GIFs: what to know and how to use them

We’re living in a fast paced visual world. Photographs aren’t always enough to capture people’s attention anymore. Videos are effective but are costly to film and edit; graphic designed artwork is prominent but doesn’t always tell the full story. This is why GIFs have become so popular. Unlike anything else, GIFs are able to convey a specific message, thought or emotion in a very short amount of time. They have infiltrated the digital world and have become in essence a new language.

These animated images have been adopted by marketers because of how effective they are at delivering a message. Research has shown that email campaigns sent with GIFs are up to 72% more effective than emails sent without. Using a GIF in your email campaign allows the recipient the ability to quickly digest what it is you’re promoting. However there are a few things that you should know about before taking the plunge into the wide world of GIFs.

Not Every Email Client Supports GIFs

If you’re planning on using a GIF in your next email campaign, it’s important to understand that not everyone is going to see your animated image. Any recipient who uses Outlook 2007 to present will have issues viewing your animated masterpiece. The reason for this is because of the software that Microsoft uses to display emails received in Outlook.

Don’t fret though, anyone using Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013 will see the first frame of your GIF as a static image. So as long as the most pertinent information is displayed in the first frame of your GIF all recipients will get the gist of what it is you are promoting.

File Size Matters

One of the things that make GIFs so flexible is their file size. Compared to videos, they are very small which makes them quick to load on social media, and on mobile phones. However, if you are going to use a GIF in an email campaign, you will need to ensure that the file size is as small as possible. The larger the file size the longer it takes to download, GIFs that are more than 1 MB will take far too long to download and will drive down your open rates. So be sure that your GIF is under 1 MB and is as small as possible.

Make it Relevant

It should go without saying, that this point should apply to all content across all marketing channels. GIFs are visually stimulating, so many marketing professionals are keen to insert GIFs in their campaigns because they are an easy way to make their emails stand out. However, GIFs should not be used as filler. They are very effective at delivering a message, so ensure that they are doing just that… delivering your message.

Because GIFs are an image file, they can be easily uploaded and inserted into your emails. Simply upload them the same way you would add an image block and upload an image into your Image Library. (Just be sure your GIF is under 1 MG).

Now that you know a bit more about GIFs and how effective they can be for relaying your message, you can GIF responsibly.

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