Using GIFs in emails: Yay or Nay?

I don’t know about you, but I love a good GIF – that’s pronounced Jif, for those of you that don’t know.

Like this one below. Amazing. I could watch it for hours (not literally, but I definitely watched it more than 5 times).

What is a GIF?

A GIF refers to an image file, like a .MOV or .MP3 file. It is a moving image, and has been used across social media sites for many years. The blogging site Tumblr has enabled the GIF to enter the mainstream, and they’re now used everywhere. They’re mostly used in a light hearted fashion, and add weight to what you’re saying.

A GIF is a much smaller file size than even a short video, but can still promote engagement and a bit of humour into your blog post or email.

With the growth of Vine, a short 6 second looping video (basically a fancier version of a GIF), GIFs are back in fashion, and are even entering the world of email marketing.

Historically, images are blocked in email marketing campaigns as they’re associated with spam, and the majority of email clients block videos from being used in emails. GIFs typically had a bad reputation due to their relationship with spammers, and awful MySpace banners.

GIFs have been doing the rounds on the internet since 1987, and were once seen as cutting edge technology, but their popularity has recently surged again. The popularity of viral memes is probably to blame, and as always, people want something more – they want their meme to move.

GIFs add some spice to still emails.

How can I use GIFs?

Animated GIFs are displayed in an email, in the same way as an image. This means you can use A/B testing with a still picture or a GIF, and analyse which has been more successful. According to a study by BlueFly, emails that included a GIF produced 12% more revenue than a still image.

To include a GIF in your email template, simply save it as an image, and import it into your system in the normal way. Remember: it will be blocked when the email is received, so include alt text in case the users can’t see it.

How are brands using GIFs?

GIFs are a perfect way for brands to highlight products and services. Imagine you’re a retailer. You have 9 t-shirt designs that you want to promote to your lists, but only enough room for three. A GIF solves this problem.

As GIFs infinitely loop, you could place 3 images of 3 t-shirts on top of each other, highlighting your designs, and saving space.

Take a look at this example from Even though this example only showcases three outfits, it gives you an idea of where it could potentially go.

























Another example is by retailer America Apparel. You never see an image of the full t-shirt, but you understand the message and the varieties of colours without having to read a long list.



Give GIFs a go, and let us know your results.

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