Which one is the best: HTML or TEXT Emails?

Which one is the best: HTML or TEXT Emails?

Posted under Email Best Practices on September 7, 2015

What is HTML and Plain Text Email?

HTML email stands for HyperText Markup Language. It’s a markup language which is used to create web pages and email templates along with formatted text, links and images. HTML emails spruce up the email message a little bit by incorporating images, links, color texts, etc.

Plain Text Email is an all text approach – it doesn’t support any formatting, links, images, etc. Although, it has been known to get more engagement as it encourages a more personal, one-on-one, text-heavy approach.

Pros HTML Email

  • Visual Engagement – The use of color and imagery will keep the recipient interested long enough to read and indulge in the email message.
  • Better organization of information – HTML email messages helps differentiate the words and concepts with color and interesting visuals. This cuts the chunky texts out and delivers the message with bulleted lists, columns and various other options that make it easier for a reader to identify the informational parts of the message.

Pros Plain Text Email

  • Higher chance of delivery – Primary inboxes may recognize image-heavy emails as SPAM. Earlier promotional emails were full of images and colorful visuals, due to this plain text email or basic HTML may be less likely to be considered as SPAM.
  • Wearable devices – Smartwatches are increasingly popular and can only display text, hence text-only emails will be easily readable on such devices.

Which one is preferably better?

HTML is better because –

  1. Easier to scan and visually appealing
  2. Clickable links and buttons
  3. Higher conversion rate
  4. Open rates can be tracked
  5. It can also have a Plain text message incorporated

HTML emails are also better if you are going for sales directly. It needs an in-house team to design and execute the visuals of the email content.

Plain Text is better because –

  • Deliverability to the inbox is higher
  • Recipients can reply
  • personal text messages and one-one-one conversations

In this case, if you do not have a team to design the visuals, then HTML is out of the option and these emails are not trackable and can’t keep a record of the link clicks and open rates. There is a lack of customization in Plain text based emails.

Majority of people prefer HTML emails over plain text. But their level of activity shows otherwise! Generally, email experts suggest designing an HTML email. Same goes for many recipients as they are visually appealing and easier to scan through.

Email is still a largely one-to-one communication tool, and ones that look more personal will outperform and connect with the recipient better. And Plain text emails achieve exactly that.

What we would like to suggest –

  1. Get to know your recipients, get their input on what kind of emails they would like to see in their inbox.
  2. Test your emails, do a split AB test. Testing never hurts, keep trying to see what gets more engagement.
  3. Include ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ buttons to get a quick feedback from your recipients.

I would still encourage you to do split AB test before concluding on anything.

Please do share your findings and learnings.

Also, for more information on our cloud based e-mail delivery platform, shoot us at support@pepipost.com


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Dibya Prakash Sahoo|The Business Guy

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