Troubleshooting Images in Campaigns

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There are a few things that can cause issues when you work with images in campaigns. If your images look broken or are slow to load in subscribers’ inboxes, there are some troubleshooting steps you can do to prevent image errors.

In this article, you'll learn about some common image upload and display issues, and some tips to help you troubleshoot.

Upload Issues

If you’re having trouble uploading an image to MailChimp’s File Manager, review these common issues.

  • The image is too large.
    If your image takes a long time to upload or won’t upload, the file size could be too large. We recommend you use a photo-editing program to resize your image to 1MB or smaller.
  • A valid image won’t upload, or causes an error message.
    If image file won’t upload at all, or generates an error about file type, double-check that your web browser meets our minimum system requirements. To see if your browser may be the issue, try the upload in another browser like Firefox or Chrome. If the upload works in the alternate browser, disable add-ons, extensions, and plugins in the original browser, and clear cache and cookies to resolve the issue.
  • The image file name has spaces or special characters.
    If you use a URL to upload an image from your own server, make sure the file name has no spaces or special characters.  Some email clients won't display images that contain spaces or special characters in the file name. Remove the space or replace them with dashes (-) or underscores (_).
  • The file type is missing.
    If you use a URL to upload an image from your own server, make sure to include the image's file extension (.jpg, .gif, .png).
  • Images are blocked.
    Security programs will sometimes block the image upload pop-up modal. If you can’t see the File Manager, can't get an upload to work, and the items listed above aren't an issue, this is likely the problem. To fix this, contact a system admin and set mailchimp.com as a trusted domain with your internet security program or firewall.

Display Issues

If your image will upload but won't display correctly in inboxes, there are a few things you can do to make sure your subscribers see images correctly.

  • The email client is blocking images.
    Some email clients block images by default and require your subscriber to choose to display images. Email service providers like MailChimp are not able to bypass or influence this security feature. Ask your subscribers to add your email address to their address book or safe sender list to increase the chances that their email client will display your images.
  • A resized image looks too blurry.
    When you resize a large image in MailChimp’s Photo Editor, it compresses a big chunk of data, which blurs the image as it gets smaller. To help the image display as clearly as possible, resize your image in your preferred photo-editing program before you upload it to the File Manager.
  • Images look blurry or fuzzy on a retina display.
    Retina displays use a higher ratio of pixels per inch, which can cause smaller images to appear fuzzy. To make sure your images appear clearly on all screens, use MailChimp’s recommended image sizes.
  • Image colors don’t look right.
    Images need to be formatted as RGB, a color scheme optimized for web display. Images formatted in CMYK, a color scheme optimized for print, won't always display well on screens. To fix this, save your image in RGB format.
  • Images in text blocks appear stretched on mobile devices.
    Large images that are copied into a text content block may stretch your layout when viewed on mobile devices. Instead, resize your image, or use one of our mobile-responsive Image, Image Group, Image Card, or Image + Caption content blocks.
  • Images are sideways, or in the wrong orientation.
    Images taken with smartphones sometimes contain exif data. Exif data specifies the position of the camera when the photo was taken and causes the image to display in its original orientation. Images with exif data display properly in the Campaign Builder but may display incorrectly when campaigns are sent, depending on the browser or email client. Learn how to remove exif data to fix image orientation issues.
  • Images won’t show up correctly in Outlook.
    Outlook sometimes experiences cache issues. If Outlook won’t download your image, or if it looks broken, ask your subscriber to reboot their computer to clear Outlook's cache.

Broken Images

If images in your campaign don’t display at all, here are a few possible causes.

  • The email client is blocking images.
    Some email clients block images by default and require your subscriber to choose to display images. Email service providers like MailChimp are not able to bypass or influence this security feature. Ask your subscribers to add your email address to their address book or safe sender list to increase the chances that their email client will display your images.
  • Image file names don't use absolute paths.
    Any image you use in a campaign is hosted on a server and then displayed on the subscriber’s computer when they open the email. If you code your own templates, always use absolute paths for images in your HTML so the email client can find and display your images.
  • Images are hosted on a hosting or file sharing site.
    Don't host images used in email campaigns on a free file hosting site or free website account like Dropbox or Tumblr. These systems often block outside links to images they host to keep their bandwidth costs down. Instead, host the images on your own server when providing your own HTML for campaigns, or use our File Manager.
  • Images are hosted on a private, secure server.
    Make sure the images in your campaign are not being hosted on a secure server that requires a login and password.

Images Load Too Slowly in Inboxes

If your campaign images take a long time to load in your subscribers’ inboxes or in test emails, there are a couple of things that could be going on.

  • The image is too large, or resolution is too high.
    To reduce the file size and improve display, use an image optimizer tool.
  • There are too many large images.
    If you can, use fewer large images in your campaign.
  • Your campaign includes an extra large image or image map.
    It may sound counterintuitive, but if you’re using a very large image or image map, break it into smaller images. This can help your campaign load faster.

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