Animated GIFs in Email

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, animated GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) have established a strong presence in the online community.

Before you dismiss it as a social media gimmick, consider their place in your email marketing campaigns. Here are some things that you should consider when including GIFs in your emails:

Why should marketers use GIFs?
The simple answer is:

GIF courtesy of

But there’s more to it than just picking a random image. One of the biggest benefits of using GIFs is they’re easy to load, easy enough to create, and run automatically without needing a play button. Consider your average reader—they probably skim your email for a few seconds and unless the information is something they are specifically looking for, you’re going to need to work for every additional second that your readers are investing in your email. Why not make your emails that much more engaging? Even a little bit of action is enough to catch their attention.

When to use GIFs?

1. When explaining a product, service, or even a new feature.

This animated GIF, for example, shows a simplified version of how easy it is to use the Drag-and-Drop editor:  

2. When you need to draw your readers to an otherwise static image.

This email from Quirky reminds their readers of the upcoming Daylight Saving Time and lets them know of their product sales as well. It’s a simple message that can catch your attention.

What if you don’t need to animate your whole picture? In that case, I like using cinemagraphs to display simple images. Cinemagraphs are photographic stills where a small portion of the image is animated. Think of it as the best of both worlds. Maybe you don’t need your whole picture to move, but you still want to give it a little oomph.

by Vickan Flickan

Everything else you need to know:

  1. ClickDimensions image managers support GIFs. Image file sizes are limited to 200KB, so you may need to resize your GIFs. Don’t spend too much time worrying about losing quality when resizing or compressing GIFs. You will be amazed with how much information can still be processed even if there are a lot of dropped frames.

    GIFs do not animate unless all the frames are loaded, so be wary of running into this issue which you may experience with larger file sizes. In some cases, only the first frame will load or in a worst case scenario, no frames will load at all! Because GIFs don’t have loading bars, it is hard for the user to gauge how long they should wait.

  1. Animated GIFs are almost universally supported in most email clients, but not all. Some, such as certain versions of Outlook, only show the first frame, so make that first frame count!

  1. Make sure your emails still make sense without the animated GIF. Hopefully this won’t be an issue for you, but you can’t guarantee that every single reader has their email clients set to accept pictures.

  2. Link your images! Most email clients don’t support videos, but this is a great way to link your readers from your email to your webpage or YouTube channel. Consider adding an animated gif of your video player that links to your website for additional playback.

  1. Think about your content. An animated GIF might be fun to look at, but you don’t want to overdo it by making every image an animated GIF. If you’re thinking about adding an animated GIF to your email, ask yourself this question—does this explain a product, service, features, or make your email stand out in any way?

Happy Marketing!

Written by Louella Lugo, Marketing Success Manager

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