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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 without leaving your inbox.

First published

12.06.2019

Last edited

06.05.2022

Read time

3 minutes


    By James

    James has five 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.

    Writing emails now goes beyond the text

    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 works sometimes but the format 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?

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    Use GIFs in emails!

    GIFs are short video clip 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.

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    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. 

    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 speak.
    • 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!

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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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