Increasing your ROI with Email Marketing: Are Animated Gifs Passé?

By Billy McNair in Direct Marketing on September 16th, 2013

In email marketing, timing and content are everything. In a world where marketing emails all begin to look alike, how can we best capture and hold on to our subscribers' attention?

Animated Email

In a previous blog post, Cultivating Email Marketing Relevancy, we talked about the importance of relevance in email marketing and how relevance can drive better subscriber interaction and help increase ROI. We know that relevance is first and foremost King when it comes to email marketing. But what other secondary tools do we have as marketers at our disposal to help us capture our subscriber’s attention in the brief 10 to 15 seconds we have as they scan our emails? We won’t talk about subject lines or preheaders in this blog as this subject is a whole blog post or two in itself. So for time’s sake,  lets assume we have captured our subscribers attention with our great subject lines and preheaders that were uniquely created for the target segment we deployed to. Did you know a subscriber that opens an email will scan an average of 50 words? How then can we grab hold of their attention and capture their imagination so that we can deliver our message clearly? Emoji symbols have been popular over the last year in email subject lines, but before Emoji symbols animated GIFs within emails were the marketing flavor de jour. Animated GIFs may not be all the rage in email marketing today but they can still play a part of your overall email content strategy when you are trying to convey a unique message in the 10 to 15 seconds you have to engage your subscribers. When using animated GIFs always remember that some email clients, such as Outlook 2007, by default will only display the first frame of the GIF. It’s always a good idea to develop the animated GIF with this in mind. Hopefully Outlook 2007 will continue to be a dwindling percentage of your email views. Also keep the total file size of the animated GIF in mind; Some email service providers, like Exact Target, have a limit to the total file size of an animated GIF that you can upload, set to 200K. Potential uses of animated GIFs in email marketing include:
  • Highlighting unique offers, such as a free shipping
  • Travel related emails showcasing multiple properties or destinations
  • Real estate emails showing multiple rooms within a property  
  • Frame shots depicting multiple scenes to create the illusion of a video
  • Product shots showing multiple available colors/options
  There are other potential uses for animated GIFs as well, but remember as with any good tool we have it's best not to overuse in frequency or overdo within the email campaign. Remember in design sometimes less is more! As with any suggestion, it’s always good for you to do your own A/B testing as well. Look at your upcoming campaigns and see where you could fit in some A/B testing using animated GIFs. Conduct the test multiple times and look at your own data. This should provide you with enough compelling reasons to occasionally interject animated GIFs when the subject matter is right. Interested in speaking to the BKV Email Marketing experts? Contact us today!