How to Use GIFs in Emails?

Want to boost the click rate and overall engagement of your marketing emails? Or, looking for ways of highlighting your CTA or drawing more attention to any other part of your newsletter? Animated GIF images may help you with all that. Read on to learn some tips!

Why GIFs in Emails Are So Effective?  

Our brain needs stimuli and the best ones are the… moving ones! Email is the most popular message type, so given the number of marketing communication you receive every day, it’s understandable that you will be looking only at the most engaging ones. When you start scrolling and see a GIF (wow, it moves!), like it or not, you’ll pay some attention to that bit!  

How to Create a GIF Image for Emails

There are many online services that do this, for example Ezgif or Giphy. They also allow you to optimize your GIF file: crop it, reduce the resolution or the number of frames per second. If you’re not sure how to do it, just run an auto-optimizer which may slightly degrade the quality of your GIF image but will greatly reduce the original size. The optimal size for a GIF is under 5MB, however try to make it as small as possible. The smaller the size, the quicker it will load.  

Another way of converting videos to a GIF is using Adobe Premiere or Adobe Photoshop - but you need to pay for this software to be able to use it. 

You can also create GIFs from several photos using services such as Gifius or Toolson. 

You can of course download ready-made GIFs from the Internet, but make sure that they can be used for commercial purposes.  

Things to Remember 

Most MS Outlook versions don’t support animated GIFs, except for the 2019 edition. So, if your recipient uses an older version, he or she will only see the first frame – a static image.  

To make sure that all recipients will see the key information no matter which email app version they use, spell out all the necessary details – such as CTA, discount code – in the first frame of your animated GIF file.  

Remember that an animation should have a clear purpose – it can illustrate a part of text or provide a comic relief. However, if it doesn’t serve any purpose or is used too often, don’t use it or you will risk it having an opposite effect on the reader than intended.  

Some Examples of GIFs in Emails 

Let’s take a look at some good animated GIF in emails examples.  

Netflix often includes GIFs in their newsletters to promote premiers and reviews of series and movies. Each time you open a message from them, you simply can’t wait to see what they prepared this time.  

To stand out from the crowd during Black Friday, ecommerce stores use animation in their communication sent to subscribers to catch their attention about a discount: 

Trying to boost customer retention by sending birthday wishes? Here’s a catchy example from Pizza Hut:  

And how about celebrating your company’s birthday? See how Nike approached it: 

In short, many companies representing various sectors use animated GIFs in emails for one good reason: to catch your attention.  


Written by
Jarek Wasielewski
Digital Content Specialist at ExpertSender
After work: local historian. Double bass enthusiast.
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