Are Animated GIFs In Emails Effective?

Animated GIF

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on the internet over the past few years, chances are you’ve come across a few animated graphics, or GIFs for short. These are really just short video clips containing a series of images that are looped together to create the appearance of animation.

GIFs are nothing new, but they’re becoming increasingly popular, particularly in terms of email marketing. You've seen them most recently in Trek's email marketing around the new Flare R tail light designed for daytime visibility.

Should you incorporate animated graphics into your marketing emails? Let’s take a look.

What Is a GIF?

You may recall the antiquated GIFs that originated right around the time the internet became popular. Back then, the images used were usually nothing more than gaudy pieces of clip art that moved awkwardly. Hardly something that could be used to wow a prospective client. Nowadays, GIFs are much more sophisticated, containing high quality images. They’re also really easy to make and user-friendly, since there’s no need to press play. For this reason, animated graphics are making their way into email marketing at a pretty fast pace.

Do GIFs Improve Results?

The real question to ask, of course, as with any marketing strategy, is whether using GIFs in your emails will actually get results. Well, consider first that 1 in 2 marketers use these animated graphics in their email marketing campaigns. That must mean its working, right? Well it certainly is for some companies. E-retailer BlueFly credits emails with GIFs for bringing in 12% more revenue than non-animated messages. Another brand, Dressed UP, ran a similar test and found that an animated GIF resulted in 26% more conversions than a static screenshot.

For some real eye-popping stats, Dell started using GIFs in one of its email campaigns and saw a 42% increase in click rate and an incredible 103% increase in conversions. Of course, there’s no guarantee everyone will achieve these results, but they’re pretty impressive nonetheless. More importantly, these results show that in many cases, using GIFs really does work.

Tips for Using GIFs in Email Marketing

If you’re considering incorporating graphics into your next email launch, there are a few things to consider to help improve your success rate.

1. Keep it small.

The recommended file size for an email GIF is 125k. Anything bigger and it may not load properly, defeating the purpose. The overall size of your email should not exceed 40KB.

2. Keep it short.

People are busy. If you’re lucky enough to get someone to open your email, don’t drive them away with a long, drawn out video clip. The beauty of GIFs is their bite-size appeal.

3. Keep it simple.

Because GIFs are short, if you try to cram too much into them, you’ll miss the point. Try not to use more than 4 different frames for best results.

4. Test before sending.

This really goes without saying, but you should always test the final product before sending it out to make sure everything works properly.

5. Use them sparingly.

Don’t overdo it. Otherwise you risk annoying your prospects and losing their attention altogether.

Bottom line, GIFs are a powerful tool for getting a message across in a fun, engaging way and creating a call to action that may otherwise be overlooked in a traditional email. If you apply the tips above, you will have a good chance at realizing success with your animated email campaigns.

About The Author

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan Atkinson

Ryan is a proven marketing professional who entered the cycling industry in 1994.