More and more emails now include an animated GIF. In fact, the use of animated GIFs has increased threefold in recent years. This is happening for two reasons:

  1. Video support remains limited across email clients
  2. GIFs allow marketers to add an interactive touch which makes their email stand out

Let’s explore popular GIF use cases and share some best practices and examples.

 

Easily Create a Product Carousel

Image carousels are a great way to showcase different products. The problem is that these are difficult to build with HTML. Instead, Best Made Co used an animated GIF to feature their toolbox line:

GIF_BestMadeCo

The solution is simple and works extremely well.

Takeaway: Use animated GIFs to showcase different products.

 

Keep Your GIFs Simple

Use short GIFs to limit email file size and keep your message focused.

Kate Spade managed to design a cute story in just 2 frames. It doesn’t take much to add a personal touch to your emails.

 

GIF_KateSpade

Takeaway: Don’t limit yourself to just two frames, but don’t go overboard either. Before pressing “send” check the file size of your animated GIFs—heavy emails provide a bad experience since they’re slow to open on mobile (and use all your data!).

 

Include Key Content in the First Frame

Outlook—which accounts for 6% of all emails opened— does not support animated GIFs. When an animated GIF is included in an email they simply show the first frame of the animation.

To make sure your message isn’t lost, include the most important content (offer, CTA, and so on) in the first frame of the GIF. Here’s an example from PetSmart:

GIF_PetSmart

Here’s the first frame:
Screen_PetSmart

Takeaway: Double check with your designer and make sure the most important information is included in the first frame of the animated GIF.

 

Embrace Your Brand’s Personality

Your brand’s personality is what sets you apart from competitors. Notice how Julep uses a playful GIF to promote their free makeup bag.

GIF_Julep

Isn’t this miles better than a static image with some products around it?

Takeaway: Have fun with your animations—and let your brand’s personality shine!

 

Subtle Animations Can Go a Long Way

This email from Teavana shows how pleasant a subtle animation can be.

GIF_Teavana

Takeaway: Animated GIfs, even subtle ones, are a great way to delight subscribers. (On that note… going to make myself some tea, be right back.)

 

Focus on the Narrative

Modcloth used an animated GIF to share a large variety of products in a fun and engaging way.

GIF_Modcloth

This is so much better than scrolling through a 5,000 pixel long email (with endless product images).

If you’re interested in seeing animated GIFs from your competitors—and other companies in your industry—you should join MailCharts. We allow you to search for animated emails by industry, company, and even keyword (think Mother’s Day, Easter, etc).

Not interested in joining MailCharts? That’s ok, we still love you. Here are more emails with animated GIFs 🙂

Oh, and before you go, you can find more posts about email marketing strategy here. Enjoy!