How to Use UGC Images in Emails to Increase Your CTR

Good Images are key to email open rates, learn how to find and use UGC images in emails to boost your CTR and customer engagement.

How to Use UGC Images

Photo by R+R Medicinals on Unsplash


Email marketing is the art and science of sending email communications to your customers in order to build trust and motivate a response.

Every online business should be using email marketing to drive revenue. However, with billions of marketing emails being sent every day, many of these are left unread or, worse, marked as spam. 

Images are crucial to the success of your email marketing campaigns and UGC images are hands down the best to gain trust with your customers.

If you’re not familiar with the term UGC – it stands for user generated content.

User generated content is typically unbiased and created by customers that are VERY happy with your product experience. You can begin to see how important this would be in influencing others to try your product.

It is crucial for your email marketing content to be informative and captivating. This guide will walk you through how to incorporate User Generated Content images into your email to improve your Click Through Rate. It’s an important technique to master.

Here are 7 tips you can follow if you want to use UGC images to increase your CTR.

1. Identify the image style.

Before you begin building your email template, you first have to identify the goal of your campaign. Some marketers use emails to send newsletters or update customers about an upcoming sale. The type of UGC image you use will depend heavily on your goal. 

If it’s an informational campaign, infographics are a great option. They have proven to be one of the most effective ways to communicate a message to customers. Infographics are more likely to be read in their entirety. 

When selecting images, specify how the images in the email should look, too. For instance, would you prefer the images to be of just your product? Or maybe you want pictures of your customers and the product as well?

Black Milk Clothing, for instance, asked its customers to submit pictures of themselves wearing one of their products for the chance to be featured in their newsletter. 

How to Use UGC Images

Source: Photoslurp


The result? The images logically fit together. It makes for a visually appealing result.

2. Use high-quality images

Using high-quality images is a must in any marketing campaign. Aside from bringing a better overall appeal, high-quality images establish credibility and generate a sense of professionalism. Poor image quality cheapens a brand that can reflect poorly on sales. 

The typical image for an email marketing campaign has a resolution of 600 px to 650 px. Make it a point to keep their file sizes below 1MB. If the file size is too large, it will take a long time to download. It is likely that people will stop engaging with a website if images take too long to load. The same rule applies to email marketing campaigns. 

You can compress your images to optimize the size without sacrificing their resolution. The process can vary depending on the image format and the tools you use. 

JPEG is the most common image format and typically has a faster loading time compared to PNG. Be careful when compressing JPEGs, though, as they are prone to quality loss. GIFs or animated images are a great way to showcase a series of products in your email content, but file sizes can be pretty large. 

Ensuring the UGC images in your emails are of good quality requires a lot of work. Make sure that they fit your brand voice and overall content marketing campaigns. 

3. Images should complement the text.

Some marketing emails fail to land in a subscriber’s inbox and get marked as spam. There are a couple of reasons this happens.

One of those reasons?

Using too many images.

One way to avoid triggering spam filters is to ensure your email has the right image-to-text ratio. Although there is no perfect way to do this, many recommend a ratio for email campaigns of 60% text to 40% images. 

Your images should not distract recipients from the main message of the campaign either. Remember that your email campaign’s purpose is to inform and convert customers. Think of the message as the hero and the images as the supportive sidekick.

Your UGC images should lift the hero to greater heights and that applies to all the types of content you create across the different stages of the sales funnel.

Check out this humorous marketing email from MeUndies as an example of how to use images to complement text. 

text in images

Source: Top Dog Media

The UGC images in an email help support the main message, namely to engage with the company using the hashtag on Instagram. It was a fun campaign that gave the brand a viral moment.

You should first establish a focal point for your design to help users navigate your content. You can achieve this by playing with colors, font sizes, and image positions. Crop images if you have to. If you’re going to use an image as a background for the email campaign, make sure that there is a clear space to add your text or use a transparent color overlay. 

4. Personalize 

Aside from authenticity, giving your email campaigns a more personal touch can also help you generate leads. That also applies to email campaigns, as consumers believe personalized experiences would influence their decision to interact with emails. 

Source: Klaviyo


Segmenting your email list into distinct groups can help you personalize. You can categorize subscribers based on common characteristics like age, gender, or location to pinpoint what images are relevant to them. If, for example, your subscriber is female, then you may opt to use photos of female customers flaunting your products online. 


You may also segment them based on their preferences and website activity. E-commerce store customers, for example, who regularly browse through gadgets and mobile devices from your site, can be sent tech-related content. 

5. Align the images with your brand voice

Every business has a personality they use to engage with existing and potential customers. That personality is called a brand voice. It should be used in all of a brand’s communications, including its emails. More than the email’s copy, the images used in all of your campaigns should evoke your distinct brand voice. 


According to the Sprout Social Index, brands that stand out create memorable content, have a distinct personality and use compelling storytelling. All three factors have something to do with brand voice. 

Here’s a great example:

image voice

Source: Smartrmail


The images in the email used by Fabletics reflect the brand’s personality that leans towards the active and dynamic. 


Identifying your brand’s voice begins with analyzing your audience persona. Who exactly are you talking to in your email campaign? Choose UGC images that resonate with them and incorporate the kind of aesthetic they’re most attracted to. 

6. Identify the main goal and CTA for the email.

What do you want out of your email campaign? Do you want to increase sales? Promote your ebook? Get people to join your webinar? Get more subscribers? Once you have captivated consumers through your email content, it’s time to convince them to take action through your call-to-action (CTA).


If your email’s message is the hero and images are the sidekicks, then a CTA is your strongest weapon that helps you accomplish your mission. All other links included in the email should not distract users from your main CTA. Of all the visual elements of your email content, your main CTA should be the biggest and brightest. 

cta goal

Source: Campaign Monitor


Where you position, your CTA plays a big part in convincing customers. In creating your CTA, always use action-oriented words that give readers a sense of urgency. Words like “try for free”,  “read the blog”, and “shop now” are some excellent examples. Jetstar uses “book now” in the example above.


Most brands place their CTA at the beginning of the email, while some take time to feature content first before hitting readers with a strong CTA in the end during a campaign. Wherever you place your CTA, make sure that the flow of content has a natural progression and can tell your story. 

7. Measure the result

Promoting your business is an ongoing process, and it shouldn’t stop after one email campaign. Measuring the results of your campaign can help you distinguish which strategies work and which don’t. It helps you identify the areas to improve on and justify the cost of your campaign. 

So, the next time you launch another one, it will be better and yield better results. 


As part of evaluating your campaign, you can measure your CTR by dividing the number of clicks by the number of emails delivered. Say, for example, you sent 500 emails, and 150 subscribers clicked a link. Your CTR would then be 30%. 


There is no absolute number as to what a good CTR is. It can vary from campaign to campaign depending on your industry, among other factors. Any campaign is a trial and error, so be sure to track any data you can and improve from there. 

Bottom Line

A plain and boring email campaign will get you nowhere. With billions of emails being sent out, it’s easy for your content to get buried or forgotten if not presented properly. Email marketing is a powerful tool to distribute content, so you should optimize it as much as you can. 


Using images in your email, in particular, user-generated images can make it more scannable and attractive to recipients. Make sure that you utilize the best high-quality image style and strategies like personalization in your campaign. More importantly, stay true to the message of your campaign by aligning these UGC images with your text. Highlight a strong CTA.


Finally, always track your CTR after every campaign. Click-through rate lets you evaluate the success of your email marketing campaign. It allows you to test out whether your copy, design, and subject line effectively captures customers. That kind of information can help you be a cut above the rest.