Blog summary

Emails with excessive HTML can trigger spam filters in email clients because dastardly ne’er-do-wells sometimes use HTML to hide malicious code. This is bad for your email marketing. To combat this, scale down on fancy email graphics and templates, and optimize all photos.

Why We’ve Gone Simpler With Email

If you receive our most recent email, you may have noticed it was a lot less fancy.

This is, in part, a personal decision. Storytelling is a buzzword in marketing these days, but, I mean, stories are fun to read. Personal emails–like the ones you’d write to your BFF–are more interesting.

I don’t know about you–but I don’t have tons of time to read things that are boring.

But there’s also a functional reason. Too much HTML in your emails can send them to spam.

What is HTML?

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is a markup language used to create web pages and other online content. HTML provides a way to structure content on the web, allowing developers to do groovy things like define headings, paragraphs, links, images, and other elements that make up a web page.

Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

The first thing you need to understand is that HTML is not bad. It’s just a tool. Like with most tools–it is the user that is the issue. In the early days of email, some clever (evil?) ne’er-do-wells discovered that by putting a bunch of HTML in an email, they could hide malicious code that would direct recipients to unsecure websites, or encourage them to download viruses.


While The Great and Powerful Google and the like are working hard to determine good HTML from bad–they want to err on the side of security to maintain our trust. That means, they err on the side of sidelining emails they view as having “too much” HTML.

2 Reasons Why YOU Should Go Simpler With Email

We’ve described why we are going simpler, but it’s in your best interest to do so as well.

  1. Too much HTML Triggers Spam. As we’ve already mentioned, too much HTML in an email can send you straight to a person’s SPAM folder. Since email continues to be one of the best forms of organic marketing–that’s not where you want to be.
  2. Even if you don’t get sent to SPAM, you could still have issues. Say you do get to someone’s inbox. The other thing that Google-and-Co sometimes do with emails that are too big for their liking is only show the recipient the “above the fold” content. After that, a person needs to click a link to “read more.”

Spoiler alert: Unless the recipient considers your emails “must read content” they aren’t going to click to read more. I mean…would you?

How to Go Simple

To avoid having your emails blocked by spam filters, follow best practices for email design and coding. Scale down on fancy email graphics and templates, and optimize all photos for email.

Testing your emails thoroughly before sending them out is a good idea as well.

In Short

If you want your message to reach the most number of people (and let’s face it, you do), consider going simpler with your email. If you need any email-copy guidance–feel free to reach out!