How do I include Dynamic Images in my Email?

When you insert an image in the editor, you can flag it as “dynamic”. Dynamic images are images that change depending on one or more values that are "passed" to the system that delivers them. The link to the image is no longer a static URL but rather a URL that contains some variables, such as an email, a customer ID, a date, etc.

The variables are merge tags in the URL and are replaced with actual values (e.g. the ID of a customer, the email of the recipient, the name of the person...) at the time the email is sent, or the landing page is rendered.

The main goals of this feature...

  • Make it easy to use images as dynamic content
  • Allow the designer to apply image settings as usual with any static image
  • Allow the designer to work with a sample image in the editor for design & preview purposes
  • Avoid the use of the Custom HTML block and Merge Content features when a dynamic image is needed, to keep things simple and eliminate the need to introduce external HTML code.

Some cool examples of dynamic images include:

  • personalized cards
  • countdown timers
  • dynamic ads
  • product recommendations
  • etc.

Let's take a look at a few examples.

Personalized birthday cards

How can you send a birthday card to thousands of customers, via email, each personalized with the customer's first name? With dynamic images, it's easy to do. There are services that can generate images "on the fly", personalized the customer's name, like Niftyimages.

The editor provides easy support for dynamic images, this becomes a piece of cake for users of the editor.

A hardcoded name ("Allan") is used in the URL (i.e. the "placeholder" URL), whereas a variable ("{{firstname}}") is used in the dynamic URL, to be replaced at send time (or rendering time if it's a landing page) by the name of the recipient of the image (or viewer of the page).

Dynamic countdown timers

Another great application for dynamic images is countdown timers. Here you will be passing in the Dynamic URL the date of an event, the time of a new store's grand opening, the date and time a promotion expires... you name it. The system on the other side will automatically generate a GIF animation that will look like a countdown timer, signaling the time remaining to the event.

A placeholder image can be used in the URL while you design the message (or page), so you know exactly how the end result will look like.

There are many services that you can use for this purpose. Niftyimages again, but also Fresh Relevance, CountdownMail, and many others.

Dynamic ads

You can also use dynamic images to turn your emails into a revenue producer, if you have a large audience and are open to the idea of hosting third-party ads. Companies like LiveIntent provide a quality solution for publishers that want to monetize newsletters, blog digests, etc.

Typically, you will need to pass a few variables to LiveIntent, including the recipient's email. They will help you configure the Dynamic URL, which you will then simply need to enter into the corresponding field in the editor.