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Email Trends: Using Mosaics
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Email Trends: Using Mosaics


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Mosaics offer an interesting way to get around image blocking, but they come with some serious pitfalls. This slide set will show you how they work and when and where to use them. Brought to you by …

Mosaics offer an interesting way to get around image blocking, but they come with some serious pitfalls. This slide set will show you how they work and when and where to use them. Brought to you by

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  • Hi and welcome to our presentation on Email Mosaics; what they are, and why you should or shouldn’t use them. This presentation is being brought to you by Goolara, the makers of Goolara Symphonie, a powerful email marketing solution that makes advanced email marketing features easy to use. There has been a lot of talk recently about “mosaics.” At first glance, they seem like a wonderful tool for getting past image blocks, but, as you’ll see in this presentation, there are some caveats. First, let’s start by defining what we mean by mosaics.
  • Mosaics are tables in email, just like any other table, but with one big difference: Instead of containing pieces of an image, or text blocks, they contain cells that are given color values to match the pixels in an image. For example on this slide, we have a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the left, and on the right is the picture converted into a table with 100 rows and 100 cells. Since the original photo has a resolution 402 pixels square, you can see we are losing some quality. If we made the table the same size as the photo, we wouldn’t lose any quality, but there are good reasons not to do this, which we will get to in a moment. So what are the advantages to using mosaics?
  • There’s really only one advantage to mosaics and it’s a big one. Most email clients block images by default. Even most smart phones, with the exception of the iPhone, block images. Since a mosaic is not, technically, an image, it will display, even when the images are turned off. In this example, the Goolara logo has been converted to a mosaic in the lower version of the email. You can see that even though the image on the right in the email is still blocked, the Goolara appears. Now, how about the disadvantages?
  • Well, there are definitely more disadvantages to using mosaics than advantages. They can be large files, which can lead to the email getting prematurely cropped by email clients with HTML code length restrictions, (Gmail, for instance). They are difficult to work with in visual HTML editors, and they do not provide feedback for your open rate metrics. Let’s take these one at a time.
  • How good an image looks as a mosaic will depend in large part on how detailed your mosaic is. Most mosaic generators let you choose how many cells to work with. You may be tempted to opt for the largest table, which would be one cell for each pixel, but it’s not that simple.
  • As you can see here, the more cells in your table, the larger your HTML code is. The 100 cell table is fifteen times as large as the 25 cell table. 382 Kb might not seem like that much, until you take into account how many emails you are sending. Consider also that the average email without mosaics usually runs between 5 and 20 Kb. A jump like that in your sending behavior might raise a red flag with some email clients, causing them to either greylist you or send your mailings directly to the bulk folder.
  • Mosaics are also difficult to work with in most visual HTML editors. The density and variety of information in the table cells make it hard for these editors to both display the content and the cell boundaries. This doesn’t mean they won’t appear as the should in the final email, but it does mean that you better send a test email to make sure this is so. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty surprise.
  • Some email clients are set to abridge the content of an email if it appears to long. Normally, this is rarely a problem, but mosaics automatically increase the size of a mailing substantially and the email client will see this as more content. In the example, Gmail has decided to cut out all of the message immediately after the mosaic, so the recipient will see the logo but nothing more. You’ll also notice that the logo itself is slightly distorted, suggesting that Gmail actually cut of some of the mosaic as well.
  • So is it ever okay to use mosaics? As is so often the case with questions about email, the answer is: It depends. As long as the mosaics are small, and the messages are short, a mosaic can be effective. But the most important thing to remember is that if you are planning to use a mosaic, you should do some test mailings first.
  • The final question is, “Where can I find tools to create mosaics?” Our favorite comes from Style Campaign, an email design company in Los Angeles. This is a downloadable tool that is very easy to use. Eamil on Acid also offers to create mosaics as part of their service, but this is a paid service. Programmer Matthew Lawson has also create an online mosaic creator, but it is only really useful for simple graphics. For more information on mosaics, as well as every other aspect of image preparation, you should also see our recent white paper, “Using Text and Graphics.” The white paper is free and available in the Resources Section of our website.
  • At Goolara, we work hard to make sure our email marketing solution, Symphonie, has all the features that a professional marketer needs to create actionable emails. Features such as dynamic content and transactional emails are included in every version of Symphonie. Symphonie is available in both on-premise and cloud-based versions. Visit our website at to learn more and thank you for attending this seminar.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Email Trends:All About Mosaics
    • 2. What are Mosaics? Original Image 100x100 Cell Table MosaicMosaics are images that have been converted into tables.The colors in the table cells are chosen to match the pixels of the image.
    • 3. Advantage of MosaicsNo need to worry about image blocking.Shows images evenwhen image blocking isturned on.
    • 4. Disadvantages of Mosaics Even small images use up large amounts of bandwidth. Larger emails files can get cut off, rendering them unreadable. Difficult to work with in visual HTML editors. Some email clients cut-off the text. No feedback from the images for open rate numbers.
    • 5. More Cells = Better Image 100x100 Mosaic 50x50 Mosaic 25x25 MosaicA mosaic with more cells per inch will yield better looking results.
    • 6. More Cells = Bigger File 382 Kb 97 Kb 25 KbBut mosaics with more cells per inch also yield larger files.
    • 7. HTML Editing With Mosaics Mosaic as it appears in browser Mosaic as it appears in DreamweaverMosaics are often too detailed to display properly in visual HTML editors.
    • 8. Mosaic’s Effect on DeliverabilityMosaics will sometimes cause the rest of the message to disappear.
    • 9. So, When Can I Use Mosaics? Short messages. Small images. Always test first.
    • 10. ResourcesStyle Campaign downloadable application. Fast and Easy.Email on Acid online service.Matthew Lawson’s Online Converter one works online, but has size restrictions.Using Text and Graphics’s White Paper on using text and graphics in email.
    • 11. About GoolaraGoolara, LLC is the maker of Symphonie—powerful email marketing software with theadvanced features a professional marketer needs, but without the hassle of othersystems. For a demonstration, call 1-888-362-4575 toll free, or visit and request a demo.