Using animated GIFs in email have come across as a great way for marketers to tell their story in a more visually engaging way.

source: GIF-finderYou immediately connect with the content, that every email is properly personalized with your name, and is totally related to the event and your previous purchase patterns.

gif email eg1

source: GIF-finder

GIFs in emails have opened a new road for email marketers to establish a relationship via storytelling in a short, crisp and visually enriched way of a great marketing campaign idea. After all, marketing is now customer-centric and emails are behavior-based.

GIF: The Etymology

GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format. It is a bitmap image format. It is an image file like the PNG and JPG files. These animations vary from scene cuts to slideshow style animation which features multiple still frames from different images with the first frame as a thumbnail.

GIFs work rapidly to display a series of images that produce an illusion of motion. Usually, these images are compressed with the Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW) data compression technique which is used to reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality.

Animated GIF Emails in Marketing Campaigns-NASA-GIF, marketing campaigns and email

GIF Emails – Does that Work?

The reason why animated GIF emails have become popular is not that they are fun to look at, nope! It is popular because brands now have a better way to showcase the functionalities of their products or explain their services to their email clients. For instance, this GIF email from on Father’s Day had hit the bull’s eye.

Animated GIF Emails-gif, marketing campaigns b2b

Pros and Cons of Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs marketing campaigns have many advantages and a few disadvantages.

·   Loads faster: GIF animations load much more rapidly than other forms of animations. However, adding too many gif animations can make your email load slowly, and your subscribers may lose their interest.

·   Better customer engagement: Customers engagement levels are more with adding gif animations. For example, the email design template of LOFT which shows watermelon seeds that come down as rain and reveal the keyword “Sale” had been efficient in being more visible to the subscribers and had generated large scale interest.

·   Amuses the audience: GIF animations entertain the audiences and keep the customers engaged.

·   Animated GIFs are one of the best email marketing campaigns which make up to a point in explaining the concept or point.

·   Using GIF can increase click-through rates.

·   GIF animations support greater transparency when employed in emails.Email campaigns with GIF animations give better results as they are more attractive and engaging.

Creating an Animated GIF

One of the easiest ways is to use the GIF maker inside Aritic PinPoint email design builder.

Aritic PinPoint lets you create GIFs for your email campaigns right within the email campaign studio. The new GIF builder is an easy drag and drop GIF block that you can just drop into the template.

GIF maker aritic pinpoint email
Aritic GIF maker

The GIFs inserted in your email design templates does not disrupt the template design. It, infact, enhances your content. You can measure the length and size of your GIF so that email loading is not hampered. You can also monitor the number of frames and the resolution of your GIF.

How to use GIF Generator inside Aritic PinPoint?

Login to your Aritic PinPoint Dashboard, go to Campaigns > Email Campaigns > Create new email campaign. 

create new email campaigns
email themes

Now select a theme. For demonstration purposes, we have selected a pre-designed theme – Skyline here. After selecting a theme, open the email design studio. 

Here you will find the GIF generator block. Drag and drop it as shown in the GIF above. Once you have dropped the GIF Generator block, you will see an option to edit the GIF. Click on the edit symbol.

GIF generator Settings Aritic

Inside Aritic PinPoint, you can make a GIF from an existing video. You need to mention the start and end time within the video so that the GIF generator can crop that portion of the video and use it as a GIF. You will need to mention the padding details on all four sides for a smooth GIF experience.

GIF settings
GIF settings

If you want to create a GIF first and insert it as an image in your email template, then you can take a look at the below steps and resources to get started. 

There’s a host of tools and websites that help in creating animated GIFs for emails, blogs, etc. Below, we will go over a few tools, websites and a detailed step-by-step procedure for creating an animated GIF.

External Tools to Use

Few of the best tools that you can check out are:

Photoscape

Animated GIF Emails-photoscape-screenshot, marketing campaigns benefits

Photoscape is technically a free multi-purpose photo editor. It comprises a photo editor, GIF animator, color picker, splitter, image converter, screen capture, photo layout, and other tools. Its functionalities include the viewer, rename, raw converter, editor, screen capture, etc. You can use the Animated GIFs feature of Photoscape to create your animated GIFs. However, this will undoubtedly increase the GIF file size.

Microsoft GIF Animator

Microsoft GIF Animator is an entirely free software that can be used to create animated GIFs files. With this software, you can easily drag and drop multiple GIF files to create an animated GIF. You can set up the duration of each frame and also re- order them, creating transparency and a horizontal loop.

XylemStudio’s Animate Gif

XylemStudio’s AnimateGif is one of the best software that helps in creating very simple gif animations. The user interface is seamless, courtesy the drag and drop feature. It is very easy to balance set loop, output gif quality, and frame delay time.

GifApp

giffapp-screenshot, marketing campaigns engagement

GifApp is a free mobile app which is supported by the Sourceforge project. It is one of the best GIF animation makers. You can quickly add multiple images to your frames and set similar and different timings for each frame in seconds.

Websites For Animated GIFs

Various online services are available which allow users to make animated GIFs by uploading images from their computer or by linking them from the internet.

GIFS.COM

gifs.com-logo, marketing- campaigns- benefits

GIFs.com helps you create GIF animations. All you need to do is just paste the URL for the video that you would like to use for your GIF. This website supports YouTube, Vine, and Instagram. The users can upload their personal video files too.

Giphy:

Giphy-logo, marketing-campaigns- delivery

Giphy has been the default search engine for use of GIFs for an extended period. It has a GIF Maker that helps you simultaneously create and share your GIF creations. Giphy is very easy to use.

Picasion:

Picasion-logo

You can use Picasion to create GIFs, but it only allows a limited number of uploads. You have to select every image separately. using GIFs produced are without watermarks; also it gives full control over file privacy.

