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Animated gifs in email

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday January 7, 2009 )

Email can be pretty dull at times as it lacks some of the vibrancy that’s possible on web pages through the use of animation and video – but animated gifs can be used in emails effectively… sometimes.

I’ve just finished reading a couple of reports where online retailers have significantly improved clickthrough rates using animated gifs. There’s a few important things to bear in mind when using images in this way though:

a) Images in email can be touch and go given that default settings in many recipients’ accounts are set to block images.

b) An animated gif can be a good deal heavier in terms of kilobytes. If the animation is towards the top of the newsletter, it may not load in time for the recipient to see it.

Also, if you embed a hefty animated gif in an email rather than storing it on your server and calling it from there; you’ll likely have subscribers on slower connections cursing you. There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a hurry to pick up your email and having a 500kb marketing blurb clogging up the works. Those sorts of situations do not bode well for conversions :). Most good graphics software includes gif animation optimization features to help reduce file size.

c) A biggie – Outlook 2007’s now renders HMTL using Word’s engine, rather than IE, so animated GIFs do not display properly. The first frame of the animation is all that will appear to Outlook 2007 users, so it’s important to get the key message on that first frame.

Pick up some more tips for using images in email marketing


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