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Can B2B Newsletters Survive the Preview Pane?

by Daniel Jung  |  
July 28, 2006

It's been long known that preview pane and the blocked-images feature in email clients are problematic for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. A recent survey that our company conducted confirmed the significance of this problem, as the majority of B2B readers are using both the preview pane and the default blocked-images functions to decide whether to open emails and block unwanted downloads.

Companies that do not take steps to address these findings with their email design and format will be doing a disservice to their subscribers. A survey conducted in September 2005 of one of our subscriber lists showed that 90% of email newsletter subscribers have access to a preview pane, and 69% say they frequently or always use it.

Among other survey findings:

  • Nearly 53% of respondents' email clients or ISPs automatically block images in some or all email messages.

  • 45% of email readers rarely or never download images within their preview pane.

  • 50% of subscribers rarely or never place an email address on their email client's "safe sender" list.

  • 49% of email readers only look at the first few lines in the preview pane to decide if they want to continue reading the message.

  • Nearly 19% of respondents will simply delete the message due to insufficient information displayed in the preview pane—due to blocked images, advertisements or poor design.

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Daniel Jung is creative director at EmailLabs (, based in Menlo Park, Calif. He can be reached at

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