Add a Background Image to a Campaign

Take your email marketing to the next level and add a background image to your campaigns and automation emails.

In this article, you’ll learn how to add a background image to a campaign.

Before You Start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • This article explains how to add a background image to a basic drag-and-drop template or campaign. If you want to use a custom HTML campaign, take a look at our Add a Background Image to a Custom HTML Template article.
  • Make sure your background image meets our image requirements to ensure it doesn’t stretch or distort your campaign layout.
  • Because our drag-and-drop templates are mobile responsive, It's best to add a background image to a campaign section with a single column. Background images inserted in multi-column campaign sections may distort your design on mobile devices.
  • Background images cannot be added to the Page section of your campaign. To place a background image here, you'll need to use a custom HTML template
  • If you want a background image to display in Outlook, use a custom HTML template.

About Background Images

Background images can be used to create a repeated, background pattern, or to display a full image behind your campaign content. MailChimp’s drag-and-drop templates support background images in the pre-header, header, body, column, and footer sections of a campaign.

Background images don’t render in every email client, and may appear differently in mobile clients, so it’s important to thoroughly preview and test your campaigns before you send to your list.

Take a look at this table to find out which email clients support background images:

Email Client Supports Background Images
Outlook 2003
Outlook 2007
Outlook 2010
Outlook 2013
iOS Mail
Apple Mail


Add a Background Image

To add a background image to a campaign, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Click the Design tab in the editing pane.
  3. Click the section you want to add a background image to. Background images can be used in the Preheader, Header, Body, and Footer sections.
    Screenshot of Design sections.
  4. Under Background, click Add an image instead to open the Content Manager and upload a new image from your computer, choose an image from the Content Manager, or import an image from a web address.
    Cursor clicks Add an image instead.

After you complete these steps your image will be automatically inserted in the section you chose, and you’ll return to the Design tab. Read on to learn how to style a background image.

Style a Background Image

To ensure your campaign has the look and position you want, you can customize the design of your background image.

To style a background image, follow these steps.

  1. On the Design step of the Campaign Builder, click the section that contains your background image.
  2. Under Background, click Edit to make changes to the image in the Photo Editor.
    Cursor clicks edit.
  3. Click the Size drop-down menu and choose how large you want your image to be.
    • Choose Auto to display the image at its actual size.
    • Choose Cover to fill the width of the entire section. This works best for larger images with centered content, and may be cropped when viewed on different devices.
    • Choose Contain to scale the image to a size that fits the height inside its container, so the entire background image can be viewed on any device.
  4. Click the Position drop-down menu and choose to allign your image with the Top, Center, or Bottom of the section.
  5. Click the Repeat drop-down menu and choose the repeating pattern of your image.
    • Choose None to have your image display only once.
    • Choose Vertical to repeat the image from left to right.
    • Choose Horizontal to repeat the image from top to bottom.
    • Choose Both to tile the image in both directions.
  6. Choose a Fallback color to display in email clients that don’t support background images. If the background image doesn’t load, be sure to choose a color that will display your text properly.
    Screenshot of Fallback color option.
  7. After you set your style preferences, click Save.

After you style your background image, you can add any drag-and-drop content block on top of the background image in your campaign layout. It’s best to use clear, short, messages in sections with background images, like an image block that contains your logo, a text block that promotes your brand, or button that links to your online store or website.

About Content Blocks



Style Tips

  • When in doubt, use a simple, centered image if you plan to overlay a content block.
  • Padding can be added to the top and bottom of each campaign section. This allows you to control the position of your content block in the section.
  • By default, the Repeat drop-down menu is set to None. This setting is best for larger images. If you have a smaller image and want to create a patterned effect, choose Horizontal, Vertical, or Both.
  • For more in-depth style tips, take a look at our blog post about how to design a campaign with background images.

Test Background Images

Background images aren’t supported by all email clients, so it’s important to preview and test your campaign and send a few test emails to yourself. Or, to see how a wide variety of email clients will display your background image, use our Inbox Preview tool.

Preview and Test Your Email Campaign

Test with Inbox Preview

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