Background image and deliverability

  • 8 March 2023
  • 3 replies

Badge +4

Quick question! Does having a background image harm my deliverability? I know that an email only consisting of an image might easily end up at the spam folder, but I’m wondering if it’s the same for background images, sice they take up the whole space of the email. There’s still text and other content blocks on top of it though...


Best answer by inboxingmaestro 13 March 2023, 18:33

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3 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +59

Hi @Basil, thanks for joining the community!

If you have enough “text” in the email for the Inbox Providers to parse/read, I think you’ll be fine.  Background images are just other “image” references/links in the email so I can’t imagine how it would be any different than any other images surrounding text in the email.

You’re right to point out that the issue is typically with “image only” (or very little text) email.  This doesn’t give the Inbox providers enough context of the email, so I’d imagine they would treat those emails with more suspicion.  

Of course deliverability at large are all algorithmic and personalized - so I don’t think any anecdotal experience can really say. I’d love to hear what others think!

Userlevel 5
Badge +29

Hi @Basil 

Thank you for the great question about Deliverability.

Answering your question directly - no, having a background image, solely will not give your email more chances of going into a Spam Folder. As you have mentioned, you will still have all other standard aspects of a campaign, which include a good mix of text and images.
Here is a deeper dive on Deliverability for you.  

One thought I will leave with you, is about the size of the email. Depending on your image and in addition, all other components of your email, you may be at risk of Clipping within Gmail. 

Clipping occurs by Gmail when the email is over 102KB in size.
If clipping happens, you may see a decrease in open rates, because open events are calculated when a tracking pixel is loaded at the bottom of an email and if the email is clipped, then this open event will not register.
Here is more information on Clipping. And note; when sending a Test Campaign / Preview, there is a helpful alert in the top right hand corner to show you if you are at risk.


I hope this was helpful! 


Userlevel 5
Badge +18

Hi @Basil 

Background images doesn’t impact deliverability directly as long as images are not hosted on blacklisted image hosting domain (sort sort of free hosting space). Deliverability is a sum total of multiple factors like technical DNS & authentication, aggregated domain rep (sending domain, return path, image hosting, link tracking, etc.), engagement, etc.

But, background images does have an impact on email accessibility and limitation to specific ISPs like Outlook, that may lead to a bad inbox experience and generating a negative signal like spam complaint.

What you should rather do?

  • Aim for a better inbox experience while building an email content.
  • Only send mobile responsive, balanced HTML (60:40 ratio of images:TEXT), dark mode and accessibility favoured emails to your audience.
  • Follow email content & design best practices every time you build an email campaign.
  • Keep your emails under 100 KB to avoid clipping of emails in Gmail and delivery issues.
  • Test on multiple email clients, devices before sending to final audience.
  • Test, Monitor & Repeat the process.

Hope that helps. Any further questions, let me know.