How to Use GIFs in Emails?

Want to boost the click rate and overall engagement of your 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 the above.  

Why GIFs 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 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 

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 editing software. 

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 really serve any purpose or is used to often, don’t use it or you will risk it having an opposite effect on the reader than intended.  

Some Examples 

Let’s take a look at some good animated GIF examples to learn how to make the most of an animated email.  

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 to catch customers’ 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 for one good reason: to catch your attention.  

Because can they not? 😊   

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