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Whether you pronounce it GIF or JIF (like the peanut butter) it’s no shock that animated GIFs have become a daily occurrence in most people’s inboxes, text chains, and Slack feeds these days.

GIF or JIF?

Despite the popularity of GIFs, there’s still plenty of opportunity for most marketers to improve how we use these simple but engaging graphic images in our email marketing. You see, GIFs shouldn’t just be a garnish on your emails, they can also be the main course. So, let’s take a look 5 real-life functional uses of GIFs in emails from some recognizable brands including Converse, Birchbox, and more.

Why use GIFs in emails?

Like the ever-popular emoji, animated GIFs can spice up your email campaigns with an element of surprise, delight, and real purpose. Whether you use them to entertain or educate, GIFs can be used in a variety of engaging ways.

Things to consider before using GIFs

The great news is that animated GIF support is pretty much universal across the major email clients… except, you guessed it, Outlook 2007, 2010 & 2013. 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.

Real-life examples of GIFs in email campaigns

Converse

Converse used an animated GIF in this colorful and engaging email to announce their new Blank Canvas Monochromatic Collection. It commands attention in the inbox and begs to be clicked on.

Animated GIF in email from Converse

Harry’s

Harry’s uses a simple animated GIF (the hand on the clock move at warp speed) to reinforce the sense of urgency in their offer and instill a sense of FOMO.

Harry's GIF example

Lyft

Does your product, app or website have a hot new feature? Animated GIFs in your announcement email can be the perfect way to showcase it. Rather than displaying a static image, an animated GIF can bring your new feature to life by showing how it works.

Lyft recently sent this engaging email about an update to their app which features a prominent app demonstration GIF. As you can imagine, this was far more engaging and interesting than a static image and had the benefit of showing me how the new feature actually works.

Nest

Eric Lepetit and the email engineering team at Nest have been creating some amazing interactive emails recently. These emails incorporate carousels and interactive buttons which allow them to showcase their products within an email like never before. However, they still use a trusty GIF now and then. This email example incorporates a simple GIF which shows the Nest thermostat temperature changing, which already looks great, but they’ve taken things a step further by allowing subscribers to click on the “At a distance” button, which transitions the thermostat smoothly onto another screen. We’ve shown this in the images below.

Pandora

Pandora used a slick animated GIF when it came to promoting their new iWatch app. The cool thing about this email is it very simply states the key benefits of using the iWatch app and clearly showcases how the app works with an animated GIF.

Wrap up

Now you’ve seen 5 examples of functional GIFs in email campaigns. You can see that adding an element of animation to a usually static email can help engage your subscribers and get them to take action. Whether you say GIF of JIF, we won’t judge, just try using animated GIFs in your emails and see how they can help increase your click-throughs and engagement.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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