Learn a New, Clever Way to Boost Engagment from PizzaExpress

No one can count the number of times he or she has opened an email and started reading, only to be baffled by a lot of white space, and no immediately visible content. More than half of major email clients block images by default. Only after “enable images” is clicked does the email begin to make sense. Now when one is on a computer, such a step becomes almost second nature–when the email is considered interesting enough to bother with a full viewing instead of a cursory glance and deletion. However, when one is checking email on a mobile device, such a step becomes more time-and data-consuming. As such, the mobile device turns into an email pager: a recipient notes that there is an email to read at a later time, and then expects to remember to check it out once at a computer. However, as this case study featured by the Litmus blog proves, only around 2% of consumers are viewing messages on multiple devices . This means, the viewers must be encouraged to fully utilize mobile devices’ email potential the first time they see a message, and immediately see the message a marketer wants to convey.

Enter PizzaExpress. This company has found a way to make a reader want to download the images, even at the extra time and data costs. Through an ingenious use of HTML tables, PizzaExpress conceived of a way to send a rudimentary, 8-bit style image in the body of the email.


This image arrives as is, and serves as an appetizer for the reader, providing a sample of a potential image. Though this technique can be used to create some impressively accurate representations, they still only offer a hint at what is in store to be downloaded and therefore pique the viewer’s interest. Instead of simply waiting until access to a computer presents itself to view the full email, a reader is more inclined to immediately download the images and see what the HTML is supposed to be representing.

Given the prevalence of image blocking by default in email clients, email marketers must always be on the watch for creative, effective means of encouraging recipients to view a full email and generate clicks. If a marketer has even a quarter of the email’s content in images, that needs to be viewed as 25% of content that is more than likely not going to be immediately viewed. This number is obviously low, as images can contain so much more content than simple text. Email marketers cannot work on the mindset that email recipients will “get back” to the email at a later time. More likely, if the email doesn’t spark interest, it will be deleted or never opened again. If 25% or more of the email’s content doesn’t even get seen by the viewer, then the marketer doesn’t really stand a chance. Utilizing advanced email analyticswill help you implement and monitor the improvements that this strategy will bring. The strategy that PizzaExpress employs represents a new way to either send the content that a marketer wants to be seen, or inspire a recipient to immediately download the images.


Written by Aleksander Heba
Brand Manager at ExpertSender, Marketing Fanatic, Trend Spotter, Windsurfing Addicted.