use Outlook, Gmail, or something else. You can also separate them into different groups based on their preferred browser (if that’s how they generally open your emails).

Hint: Chrome still reigns supreme in 2019 with nearly 63% of the market share.

6. Always include relevant and interesting ALT text.

Worried your subscribers have images disabled? ALT text is your secret weapon.

Including this simple line of text can entice your subscribers to load your images. Or, at the very least, click the CTA links you’ve included in your email.

Keep your ALT tags straightforward and concise—just a few words of relevant text will do.

7. Stick with the highest quality file type.

With so many people using devices with high-resolution retina displays, you want your graphics to be as detailed and crisp as possible.

Stick with PNG formatting when possible. This file size is best for retaining resolution and transparency (if that’s what you need). However, PNG files are also much larger than JPGs and sometimes don’t work as well for photos.

Consider your goals for each email campaign when deciding which file type to use.

8. Test, test, and test some more.

If you’re not happy about sticking within the 600px width limit as the best image size for email, feel free to experiment a bit. Just make sure you run plenty of tests across multiple devices, email clients, apps, and browsers.

This seems redundant, but you really don’t want that pesky little scroll bar to show up when subscribers open your emails. You want it to load properly on every screen without any effort on the subscriber’s part.

What else should marketers know about images and other media in email?

Understanding the best image size for email is just one small part of the design puzzle. If you’re going for a specific aesthetic or vibe, you have several options for tweaking and customizing your design outside the realm of static images.

1. Use background colors to stretch your display.

Maybe you’re ready to play around with full-width emails but you’re worried your images won’t fit onto your subscribers’ screens. You’re better safe than sorry, right?

In this case, consider using background colors that match the dominant color in your image.

This strategy will make your image seem much larger than it really is without the risk of triggering that tacky scroll bar. Your email will simply adjust to fit your subscribers’ screens as needed.

This email from Live Chat makes good use of background colors with minimalist graphics which likely stretch nicely on browsers.

This email from Live Chat makes good use of background colors with minimalist graphics which likely stretch nicely on browsers.

Image Source: Really Good Emails

2. Play around with GIFs.

GIFs are much more than funny screenshots from your favorite shows. In fact, many brands are designing their own custom high-resolution GIFs that beautifully merge the benefits of high-quality graphics with motion.

GIFs are excellent solutions when you don’t want to deal with clunky video files, but you still want to improve engagement with some type of motion. Even a small GIF can go a long way.

You can also use GIFs instead of infographics to explain concepts concisely.

3. Test for other factors like load speed.

At the end of the day, you want to know the best image size for email because you want your emails to look amazing. Test for everything—especially load speed.

Make sure to click through your landing page links to ensure those also load quickly and render properly across multiple devices. You want a smooth user experience from start to finish.

Keep in mind that people often open their emails first on mobile and later through their browser. Does your campaign look the same on all platforms?

Wrap up

At least for the foreseeable future, the best image size for email seems to still be 600px—650px if you’re feeling daring. Regardless, you should run plenty of tests before sending your emails to ensure your images render as intended across multiple email clients.

A great email campaign involves several design factors—even sticking within the realm of images. The most important thing marketers can do is understand their subscribers. Once you have an idea for the types of devices they use, you can tweak your tactics a bit to ensure that every email you send looks amazing.

Do you need help designing emails with beautiful images that render properly across multiple devices? Check out some of our templates and features to see how Delivra can help.