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Email marketing

Using GIFs in email marketing

02 Oct 2017 by Sophie Lambert-Smith


Email marketers are constantly having to battle against our decreasing attention spans and saturated inboxes. To overcome this, any savvy email marketer will continually be on the quest to improve their campaigns – searching for techniques which will increase engagement with subscribers. As a result of this, over the past few years the use of GIF's in email has blown up.

Are you a GIF novice? Are you still yet to embrace adding elements of animation to your emails? Continue reading this blog post and delve into how GIFs could become your conversion rate saviour, accompanied by some best practise tips. 


What is a GIF?

Graphic Interchange Format (AKA GIF) was initially introduced as an image format in 1987. Once only used to animate still designs by developers who rendered a series of frames to create the illusion of movement, GIFs now rule the internet.

Myspace was the original go-to place for finding GIFS, however, now they can be seen on just about every social channel, with the likes of Twitter and Facebook teaming up with Giphy to provide ultimate GIF satisfaction. GIFs are on websites, in our instant messages and now in our emails.

Personally, I think this is great. I mean who doesn't love a GIF? These 6-second animations provide a whole new way of sharing our emotions. To top things off there is a GIF for every occasion… 

Feeling on top of the world, let this cheering pig express it for you..



In a mood which can only be characterised by Leonardo's epic freak out in the Wolf Of Wall Street….



But what purpose do GIFs have in emails and how can your business use them? 


Why should I use a GIF in my next campaign?

As with all digital trends; you should only jump on the band wagon if it suits your business. If plain text HTML emails work a treat for your industry – carry on with them. But GIFs can definitely provide a special something for your next email campaign.

If you scroll through your inbox, chances are a lot of your favourite brands are incorporating GIFs in a beautifully, subtle way. You see as our computers have become sleeker, so have our GIFS.

GIFS are no longer garish flashing images which have the potential to cause a seizure; some of you may remember one of the original GIFs – the pixilated dancing banana. Oh how far we have come. 




GIFs may be amazing for pinpointing our emotions or providing humour to a WhatsApp group, but GIF's are now increasingly used by brands in emails to grab and retain reader's attention. The science behind this is that when scanning an email our eyes will be directed to the movement from the GIF, sustaining us with visual interest. From this point most viewers will watch the GIF till the end – making a perfect technique for keeping subscribers engaged. 


GIF's can add an element of playfulness to your campaigns and create eye-catching backgrounds. They are also fantastic for highlighting certain features of products, acting as visual explanations and ultimately conveying a story which may not have been able to of been told with a static image.


GIFs can bring your email to life, diluting bulky pieces of text with a GIF which demonstrates what would have been said in a text format is a great way of keeping subscribers engaged. In fact Experian found that 72% of email marketers who chose to use animated GIFs received higher transaction-to-click rates compared to emails sent without. On top of that Del managed to lift revenue by 109% via a GIF email campaign – impressive right?!


Below is a GIF we were able to incorporate into a bespoke email we designed for our client Earth Island. It's a fabulous demonstration of how a mesmerising GIF can grab and retain viewers attention, whilst creating a rememberable experience. Click here to see the full GIF email for The Solutions Awards. 



The verdict

Due to the increasing popularity of GIFS and demand for accessibility, most email clients now support GIFs. With Outlook 7, 10 and 2013 being the odd ones out, but with 45% of email being opened through Apple mail and 24% through Gmail, don't let this put you off.

Small file sizes and excellent engagement rates make GIFs an exciting opportunity for email marketers. Video in email is still not supported by most email clients so GIFs are a clever way around this.

A little bit of time may be needed to get the design right, but the rewards are worth it. If you are eager to hear more about including GIFs in your campaigns contact one of the e-shot™ team today. We are here to make it simple. 



Tags: GIF Email Marketing Bespoke Designs