Why and how to use GIF images to boost your email opens

Apr 21
3 min read
We are inundated daily with dozens, even hundreds, of emails. Occasionally, an email comes along that is so interesting it all but demands our attention–and maybe even a click-through. Often, these emails are carefully crafted with an interesting message and strong visuals to back that message up.
Pacman observing a lady on a wall - Photo bady abbas - Unsplash

Today's article is all about creating those strong visuals, specifically in the form of gifs.

There are some general rules about adding images in emails, here is more information: Understanding image display in emails.

What is a GIF?

A GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and is a type of image format. It’s the same old jpeg or png file but with one difference – it moves! It's an animated image made up of several frames strung together to create a loop. Gifs are often used in social media but are becoming commonplace in blog articles, text messages, and even as clever responses in otherwise mundane work communications.

If you've been on the internet over the last half-decade, chances are you've discovered and even used a gif or two. You might even have a favorite of your own.

Why are GIFs so effective?

Gifs are great because they draw the viewer's attention. The loop typically takes just a few seconds to complete whatever story the gif is telling, so they are easy to follow and gather some meaning from. Most are lighthearted and taken from some of our favorite pop culture moments, especially in TV shows. But others can be used to showcase specific actions you need users to take–like clicking on a dropdown menu or navigating an online tool.

Gifs evoke emotion, can simplify complex topics, and they save us time. If an image is worth a thousand words, how many words is a gif worth?

And, if used well, a gif can increase the open and click through rates of your emails and drive your ROI.

Why is it the best choice for an image? 

  • The best option to add animations to your email.
  • The oldest form of animated images on the Internet.
  • Compatible with almost all e-mail clients

How to create a GIF?

Sites such as MakeAGif allow you to create your own GIFs for free and in just a few clicks from photos and videos (from YouTube in particular). If you don't want to or don't have the time to create your own, there are several sites, including Giphy, where you can find and download pre-made gifs.

However, you'll want to pay attention to the size of the file. As a large proportion of readers will open their email on mobile, it is necessary to ensure that it is compliant with the email provider and won't drag down the speed of the email opening.

Always test your gifs before sending them out into the world.

How to insert a GIF in an email

Fortunately, gifs are very simple to add to an email! You can treat them much like you would any image and simply load or drag and drop (depending on the software or program you're using). If you're using Cakemail, you can upload the gif (or any other image) to the File Manager, which is essentially a library for your email campaigns. Cakemail has also a large selection of free fun animated gifs.

Here is a video that can help you understand adding gifs to emails even better.

Like other images, gifs are only as strong as the content you add them to. You'll want to use gifs sparingly, and make sure they are always relevant to the offer, promotion, or information you're providing to your audience.

But, if you are able to use them well, your email marketing results could become better than ever before!

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