Should I be using animated GIFs in my email campaigns?

Smart Messenger

GIF's are becoming increasingly common in email marketing campaigns. So, why should you be using them?

GIFs or Graphics Interchange Formats if you want to be technical, are essentially a series of images that quickly scroll through, giving the illusion of motion. They’re becoming increasingly common in email marketing campaigns, with a recent Litmus Survey showing over 50% of companies now use GIFs on a semi-regular basis. 

They draw attention

The movement of a GIF can be enough to draw a recipient’s attention to the desired area. Unlike videos, which can be a little overwhelming in an email, GIFs are a great way to make sure recipients head straight for the most important part of an email - typically this would be your call to action or a product you’re promoting. If you’re showcasing a product that has moving parts, a GIF can be the perfect way to demonstrate how it works.

Show more

GIFS are a fantastic way to show more of what you do without the need for a lengthy email. Keep your body text short and to the point to let the GIF speak for itself - perfect for scrolling through products or showcasing services. Another application is to show variations of the same product, a recipient might not be attracted to a certain colour, so by utilising the movement of a GIF you could use it to scroll through different colour options. By showing off the different versions recipients are more likely to see one they like and engage.


Another brilliant way to utilise the movement of a GIF is by using it to walk recipients through an aspect of your product or business. It could be that you’ve rolled out a new-look website and need to let them know about some functionality changes, or perhaps you’re just offering a little behind-the-scenes look at processes - either way, GIFs can be used very effectively here.

They’re fun!

Let’s be honest, GIFs are just way more fun than a static picture! By including an eye-catching GIF in your email you’re showing recipients your fun side, just imagine their happy face as they open your email to be greeted by a GIF. They don’t have to be funny to be fun, something as simple as an animated drink being poured can be fun enough. By adding personality you’re helping recipients connect with your business on an emotional level, something that encourages brand loyalty.

The golden GIF rules

If you’re going to include them in emails there are a few golden GIF rules you should be aware of before you do.

Firstly, not all browsers support GIFs and in this instance will only display the first image. You should, therefore, always ensure the first image is the most important one (and one you would be happy for recipients to only see).

Secondly, they should be used tastefully and not tacky i.e. no big flashing images or rapid scrolling that will likely induce nausea and headaches! GIFs should complement the body text of your email as opposed to drawing attention away from it, so try to avoid anything too over-the-top and flashy.

Thirdly, you should use GIFs sparingly. We’ve all heard the saying “too much of a good thing”, while GIFs are fun and can be used to help you stand out, you also don’t want to overdo it. Not only will an email crammed full of GIFs draw away from your reason for emailing, but it will also likely result in your email going straight in the bin. Use them every now and then to keep things fresh and engaging.

Finally, bear in mind file size, as some GIFs can be large. The larger the file the slower the load time of your email, something that results in recipients clicking off and finding another, quicker to load, email to read.

Where to get them from

The safest option in terms of copyright is to create your own, speak to our design team about your ideas and we will help you to make them a reality.

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