6 email marketing campaigns with killer gifs

Want to spice up your email? A GIF might do the trick. GIFs aren’t just eye-catching, they’re effective. Research suggests emails sent with a GIF inside enjoy 26% higher clickthrough rates than their non-GIF competitors.

Email-centered campaigns have also raised revenue – significantly. In one case study, Dell used a GIF in an email campaign and saw a 109% increase in revenue, according to MarketingSherpa.

If you’re interested in adding a GIF to your next campaign, we’ll explore six email marketing campaigns with killer GIFs that you can use as inspiration, plus some tips to add GIFs to your email effectively.

What is a GIF?

Before we start looking at amazing GIF campaigns, let’s define what a GIF is.

A GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a moving picture. Think of it as a digital flipbook that strings several images together to create the illusion of movement. Here’s an example of a GIF in an email:

Pretty cool, right?

6 GIF emails you’ll want to copy

With GIFs, you need a plan. What do you want the GIF to do? Will it highlight products? Draw a subscriber’s attention to a specific part of an email? Take some time to think about what the GIF will accomplish for you.

To take some of the burden out GIF-prepping, here are some email marketing campaigns will killer GIFs that you’ll probably want to copy:

1. A Birchbox membership never looked so good

Birchbox, a membership-based beauty supplier, announces a big sale in a big way. The company uses a GIF to show the boxes of beauty supplies that members receive each month. The boxes slowly appear around the sale information, making the email a real beauty.


2. Van’s promotes its gift guide with GIF-style

Van’s, known for its skateboarding footwear and apparel, created a full-page GIF to introduce its holiday catalog. The animation, while a bit unorthodox, speaks to the Van’s brand and is a more engaging way to get customers interested in shopping than a still image and call to action.

Credit: ReallyGoodEmails


3. Modcloth shows off accessories

Modcloth, an online clothing retailer, show its customers how to accessorize a dress with an inspirational GIF. In seconds, customers see the same dress with a sweater, jacket, sunglasses, and different shoes. 

The GIF is the online version of a window display that you’d see in a brick and mortar store. It gives customers the inspiration they need to complete their look. 

4. Fashion Magazine spices up its newsletter with a GIF

Fashion magazine sends out newsletters with regularity, sometimes daily depending on a subscriber’s preference. So, how can a publisher keep the content inside fresh? You guessed it, with the occasional GIF.

Fashion Magazine uses a consistent newsletter layout. A main piece of content sits on top and four to six small blocks sit under it. Typically, each block has an image and headline, but sometimes one of the blocks is a GIF. Take a look at the example below. The GIF is such an attention-grabber that subscribers can’t help but click on it to learn more.

It’s a nice way to break up the routine newsletter while giving subscribers something unique.


5. Apartment Therapy provides design inspiration

Apartment Therapy, an online publisher promoting home design and décor, uses a GIF to show people how much of a difference art can make on their walls. The GIF shows an empty wall and then shows the same wall with art on it.

The visual nature of this GIF makes it easy for the reader to instantly see how art can impact the look of a room.

Like many publishers, Apartment Therapy sends out a lot of newsletters and strategically uses GIFs to show audiences something out of the ordinary.


6. Harry’s animates a clock to emphasize urgency

To encourage customers to act fast, Harry’s, a shaving equipment company, sent this email with an animated clock.

Forget countdowns or flashing signs that say, “Time is Running Out.” Harry’s keeps it subtle. Everything in the image is still, except the clock, which draws your eye right to it and conveys the urgency of ordering now.

Credit: ReallyGoodEmails


Tips you should know before sending your first GIF in an email

Now you’re inspired, right? Before you start planning email marketing campaigns with killer gifs, here are a few things you should know before you utilize these mini-movies in your email marketing strategy:


You don’t need animation skills

Making a GIF doesn’t require an animation degree. There are several user-friendly tools that can help you create a GIF quickly. Try EzGIF, GIFMaker.me, or Giphy.

Once you create the GIF and save it on your computer, you can upload it into an email just as you would an image. It’s as simple as uploading it and adding it to your email template.


Be aware of file size and load time

GIFs can quickly become large files, which is problematic for emails. Large files mean slow load times, and that’s a good way to frustrate your subscribers.

If you create a GIF, keep the file size below 400 KB and your image size under 480 pixels in width and height.

Be sure to send a test email to your phone and see how quickly it loads before sending it to others.

Vary GIF usage

As the examples show, GIFs are versatile. They can make up a small part of your email or they can be the main crux of it. You decide.

To start, you might consider making something small to learn the creation process and get into more complex looks later.

Picking the first frame is vital

Some email clients don’t support GIFs. Instead of seeing a moving picture, the subscriber will only see the first frame of the GIF. Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 will only show the first frame, for example.

Given this information, the first frame of your GIF is crucial. Make sure the first frame can stand alone as a picture.

Send a test

As with any email, you should send a test email to yourself before it goes mainstream. Aside from evaluating load times, watch the GIF to make sure it plays correctly. See how it fits with the rest of your email too. A GIF should complement your email and its message, not take away from it.

Of course, if you see any errors, fix them before sending.

Don’t go overboard

GIFs are awesome, but like anything else, you can overdo it. Try one GIF and see how your customers respond. If it goes well, try another. Use them sparingly though so customers don’t grow bored of them.

Wrap up

GIFs have become a powerful, attention-grabbing marketing tool for many businesses. But, as with any marketing tactic, there are best practices should you reference before adding a GIF to your next email. Fortunately, the tips and examples of email marketing campaigns with killer gifs give you a great starting point to create and send an email with a GIF inside.

Happy GIF-making everyone.

About the Author

Lane Harbin is a senior content marketing manager at Emma. When she’s not geeking out over email marketing, she enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.

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