Let me guess, the GIF caught your attention for a slightly longer period than the word that preceded it. I am not making a new point; just reiterating the power of animation and the resulting conflation of effective communication when married with a superlative copy and custom email templates. As an email marketer, you are always on the lookout for ways to capture the increasingly fleeting attention span of our information-loaded sensory perceptions. The way to stand out from the crowd without spending a bomb is to go the GIF way.
In the text that follows, we will decode the fundamentals of GIFs and their effect on consumer psychology, use cases and best practices to integrate GIFs in emails that drive crazy engagement rates, and most importantly, ascertain the “why” behind incorporating these visual elements into your brand emails.
Nailing the basics of GIFs in a jiffy!
An acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, it refers to bitmap or raster image files that are built to support a limited number of colors and up to 8 bits per pixel per image. Animated GIFs work on the principle of persistence of vision by compiling multiple images in a single file that renders the illusion of motion (frame-by-frame animation) by either a smooth transition or a flash effect.
The very first animated GIF was conceived in the early years of the netscape in 1987 by Steve Wilhite et al. in CompuServe on June 15, 1987.
Though the jury stands divided on the pronunciation, with some preferring to go with a hard “g” while some choose to go with the soft “j”, whatever our tongue may roll to, one thing remains unquestioned, GIFs are known to amp up email engagement rates (provided you keep certain factors in mind, such as branding, loading speeds, target audience preferences, etc.)!
Now that’s awesome news for the email marketers who are yet to capitalize on the potential of a well-crafted and well-intentioned GIF. Before we get to the use cases, let’s hit the throttle on ascertaining the factors to consider before incorporating GIFs in your email marketing campaign.
Figuring out the WHY before adding GIFs in your custom email templates
Having a clear purpose in mind that the GIF is crafted to execute and the value proposition in store for the intended audience is important to etch out.
Here’s a checklist that you may consider referring to before you get all creative with this engagement-enhancing tool.
- Begin with getting clarity on the purpose that the GIF intends to fulfill: Even before you get to choose the right kind of GIF for your email, you need to know the value proposition that it brings to the table for the audience or the message that it intends to convey. This does not mean that the GIF has to do all the work; it could also just act as a gentle nudge toward setting the tone for the message that follows in the copy ahead.
- Do GIFs align with your brand persona and the target audience’s values? This is a fairly important question to answer, as this could either make or break your email engagement levels. A good way to know the audience’s receptivity towards this tool will be to carry out A/B testing, or if you deploy interactive emails, you always have the option of adding a survey at the end of the email to hear straight from the horse’s mouth!
- You also need to have an idea about the email clients that your subscribers prefer to use. While most email clients support GIFs, some still choose not to, and by the latter, we are indeed referring to Outlook 2007-2019 version. In such cases, you can choose to add the main information in the first frame, which will still render in the preview.
Once you have a clear understanding of the above checkpoints, it will be easier for marketers to proceed toward envisioning and crafting an engaging yet value-adding GIF to realize greater click-through rates and, ultimately, higher conversions.
An insight into the use cases where brands have hit the bullseye with amazingly well-crafted GIFs in emails
- Becoming the Khaby Lame of the email word and simplifying complex concepts: Baggu literally had our team giving out a standing ovation for this simple yet beautifully executed GIF in its email that exemplified a simple task with an animation that made the subscribers scroll down to see all the four steps. When brilliance marries simplicity, magic happens!
- Incorporating pop culture references to tease new arrivals: Netflix really sets the tone when it comes to nonpareil marketing prowess with its awe-inspiring GIF and cleverly positioned CTA. We are straight up taking notes!
- Building up the tempo toward a new product reveal while keeping it short, sweet, and simple: The next one from Havenly literally “grabs” eyeballs and tempts the viewer to stay tuned for the awesomeness in store. Another worthy gem, this is one email inspiration that testifies to the fact that simple can be effective.
Best practices to get the best out of adding GIFs in your brand emails
Here’s what you can consider doing to get the best out of your animated GIFs in email campaigns. Let’s hash it out, shall we?
- Couple GIFs with your CTA: In the previous use case, one can see how CTAs and GIFs work in conflation and serve to complement the purpose in mind. Also, some people like to click on GIFs, hoping that they will activate an offer or get to an intended landing page. Don’t disappoint them!
- Less can be more! If you keep the file size small and animate only the relevant portion of the GIF, you not only save on data and storage but also prevent the possibility of distraction from the intended message.
- Incorporate branding: Free stuff is good, but why not spend a little more on branding and get that logo in the GIF that is contextual and helps the subscribers associate the value with the brand?! Food for thought? You bet!
Whenever you think about anything and everything email, Email Uplers should be your first choice! Right from crafting custom email templates to nailing those interactive email campaigns, you know you won’t go wrong with these ninjas! We would love to hear from you, would you like to say hi?