Adding Animated GIFs to Your Email Campaigns

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Adding Animated GIFs to Email Campaigns

Marketing professionals are constantly seeking advice on how to improve their email campaigns through design, copy, images, call to actions and more. The use of animation within emails is increasing and the process of adding GIFs to your emails isn’t as complicated as you may think. In fact, once you’ve created your GIF it takes seconds to import the file into Maxemail‘s email builder to simply drag and drop it into the content of your email.

What is a GIF?

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. They create an illusion of motion by playing a series of still frame images in sequence, a bit like stop frame animation.

GIFs are widely supported by browsers and email clients, so they are perfectly safe to use within your email campaigns. However, some email clients won’t play GIFs until the email is opened. Some newer versions of Outlook (2007, 2010 and 2013) will only show the first frame of your GIF, so make sure that frame is a good one!

How do I create a GIF?

There are many graphic software programs available that allows you to create GIFs, such as Adobe Photoshop. There are also numerous online tools and apps available too with tutorials on how to make an animated GIF.

What’s the ideal GIF file size?

You should always keep an eye on the size of your email with regards to deliverability and rendering. Extremely large GIFs can cut into your recipients download data, which I’m sure they won’t be very pleased with.

Oversized files will also take a while to load and play, so keep the GIF within your email to a nice length and try not to overcomplicate it to keep the file size down.

The file size of a GIF should be as small as possible without losing too much quality. You can cut down the size of the GIF by bringing down its overall dimensions, removing frames and only animating a small part of the image.

Maxemail Email Builder Animated Gif


Why should I include animation in my email?

A little bit of movement grabs the readers attention. It grabs their curiosity and makes your email stand out in the inbox. Animated GIFs are easy to digest and they’re a great way to quickly illustrate your point too, such as showcasing a new feature of your app or a snippet of a tutorial.

Explaining something visually can make your email less wordy and more fun for the reader. A picture can speak a thousand words. It can entice the reader and this works exceptionally well for food and drink related businesses. Pouring a drink or drizzling chocolate over a yummy dessert can really help engage the customer.

When shouldn’t I put an animation into my email?

Think about the message to your subscribers, does it need really to be animated? A GIF should be relatively short, pause-able and able to loop. Trying to show off all angles of your product in one animated GIF just isn’t going to work either, it’ll just be mind boggling and distracting. Keep it subtle, think cinemagraphs.

You shouldn’t overdo animation within your email campaigns. I’ve seen a few bad emails with every part of the content moving. Needless to say I didn’t know where to look and gave up reading the email entirely, or worse, unsubscribed. As a reader I want my information to be clear. An animated GIF should add value to your email, not be a distraction from the overall message.

You shouldn’t add animation to your email just because everyone else is doing it, and it can turn readers off if it’s a huge jump from the norm. Make sure it actually adds something to your email and it’s useful to your customers.

Also, don’t let your animated GIF detract from your emails call to action, it needs either needs to be clickable or less prominent than other components that influence your customer’s behaviour.

About Nicola Lush

UX/ UI and Graphic Designer at Emailcenter.