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HTML vs. Plain Text Emails: What you need to know

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02 Jan 2021


A question of which is the best between HTML and Plain Text emails is something that has attracted different opinions from marketers worldwide. This debate was revisited more than two years ago when a similar question appeared on To make matters worse, only 36 percent of marketers admitted having used either HTML or plain text. This has brought another question of whether the two are the best emails that could be relied upon. Research that was published on further indicated that 20 percent of the markers prefer HTML compared to 16 percent that supported plain text emails. This leaves out more than 60 percent of marketers that are neither for HTML nor plain text.

To answer the question posed, it’s important to look at what each term stands for. Hypertext Markup Language commonly known as HTML is a coded language that’s used to dress up your emails. HTML is nicely formatted and comes with decorated images. On the other hand, plain text unlike HTML is not coded but carries words on a page. Plain text emails are simple because they support any formatting style, including visuals, italics, or even bolding. The good thing is that both plain text and HTML have the power to compel readers to read as well as click on your emails.

Which is better between HTML and plain text emails?

This is one debate that has been on the Internet for years and undoubtedly, it won’t end soon. Even though the answer may look obvious, it’s harder to provide a conclusive explanation when you take sides. Ideally, we’re going to take a different trajectory by looking at the benefits of each form of an email.

Benefits of using HTML Emails

1. Readers can Click Buttons as well as use Hyperlinks

One main challenge of having both plain text emails and hyperlinks is the fact they don’t perform well together. For example, you’ll be forced to copy-paste everything whenever you want to share a link. Besides, looking uglier and tedious especially for first-timer email users, this process will downgrade the quality of your plain text emails making it look horrible. With HTML emails, you’ll not only be in a position to apply hyperlinks but also buttons that will allow your readers to make click-through.

2. You’ll have the powers to Personalize Emails

One important feature of HTML email is its ability to support some degree of personalization. The personification of your HTML emails will work in several ways, including making offers to a certain group of a target audience, designing email color based on the customers’ preferences together with others. Segmentation is important in ensuring that your emails will reach the right target.

3. Recipients will find May the emails easy to read

We cannot deny the fact that the majority of readers would find HTML emails simpler. Even though there’s no guarantee that they’ll read every last word of your email, this aspect is vital in ensuring that you’ve many clicks-through. This is possible with HTML where you’ll be allowed to format text at the same divide your content into units that’ll suit your audience.

4. It supports click-through tracking that offers the best results

Having HTML embedded in your email body will give you the opportunity of reviewing the performance of your email. This is solely done by tracking the number of clicks- through you’re your email has attracted in a given period. With this property, you’ll have the ability to monitor the success of your email marketing campaigns. This is one feature that’s missing in plain text emails.

Benefits of Plain Text Emails

1. Plain text emails are more personal

Although plain text emails lack features that could allow marketers to customize their look, they carry the aspect of personalization. Plain text emails rely on simple email content to attract the attention of a specific audience. To achieve the aspect of personalization, you’ll be required to come up with conversational content that’ll make readers enjoy reading. It’s more difficult to get the same results if you shift to HTML emails.

2. Plain texts emails support latest technology

Plain text emails can support the latest technology that can be seen in smartwatches and fitness trackers. Today, you can access your emails when you’re using these devices only that their size could only allow you to see text. This, however, does not change the fact that plain text emails can be traced back to the 90s.

3. Your messages will have greater chances of going through

It is common knoedge that even a well-designed email is meaningless when it fails to make an entrance to the recipient’s inbox. At the end of the day an email is designed for a specific audience and its failure will destroy the general purpose of communication. The challenge of nondelivery is more common with Gmail which is projected to have1.2 billion subscribers according to the statistics that was released by TechJury last year. This attributed to the stringent guidelines that the platform has and it could make your message land in a spam filter. Gmail’s tendency to marking some emawlils as spam has affected thousands of companies that have like using images to market themselves.


The question of which is the email is not necessary since only a handful of people use these products separately. This is supported by the recent data that was published on where it was established that more than 62 percent of the marketers have switched to a hybrid system. The hybrid system has seen the incorporation of HTML and plain text emails in the marketing sector. From this, it is obvious that the two types of emails cannot offer the best results without complementing each other. While it may be true that the graphic design that comes with HTML has an outstanding appeal, you’ll need plain text to give it meaning. Similar sentiments can also be said about plain text whose lack of graphics can make your email to look boring.

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