The GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a 1980’s creation that has remained a popular method of adding motion and animation to email marketing, helping campaigns to stand out from the crowd. So how can we bring back the 80s into our modern email campaigns but leave the spandex and bad perms firmly in the past?
The difference between Gifs and Video
Although the GIF file is a video feature, there are important differences you need to know.
- Video has sound, animated GIFs do not.
- Some formats of video have high resolution and high picture quality, but the GIF has just 256 colours available.
- Video size is larger, GIF size is smaller.
A GIF is a valuable addition to an email, allowing you to add animation without clogging up your customer’s inboxes (large file formats, slow to load, are an easy way to lose subscribers). GIFs with all their low-picture quality have managed to retain an air of nostalgia, are a useful way to tap into your persona’s psyche.
GIF-tastic email marketing
Still not convinced about how valuable GIFs could be? Well, video email marketing has a 280% return on investment in comparison to plain-text? GIF emails have a slightly lower ROI but it’s still an improvement! Now, how do you incorporate them into your email campaigns?
Remember animated GIFs and Flash are not guaranteed to work in all email clients, so run a test to see how the email will appear in different inboxes. That way, you’ll pick up on any discrepancies and be able to tweak the campaign before it goes out. Fortunately, email clients are more likely to support GIF than video, so this too much of a problem.
If you can’t find the GIF you want, it’s easy to create one yourself and there are plenty of free software programmes to help you put one together. However, make sure GIFs are as relevant as any other image included in your campaign – forget the cute cat.
Microsoft Outlook uses Word to render HTML email, so GIFs and animated content don’t always display well. Compatibility issues can cause only the first frame of the GIF to display which can render them effectively unfit-for-purpose as an eye-catching element to your campaigns, and users have to set the GIF to repeat which gives a poor user experience.
To make up for this, produce your file so that the first frame contains the most important information and is seen immediately without a need for animation. If in doubt, include a static image which tells the story of your animated content.
When you’re designing emails that contain animated content, remember to plan how to minimise the impact on the overall campaign if the animated content fails. Whilst of course this can happen to the best of us it’s always good to have a back-up plan.
On a practical note, edit your animated content prior to uploading it into your email software as this gives better control over the file size. It’ll save you a lot of heartache than trying to edit the image in your email software.
4 Quick Animated Content Marketing Ideas
- Fashion brands and retailers could create a GIF that puts together an outfit from your new clothing line.
- Show how a product works through a step-by-step demonstration.
- Technology deals can be animated with images on their screens.
- Open your inbox now – we guarantee there’ll be dozens of GIF-laden emails to give you some inspiration!
Depending on your industry and how you are using animated content, remember to consider how your email will come across if the video element fails. Test with a variety of email platforms and also test your email without the video content to see how it looks.
If in doubt, simplify your email campaign or look for professional advice, we’re here to help!
For more reasons why you should use images in your B2B marketing campaigns, follow the link below:-