Format Wars: Is Plain Text or HTML the Email Standard?

By EXCLUSIVE Insights Team
TOPICSEmail Marketing, Featured

HTML has always been the gold standard for email marketing; it allows users to design professional-looking templates, eye-catching designs and illustrative graphics. But recently, email marketers have been shifting from HTML to plain text for a variety of reasons.

While polls show that recipients prefer images in their emails, the rate of engagement tells a different story. Recent studies have consistently shown higher engagement rates for plain text. Marketing platform HubSpot ran a study that underscored this, which you can find here.

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So why the change in thinking? First, HTML emails don’t always make it to their intended recipient. If the HTML isn’t coded properly, chances are it’ll end up displaying incorrectly or in the spam folder. Not only will your client miss that particular email, but it increases the probability that future emails from that address will be flagged, too.

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Marketing specialists say another reason for the shift is readability. The bottom line is that plain-text emails are easier to read. And when people are receiving dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of emails a day, then the faster you can make your point, the better. Plain-text emails are also more personal. Think about when you go to your physical mailbox; do you read the junk mail that’s sent to every other house in your neighborhood? Of course not. When something is addressed to you personally, you’re more apt to pay attention. The same goes for emails.

Plain-text emails are also gaining popularity because they’re easy to read on any platform, from your desktop to your tablet or phone. Recipients don’t have to open an additional link — everything they need is right in front of them, and if there’s one thing people appreciate today, it’s technology that’s quick and easy.

Featured photo credit: badalyanrazmik 
Photo credit: badalyanrazmik 
Photo credit: Publicist