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The benefits of using GIFs in emails

Learn the benefits of using GIFs in emails! Improve communication by adding GIFs to your emails. Learn more here.

First published

12.06.2019

Last edited

07.06.2024

Read time

6 minutes


    By James

    James has seven years' experience as a Content Marketer, bylines on Left Foot Forward, Submittable, and INOMICS, and a Master's in History. In his free time he likes to read, play guitar, and write for his personal blog.

    Is it GIF with a hard G or GIF with a soft G? Nobody seems to know for certain (though file type creator Steven Wilhite has himself said it should be 'jif').

    Whichever side of the fence you fall on, everybody loves GIFs - except you, right?

    Well, if you don't, you should. GIFs are dynamic, expressive, and help increase engagement, especially in emails.

    How often do you receive an email and not look past the first few lines?

    Calls-to-action and informational newsletters end up being distractions that we tend to ignore, even if the content is something that would really interest us if only we took the time to properly consume it.

    The same goes if you're the one writing those emails. You should be looking for ways to draw people in, to get them to read past the first line and engage with your email. Pictures and videos break up monotonous lines of text and add humor and lightness to otherwise run-of-the-mill messages.

    Embedding videos work sometimes but the format is not always supported by all email providers.

    They take time, and money to produce. Moreover, they can make people's inboxes run really slowly, which will only annoy them. So what's the solution?

    Key Takeaways

    • Engagement Increase: GIFs make emails more dynamic and engaging, which can help capture the recipient's attention beyond the first few lines.
    • Emotional Expression: They allow for more expressive communication, as they can convey emotions and nuances that text or static images might not.
    • Marketing Effectiveness: Including GIFs in emails has been shown to increase open rates by 6% and click-through rates by 42%. They also significantly improve conversion rates and revenue.
    • Versatility and Trendiness: GIFs are particularly popular among Millennials and Gen Z.
    • Enriching Email Content: GIFs can enrich email content, making it appear more lively and engaging by breaking up text-heavy messages.
    • Appropriate Use Guidelines: It's crucial to use GIFs wisely, taking into account the context and the audience. Avoid them in serious communications or when they might make the email visually cluttered.

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    Use GIFs in emails!

    GIFs are short video clips that are on set on a loop - but they're an image format. They let you convey emotions that static images and pure copy can't.

    On top of this, they help emails to look and feel more alive. The email is actually moving! They attract attention and encourage readers to engage in your message.

    Recommended reading: How Working From Home Can Positively Impact Your Work-Life Balance

    They are also currently quite the trend. The millennial generation has grown up with this feature, so they know how to use them and appreciate the effects that they have.

    Gen Z hasn't missed this trick, either: GIFs are an integral part of their online language.

    These looping videos have proven their value in marketing contexts. Studies show that emails containing GIFs are 6% more likely to be opened, and are 42% more likely to gain clicks for an email’s embedded links.

    Emails with GIFs also showed a 103% increase in conversion rate, and a 109% increase in revenue for the company sending them. 

    why use gifs in emails

    Source: unlayer.com/blog/gifs-in-emails


    A little GIF etiquette goes a long way

    How to use GIFs appropriately

    • Use them when communicating with colleagues to have a little fun. It helps lighten the mood!
    • Use GIFs in community engagement with a young adult audience. They are run-of-the-mill millennial speakers.
    • Use GIFs to make a product stand out and emphasize a particular message. If a picture tells a thousand words, how many more words does a moving image tell?

    When to not use GIFs

    • When talking about more serious topics like HR, finance or accounting.
    • To lighten the mood when the mood needs to be more serious.
    • If the images are very busy and thus hard to see when looped rapidly.
    • When you have already used five other GIFs in the same email. There is too much of a good thing.

    GIFs are a great addition to your email arsenal

    In short, using GIFs can really help your email communication, whether that be open rates, click-through rates, overall engagement, and even revenue.

    Just remember to use them at the appropriate times - and use the right GIF for the moment!

    Real-life examples from companies that use GIFs in their emails

    Quality Logo Products

    GIFs are an easy way to give your email campaign personality. Your marketing team has the chance to flex their creative muscles. That’s why we love using GIFs in our email marketing. 

    a gif of a ufo in email newsletter

    The alien-inspired campaign, meanwhile, was just as lucrative with over 400 clicks and sales in over 70% of the products featured.

    Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder, Quality Logo Products

    Lamood Big Hats

    This is an email with a GIF in it for our other company Lamood Big Hats. It shows how you can quickly and easily change the patch for various new looks on the cap.

    a gif of a hat

    Mike Lindamood,  Lamood Corporation

    Tips for creating and using custom GIFs in email marketing

    Here are some practical tips for creating and using custom GIFs in email marketing:

    • Choose the Right Tool: Use GIF-making tools like Giphy, Canva, or Adobe Photoshop. These platforms provide easy-to-use interfaces for creating GIFs from scratch or by editing existing images and videos.

    • Keep It Simple: Design GIFs that are simple and clear. Avoid using too many frames or overly complex animations, as they might not display well in all email clients.

    • Optimize for Email: Ensure your GIFs are small in file size (under 1 MB if possible) to ensure they load quickly on all devices and don't lead to increased spam ratings.

    • Test Before Sending: Always test your emails on different devices and email clients to make sure your GIFs display correctly.

    • Align with Your Message: Your GIFs should complement the text in your email, not distract from it. They should add value by emphasizing a point, adding humor, or guiding the reader’s attention to specific content.

    Email GIFs FAQs

    Why are GIFs good for emails?

    GIFs are an amazing addition to emails for a number of reasons, including:

    • They help you convey specific emotions without having to use big words
    • They help you lighten the mood when the situation allows it
    • They attract attention and encourage engagement
    • They help you explain complex ideas or features quickly and easily
    • They are extremely easy to use

    What is the main benefit of using GIFs?

    The main benefit of using GIFs in your emails is the chance to make them more dynamic and fun without making your recipients’ inboxes run slowly.

    That’s so because GIFs are usually smaller and easier to implement than video files. GIFs are also one of the most powerful pieces of multimedia when it comes to capturing younger audiences (Millennials and Zoomers).

    Should you email with GIFs?

    It depends on the situation. If, for example, you’re writing an email to one of your teammates or a millennial customer, adding a couple of fun GIFs to the message is a great way to lighten the mood.

    However, if you’re crafting an internal email about the latest financial report, incorporating GIFs isn’t a smart idea as the topic is rather serious and you might come across as unprofessional.

    Before you add a GIF to an email of yours, ask yourself whether it will provide value to the message.

    Do GIFs in emails work?

    Yes, they do. Research shows that emails with GIFs are 6% more likely to be opened.

    What’s more, using GIFs in your email communication can increase your revenue by 109%. That’s impressive, isn’t it?

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    Comment (1)

    1. One hiccup I found. When I click on the Giphy icon and input a search item (like “Birthday”), I only have access to 4 GIFs. There is no way to scroll to see what other “Birthday” GIFs are available. I have to go to Giphy.com and scroll though the available GIFs there and then paste the icon link into Mail. Seems to me the link within Apple Mail is lacking!

      24 Jun 2019

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