Surveys say respondents prefer to receive an HTML email instead of a plain text email but plain text emails perform better than their HTML based brethren. Outside of list segmentation, it’s one of the best ways to boost your open and clickthrough rates.
Despite deliverability rates being similar between the two, email filters, such as Gmail’s social and promotions tabs, are removing them from a user’s inbox due to the image tags and HTML-rich templates, per Hubspot. Besides, given the personalized nature of the plain text email, the clickthrough rates were higher too.
In an A/B test, per Hubspot, the HTML version had a 21% lower clickthrough rate. This coupled with a greater open rate of the plain text email, we end up with the HTML version having 51% fewer clicks! Put another way, the plain text email doubled the amount of activity generated.
Conclusion – take the time to create an A/B test to verify how your specific audience responds to a plain text email versus a HTML email.