Inserting an Animated GIF in Emails

Adding a GIF animation is similar to inserting static images into emails. Below are the steps to add GIF animation in a personal email.

·   STEP 1: Create the animated GIFs that you want to use in your email. Take permission beforehand to download and use any animated GIF that you locate online and are interested in.

·   STEP 2: Save the animated GIF that you want to use on your local network or your hard drive. Give the file a name

·   STEP 3: Click on the space where you want to paste the image in the email message. Next, use the “Insert” option on your email client. Use the “Insert Image” icon or the “Insert link” in your email design menu.

·   STEP 4: Select the animated GIF file from your local network or hard drive. Click “OK” after you have selected your file. Verify the animated GIF.

·   STEP 5: Test if the process was right and the GIF animation clip chosen, and then message yourself to check that the GIF appears in the email you receive before you send it to the recipient.

Ways to insert GIF emails designed for mass marketing emails:

· STEP 1: Create or buy the animated GIF that you wish to use in your email marketing campaign. Get the rights for distributing the image in marketing materials, in case you have purchased the image online.

·   STEP 2: Upload the GIF to your server. Save the GIF to your hard drive and store the images for your email marketing campaigns. Note the full URL for the picture which you have hosted on the web server.

·   STEP 3: Insert the source code of the GIF animation in the HTML version of your email marketing message. To refer to the full URL for the hosted image, use the “img src” HTML code.

·   STEP 4: Make sure to test your full HTML and text versions of your email marketing campaign beforehand. Verify the GIF animation functions correctly in your test HTML message before you send the email campaign to your subscribers.

Tips for inserting Animated GIF in Email Templates

·   The animated GIF should not be larger than 40 kb in size. Keep the size of the GIF small. Maintain the number of frames used in GIF animations minimum.

·   Adjust the colors employed in using GIFs; this keeps the file size of an animated GIF small.

·   Use GIFs that are only 15 to 20 seconds long.

·   Consider the content of the animated GIF before uploading the emails.

·   Test the animated GIF yourself before uploading it.

·   Try to increase the number of cycles in the animated GIF.

·   Keep the animated GIF more relevant and avoid random flashing.

·   Never overuse GIFs in email design. Your readers may get annoyed, get overwhelmed and lose interest.·   Make sure to save the animated GIF without metadata.

Create Responsive GIF Emails

Email marketers are more concerned about making their email templates mobile responsive. Now that using GIFs have become a great way of engaging with users, brands need GIFs that are mobile compatible.

Animated GIF Emails in Marketing-mobile-app-user-retension, marketing- campaigns -effects

According to the latest research report from Criterio, mobile apps have managed to facilitate twice the amount of new user retention. It has been seen that compared to mobile browsers, mobile apps have fared well. In Q2 2015, the mobile app’s share of transactions was at 47% which grew to 54% in Q2 2016. Consequently, the proportion of mobile browsers fell from 53% (Q2 2015) to 46% (Q2 2016).

Below are a few impressive email marketing campaigns that used GIFs in the best possible ways:

The launch of New Book by Brit+Co

Book-launch-brit-plus-co-gif, marketing -campaigns -engagement

Brit+Co announced the launch of their new book by placing a GIF of the book in the email. The potential buyers got a preview of what the book has got to offer.

Winter Wears from American Eagle Outfitters

Animated GIF Emails, marketing- campaigns -revenue

Winter season means colorful knitted clothes. Thanks to the increasing popularity of online shopping, this email campaign announcing the arrival of winter wear was irresistible.

The Non-Literal GIF from Anthropologie

Fresh-cut-anthropologie, marketing campaign landing page

This email campaign stands out specifically for their concept. Apparently, you see letters falling like raindrops. You cannot help but keep looking at the illustration, only to realize the message “Fresh Cuts” falling repeatedly.

To add a GIF in Outlook:

·   Select “New Email” from the ribbon.

·   Put the address on.

·   Click the “Insert” tab, and click “Pictures” on the ribbon.

·   If the animated GIF is online, then click on “Online Pictures.

·   Select the file, and then click “Insert.”·   It will insert the file into your email message.

Challenges of Using GIFs in Emails

No trend is devoid of its cons. GIFs in emails is not an exception. It is true that the popularity of Animated GIF emails is increasing pretty fast. However, email marketers must be cautious of not overdoing it.

GIFs are surely very engaging but then there is a particular set of audience in email clients who prefers plain text. We call them the “readers.” So if you are overdoing the GIF in every email campaign of yours, it can affect negatively to your sending reputation.

Future of GIFs in Email Marketing

Use GIFs as they are here to stay. Email marketers are constantly analyzing the impacts and results of using GIFs in emails.

·   Consumers are shifting to mobiles-> marketers are focusing on mobile responsive email templates for email clients in email marketing.

·   Use GIFs because that will rule the future of email marketing. According to The Future of Email Marketing- 2017 Edition from emailMonday:Optimizing emails for great visuals and using emojis strategically will appeal to an age group of email clients that increasingly relies on visuals to communicate using email marketing.

1) How do I email GIFs?

Animated GIFs add humor and levity to your email newsletters, and it is gaining popularity in the workplace. Gmail has simplified the GIFs insertion into the body of an email by dragging and dropping it from your desktop into the compose window.

2) How do I set up Giphy in Outlook?

Steps to add a GIF in Outlook:
a) Use Giphy.com to search a GIF for emails
b) Choose “Save Picture As” with the right button of your mouse
c) Give a name to the file and save it

3) Can I put a GIF in my email signature?

You can add GIFs of your liking in the signatures section below to create or modify signatures for messages.

Author

Ankit Prakash is principal founder of Aritic. Ankit is a passionate and determined entrepreneur; building successful Internet product since 2006.