To GIF or not to GIF

Let’s be honest, marketing emails can get bland really fast! Full width image, full width text, 2 columns of text, 3 columns of images…rinse and repeat. A simple way to add some flair to your campaigns is to incorporate animated GIF images, but like all other things email related, there are some limitations and guidelines to keep in mind. Before we dive into the do’s and don’ts…

What is a GIF?

Yes, it’s that file type that actually made the news a while back when the great debate arose about how it’s even pronounced. But more importantly it is an animated image file. It contains a number of image frames that produces the illusion of motion when strung together.

Why  use a GIF?

Other than the element of pizzazz it adds to your campaigns, the fact that it is animated makes it a great alternative for video in email, which is still not supported in many email clients (GIF files can not include sound though).

So what are these limitations I spoke of?

  • Not every email client supports animated GIFs (specifically Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013) and will only show the first frame, so the design team will have to get creative to make sure vital information, like a call-to-action or a special offer, is displayed on the first frame so that the email content will still make sense without the animation.
  • File size can quickly get out of control. You might run into some file size limitations when you try to upload it to your email marketing platform. You should also be conscious about your subscriber’s data plans, eating up their data to download your massive (but perfectly crafted) GIF file might leave you with more unsubscribes than conversions.

A great example of when a company used a GIF well, is the email from Starbucks announcing the 2017 Holiday Cup design and their “Give Good” campaign. The cup was designed this year to give the consumer the option to customize it themselves. The GIF starts with the actual cup design on the first frame, so users that aren’t able to see the animated GIF can at least see what the cups look like. It then cycles through some design inspiration. The downside is that the file size was fairly large (2.2MB) and it took a noticeably long time to load on my phone, but overall the email was pretty memorable.

starbucks_gif

When used sparingly, animated GIFS can be a great way to help your emails stand out. Just keep it simple and make sure it’s adding value to your campaign.


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HEADQUARTERS

6 East Washington St. #200
Indianapolis, IN 46204


info@nimblejack.com