Animated GIFs are going through a renaissance. In the last few months, we've seen them resurrected from the cringe-worthy virtual graveyard of 'Under Construction' banners and funny profile pics, to be redefined as fine art. This trend is particularly relevant to email design, where GIFs and CSS animations are the only way to add moving images, given the poor video support across the most popular email clients.
But why use them? As Paul Boag quotes in 'It’s time to look at animated gifs again’:
"Animated gifs can breathe some much needed life into the imagery on your website. They grab the users attention and act as design delighters, making your site stand out from that of the competition."
The same can be said for email, in which the 'stand out' -ness of a button or call to action can make a considerable difference to campaign results. Anna Yeaman at Style Campaign demonstrated how an animated video preview lifted her campaign's click-rate by 26%... And there's no reason why you can't achieve the same.
The great news is that animated GIF support is pretty much universal across the major email clients... Except Outlook 2007 & 2010 (you guessed it). In Outlook, only the first frame displays - which means that if your animation contains any important information, it has to feature on the first frame or risk being lost. Here are the full results:
|Desktop email clients||Result|
|Lotus Notes 6, 7 and 8.5||Yes|
|Outlook 2003, Express||Yes|
|Outlook for Mac 2011||Yes|
|Windows Live Mail 2011||Yes|
|Web-based email clients||Result|
|Mobile email clients||Result|
|Windows Mobile 7||Info|
We couldn't wrap up this post without a couple of great animated emails from folks like you. Click through on the images to see them animate:
We're really looking forward to seeing animated GIFs take off, both on the web and in email. So now, we'd like to hear from you - do you feature animated GIFs in your campaigns? Have any favorite examples? Share them with us in the comments below.
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