Animated GIFs in emails have historically had a bad reputation, synonymous with spammy banner ads and hideous myspace pages. However the animated GIF is starting to make a comeback, thanks largely to the efforts of passionate email marketers. These creative email marketers are pushing the boundaries of email design, by using animated GIFs to display their products and services in action.
Here is a collection of the best examples of animated GIFs in emails. You will notice that the retail sector in-particular have really fallen back in love with this once shunned image format. Only the GIFs themselves are displayed below, for the whole email design just click on the image.
1) Animated GIF shows two views
The above animated GIF produced by litmus inspired this blog post. It displays the two different views of their new product. Using a GIF in this instance is far more effective than simply linking to a video of the new product, as it will automatically animate once images are displayed in the email. I particularly like the easing of the slider as it approaches the edges – nice touch. View full email >
2) Animated GIF shows different options
In this email, Banana Republic are offering a mystery gift of between $15 and $500 saving at the checkout. To illustrate various different size of gift they have produced this eye-catching animated GIF. View full email >
3) Animated GIF brings model to life
Fashion retailers love to use animated GIFs in their emails, as it allows them to quickly show subscribers how their clothes will look from different angles. View full email >
4) Animated GIF Bunny gets his ears bitten off!
This has to be the most eye-catching animated GIF on the list. I like how the Bunny ears overlap the fake menu bar at the top of the email. It makes you look twice and I think that is what makes animated GIFs so effective when used in marketing emails. View full email >
5) Animated GIFs let you see all angles
Another good example of a fashion retailer using an animated GIF in their email is FOOTASYLUM. The email recipient is able to view the trainer from the top, bottom, left and right. Without using a GIF to animate this, it would be difficult to display that much information about the trainer, whilst still making the email look good. View full email >
6) Animated GIFs make decorating simple
You might think to yourself “I like that duvet set, but what would it look like if the walls were a different colour”. Well think no more and just let this animated GIF answer your question! View full email >
7) American Apparel give animated GIFs a spin
American Apparel sell T-shirts that have been “power washed” to make them “super soft”. This key benefit would not attract much attention if it wasn’t for the animated GIF simulating the T-shirts being washed in an imaginary washing machine. View full email >
8) Tiffany & Co. use subtle animated GIF
Tiffany & Co. have used a GIF to animate pictures of text rather than pictures of their products. It is everything you would expect from this high end retailer; sophisticated, chic and elegant. A word of warning though: animated GIFs do not animate in all email clients, so make sure the first frame of the GIF contains enough information to stand alone. This GIF starts with a blank green frame, so would display no useful information if viewed in certain email clients. View full email >
9) Animated GIFs focus the eye
ShoeMint didn’t need to make this image a GIF. The email would have looked great even if it didn’t animate, but I am glad the marketing team put that extra bit of effort into this email. View full email >
10) Animated GIFs show how things work
How better to demonstrate how to remove your trousers, than with an animated GIF. Seeing this email in your inbox would certainly catch your eye. View full email >
Animated GIF support in Email
Most email clients will play your animated GIF, with the exceptions of Outlook 2007 and Apple Mail 3.0. In Outlook 2007, only the first frame of the animated GIF will be displayed. So make sure this frame can stand on its own two feet.
A brief history of the animated GIF
An animated GIF is an image that has been encoded using the Graphics Interchange Format, where it has multiple frames encoded into a single file. A web browser or email client in this case will then play those images back in animated sequence automatically.
GIFs were first used in 1987 and became a popular format for sharing ‘rich’ media in the early days of the web. When web 2.0 arrived, animated GIFs became very unpopular and were only really seen on teenager’s myspace pages. The GIF was almost never seen on any self respecting website, but then in 2008 people started to produce far more creative and polished GIFs. In the last few years, email marketers and especially those in the retail sector have started to realise the potential for displaying there products in this format.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you fully utilise animated GIFs in your emails, please get in touch.