In this article you will find out:

  1. Why GIF and email are a brilliant match.
  2. What things you should consider when using GIFs in emails.
  3. 3 ways to use GIFs in your email campaigns.

firework gif


In 1990’s when the World Wide Web, aka the Internet, was still very slow, cheap digital cameras unavailable, and smart phones nonexistent, GIF images looked really cool.

1990 gif

Source: 1980s-1990sgif

Later, with development of technology and then selfie sticks, people realized that they can stream and post video from wherever they want, GIF was abandoned and marginalized.

But look at us now:  there is a true renaissance of GIF. There are some people that believe it all happened because of nostalgia.

Nostalgia or not, bur GIF opens a lot of opportunities for people dealing with email marketing as in this conservative industry one cannot embed videos reliably even in HTML5.

GIF rennaissance

As “short videos” provide a lot of opportunities to communicate the idea in short and concise way, GIFs can become a way out.

GIFs can even help to increase click through rates and conversions.

Dell  decided to use GIF in XPS 12 campaign. XPS 12 is a laptop transforming to a tablet, so GIF was a perfect way to demonstrate its features. This campaign resulted in:

  • 42% increase in click rate
  • 103% increase in conversion rate


*Source: *Marketing Sherpa

Another example. BombBomb tested various ways to refer to a video in emails and it turned out that a GIF representing the video in email newsletter delivered 48.9% lift in video play rate.

Things to Remember about GIFs in Emails

You should not get overexcited about GIF. As everything in this world it has its own limitations.

Here is the list of email clients supporting or not supporting GIF:


As you can see, almost all email clients support GIF. Of course, apart from Outlook 2007-2013.

Anyway, when you place a GIF in your email, make sure that the first frame of GIF file looks nice and includes all necessary information like description and call to action. If GIF is not supported, the first frame will be the image your users see.

By the way, it is really bad idea to include call to actions, whatever nice they could look,** in the animated part**, because they can be lost or left unnoticed.

gif sold 2gif sold 1

*Source: *Financial Spots

Another thing to consider: GIF size. Heavy GIFs can seriously impair your email usability. If you add too much frames in your GIF it can become really heavy, so reduce them to the bare minimum, they will still stay animated.

Your GIF size should not exceed 40 KB.

Over time people get used to everything, so don’t abuse GIFS in emails. If all your email campaigns contain GIF animation, after time it will not be that exciting for people.

How to Use GIFs in Emails

GIFs in emails, if they are done well, really allow for creativity. They are definitely cherries on top of your email cakes. There are several ways how you can enhance quality of your emails with GIFs.

Use GIF to create an element of delight

If your are an e-commerce company selling apparel, accessories or beauty products GIF is a real deal for you. Putting GIF in your campaign email is like creating a live shop window.

Here are some examples.

ModCloth email campaign demonstrates the whole outfit you can create with items on sale.

ModCloth gif


GIFs can really show the product in the most favorable way, like in this email from Kate Spade.

Bag gif

*Source: *Smiley Cat

GIFs can intrigue your customers like another campaign of Kate Spade…

Gif intrique

*Source: *Mail Bakery

… or make them laugh.

Funny Gif

*Source: *Email Signature Rescue

Basically, for retailers GIF is a great way to create an anticipation to excellent shopping experience in your email.

Use GIF to Demonstrate Features and Benefits of Your Product

An animated picture is worth a thousand words.

Sometimes it is much easier to show rather than provide lengthy explanation that no one will understand. GIFs are a perfect tool to demonstrate features and benefits of your product as in Dell example above.

Or even the way to use new design, like Mailchimp did in one of their campaigns.

Gif Mailchimp

Source: Mailchimp

Use GIF to Create Sense of Urgency and Scarcity

In email design GIF is a perfect way to establish sense of urgency and scarcity. Timers, countdowns, or decreasing lists, all of them are tools to boost click through and conversion rates.

Have a look yourself.

steelers Lounge

*Source: *Steelers Lounge

How to Make GIFs

Here are some tools and tutorials that may be of use for you to learn how to create GIFs.

Key points of this article:

  1. GIFs can be a killer tool in conservative word of email that still does not offer reliable ways to embed videos.
  2. When using GIFs for emails, you still should make them look nice in email clients that do not support GIF and you should make sure that the image size does not exceed 40 KB.
  3. In email design GIF can be an element of delight, a way to demonstrate features and benefits of the product or create a sense of urgency and scarcety.
Roland Pokornyik

Roland Pokornyik

CEO / Co-founder @ &

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