Animated GIFs In Email

They say a picture tells a thousand words. That’s exactly what we need when we consider just how long we have to engage customers through email marketing.

According to research by Mailchimp, only 3 per cent of recipients will actually click on a link in an email! That’s scary enough in itself, without stopping to think that 23 per cent of marketing emails will go unopened entirely.

So, how do we make sure we have our customers’ attention? The answer is simple – the humble GIF.

What makes the GIF so effective in email marketing?

According to behavioural studies, it is part of human self-preservation to take more notice of moving images than static ones. That’s why you’ll see the most successful painters almost appear to make their masterpieces ‘move’ – attracting the eye that much more.

It also appeals to our short attention spans. Despite dating back to the 1980s, the Graphic Interchange Format is most effective today as our attention spans have dropped by 25 per cent since 2000. We now hold focus for just eight seconds!

GIFS are also hugely effective for communicating emotion. How many of us have thought ‘there’s a GIF for that moment’ when chatting over social media? This is crucial for marketing – appealing to our emotions and spurring actions, like a purchase.

Increase conversion rates through GIFs

The best GIF email marketing strategy is combined with an engaging subject line. You need to grab your audience’s attention from the word go, so include the GIF early on before text to encourage click-throughs.

According to Campaign Monitor, conversion rates in emails can increase by up to 103 per cent when a GIF is used. This is because we are so innately attuned to the visual. 55 per cent of content creators in the B2C sector say visual content is their top priority. This is underpinned by a 650 per cent higher engagement rate than text only posts.

Where to find GIFs

You can either find GIFs at online sources, or be bold and create your own. Giphy is your go-to resource for both of these. It has a database of an eye-watering 1 billion GIFs, so you’ll never be lacking in inspiration.

If that wasn’t enough, try making one yourself. Giphy offers a free tool to make your own out of short movies, or you can use mobile apps like GiphyCam.

Points of caution with GIFs

Bear the following in mind before you go raiding the Giphy database:

  • Don’t overuse GIFs as these may trigger spam filters
  • Some older email clients may not be able to render GIFs, so ensure your email also makes sense without them
  • Keep them relevant! Nobody wants to see a random cat GIF in the middle of a clothing sale email. If your GIF cannot appeal to the audience, readers will drop off.

With appropriate use, GIFs should complement your email strategy. Remember that punchy copy still stands, so use both for maximum engagement.