How To Use GIFs in Email Marketing

Published on: June 14, 2024

Last updated on: July 1, 2024

Popular GIFs can make your content more dynamic, engaging, and influential, bringing numerous practical benefits to your business. Part of your brand identity and an effective storytelling element, animated GIFs may become the tipping point for your email campaigns.

However, using gifs for email marketing requires precision, some artistic knack, and meeting specific optimization requirements. Read on to learn the benefits of short animation and how to add gifs to your marketing campaigns so they match the grand narrative.

Source: GIPHY

What Are GIFs?

GIF stands for Graphical Interchange Format. Invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, this image format is a series of images or videos looped on repeat. Without pressing the play button, popular GIFs benefit from repetition that makes them catchy and familiar, just like a good song.

Why are we so obsessed with GIFs? They are easy to make, go viral on social media platforms, and entertainingly convey needed messages. Email animation is an excellent choice for reaching out to potential and existing customers and improving their engagement.

Using GIFs for Emails: Key Benefits

If you are still trying to figure out how to put a GIF in an email, reviewing the benefits of such a marketing strategy can be the right thing to do. Using GIFs in email marketing can help your branded email campaigns.

Deliver the message Regular texts or static visuals cannot compete with animated GIFs in email marketing. Just a glance from a recipient is enough to send the message through and present your brand.
Engage the audience Overexposure to social media is often blamed for shortened attention spans. At the same time, an eye-catching GIF can captivate the reader’s attention and foster further interaction.
Convey emotions Using GIFs in email marketing evokes a variety of feelings, from excitement to fear to surprise to anticipation. As a marketer, you can call for the feeling you need within specific campaigns.
Call to action Animated GIFs in email marketing can help you embed a specific call to action in your emails while reinforcing the campaign’s message.

Potential Pitfalls of Email GIFs

If marketing GIFs are so effective, should all brands adopt email animation elements as indispensable parts of their email campaigns? There is no one-fit-all solution because it all depends on the nature of your brand.

Integrating GIFs into your emails targeting potential and existing customers involves some nuances. Below are the possible disadvantages of GIF animation and the difficulties you may face while using GIFs in email marketing.

Some customers dislike GIFs GIFs rub some people the wrong way, so it is crucial to consider your customer demographics before using GIFs in email marketing. For instance, elderly customers may not understand GIFs reflecting on modern trends or using new lingo. Likewise, no one likes getting the same GIF twice.
GIFs may be inconvenient Email GIFs are sometimes heavy, which may make it difficult for users to open your mail on mobile. Besides, some older email clients may not support GIFs at all, displaying an error message.
GIFs may be uncomfortable to watch Flashy visual components in email GIFs can cause physical discomfort to some people. You should be aware that customers with epilepsy or vision issues may find such messages harmful.


To avoid these pitfalls of using GIFs in email marketing, analyze your target audience. Segment your subscribers’ lists to understand their age, interests, and other important factors better.

How To Put a GIF in an Email

Embedding email animations should be simple. Most email clients have a similar procedure for adding animated email GIFs, so once you master it, you shouldn’t face any trouble with any other platforms.

The simplest way to add an email is to drag and drop it in the email clients that support the drag-and-drop feature (for example, Gmail). Otherwise, you can simply add a link to the desired GIF.

Popular GIF platforms like GIPHY and Tenor simplified copying a GIF link. You can easily do it using the share options. On web sources like Google Image Search, copy a GIF link by right-clicking the image and choosing “Copy Image Link” from a drop-down menu.

Suppose the link is here. What’s next?

Let’s check how to attach a GIF to an email with the help of a link. 

  • Open your email client page and select Insert Photo/Add Photo button
  • Choose the “Paste URL” option and insert the link
  • Select the .gif extension if it differs, and double-check if the image appears

What If My Email Doesn’t Support GIFs?

If your email client doesn’t support animated GIFs, the re-upload option should help. Here, you must download animations for emails in advance, which most users don’t do regularly.

To add animated GIFs by re-uploading, follow these steps: 

  • Right-click the GIF you want to download and choose “Save Image As”
  • Double-check that the file extension is .gif
  • Start composing a new email and select the Add Image button
  • Upload the animated email GIF you saved

Animated GIFs in Email Marketing: Best Practices

Using GIFs in email marketing is effective, but is it always appropriate? What defines whether your email marketing campaign flops or becomes a success?

Let’s discover how to put a GIF in an email so that you can boost your ROI and improve customer engagement.

  1. Define The Engagement Goal for Each GIF

Here are the possible goals of animated GIFs in email marketing

  • Commercial GIFs to announce a sale
  • Following up GIFs to promote a new feature
  • Email animations that work as mini tutorials
  • Reaching out GIFs that draw attention to the content

Putting a GIF in an email can be a routine practice or a special treat reserved for a specific occasion. As long as you clearly define the role of email marketing GIFs, your marketing campaigns will succeed.

  1. Sync Your CTA and The GIF

The best sales GIFs drive customers to take a further step, so it is crucial to ensure your GIFs nudge customers toward the desired decision.

Here are several ideas for reinforcing a CTA message with a GIF: 

  • Add animated elements that direct users to the CTA button
  • Place a GIF containing a button directing to the landing page
  • Use count-down GIF elements to create a sense of urgency
  1. Make a Custom GIF

Popular GIFs are free, but it is always a good idea to customize email marketing GIFs so they match your brand identity.

There are several ways how to tailor a custom GIF animation:

  • Change the text on a well-known GIF to deliver the desired message
  • Incorporate your brand logo to promote the company
  • Use a GIF animator to create a new marketing animation

Consider what values and ideas your brand promotes. Incorporating humor can work for some businesses, while it may sound over-the-top and unnatural for others. Under any circumstances, though, avoid controversial and potentially offensive GIFs.

Commercial GIFs in Action – Best Examples

Now, let’s review some great examples of deploying GIFs in email marketing campaigns to engage customers and direct them to a conversion.

A Captivating Big Sale Offer From Birchbox

Want to know how to put a GIF into an email and promote products? Ask Birchbox. A beauty supplier incorporated GIFs to promote an upcoming sale. The company delivers beauty supplies in the boxes depicted in the animation.

A Captivating Big Sale Offer From Birchbox

Source: My Emma

A Quick Guide to the Functionality From Photojojo

Photojojo gives us a great example of using GIFs to give customers a brief overview of its product design and functions.

Functionality Guide From Photojojo

Source: Publicate

Harry’s Limited Offer Urgency

Harry’s did a great job creating a sense of urgency by adding a moving clock-ticking element.

It’s a great way to direct customers to a CTA button.

Harry’s Limited Offer Urgency

Source: Platformly

Overall, using GIFs in email marketing campaigns is an easy way to elevate your game. They are free, captivating, and easy to create. You can drag and drop the animation, copy a link, or upload it from your device, all within mere seconds and with tons of benefits down the road.

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About the author


Owned and operated by Phonexa, MailCon is a global community that connects marketing professionals with the latest technology, trends, and strategies in email marketing, marketing automation, mobile and omnichannel marketing. Our fantastic team of content writers contribute to this blog with inspiration from the incredible community of marketers we are privileged to host.


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