There are many channels suitable for content distribution in a marketing campaign, each of them presenting their own benefits. As a marketer, you can write a blog, set up a banner advertising campaign, create and publish brochures, or send newsletters via email.
In fact, the email is the oldest and still, one of the most effective channels for content distribution and this article will focus on it, more precisely, on answering a specific question marketers deal with when working on email marketing: „how to add a GIF to an email?”
There are three main ways in which you can market your business via email:
– Create and send Newsletters
– B2B communication
– B2C communication
These options are interconnected and on most of the times, they are being used simultaneously. Each of them may benefit from GIF email marketing and I will try to explain why.
What is a GIF?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It was developed 30 years ago by CompuServe. Due to its wide portability and support, it became shortly a widespread format for sharing images and short video clips. It’s still in use today and quite popular, due to the fact that they increase the overall CTR of a marketing or advertising campaign.
The GIF format supports up to 8 bits per pixel and images of up to 256 colors. These are features that make these files extremely portable. Considering that they can also be animated, it’s quite obvious why marketers are still using them when videos are not available or in case they are not appropriate/available for specific channels.
Tip: You can animate GIFS by using a set of images or, you can convert videos into animated GIFs that create the illusion of motion. If you want a portable file smaller in size than the initial video, cut out some of the frames. The eye will not see the difference between 30 frames per second videos and 7 frames per second GIFs.
Can you email a GIF?
Yes, of course, you can. There are a few exceptions, however, starting with some very old email clients nobody ever uses anymore and Microsoft’s versions of Outlook launched between 2007 and 2013. Apart from these, all major clients are able to decode GIF images.
It doesn’t matter if you are using a mobile, a desktop or a web email client. They should all work, except for the aforementioned examples. Therefore, if you want to embed a GIF into an email, you shouldn’t have issues in doing so.
Now that we’ve cleared the “if” problem, before answering the “how” question, let’s take a quick look at the “why” and learn about the benefits of animated GIFs in newsletters and emails.
The benefits of an animated email element
Email marketers have always tried to improve the look and feel of their newsletters. They do it mostly through several types of valuable content, starting with the copy text and up to the creative visuals, they embed in their emails, including animated banners.
- Embed GIF in email newsletters
The benefits of using animated GIFs inside business emails are easy to grasp. First, there is the visual benefit of adding animation to your newsletter. Video content ranks high on top of Internet users’ preferences. Although GIFs are not videos per se, they are still animated. They create the illusion of motion and as a consequence, to most of us, they look and mean the same thing.
Here’s a good example from Bonobos. This animated GIF newsletter presents to the audience their tear-away trousers. The movement was a good choice in this case since it displays how the trousers are different from other similar items, thus introducing the customers to this line of products. In conclusion, you can add a GIF in an email newsletter and stand out from the crowd at the same time through creativity and inspiration.
Another similar example comes from West Elm, an online store specialized in furniture and home decorations. The following newsletter aimed at introducing the audience to their significant price drops on modern lamps. Unlike the previous example, this animated GIF in email is not about movement. It depicts the lamps consequently on and off, showing exactly what they’re good
2. Embed a GIF into an email’s signature section
There are some marketing and professional benefits even from using your GIF banner as an email signature. There are many companies with corporate email addresses that are already using their logo in this section. They do it for all their accounts and it helps to build trust and consistency.
There’s a good chance you are already using a business email and that apart from your name and some contact information, you are using the company’s logo as a signature in the footer of each of the emails you send. That logo can be replaced by animated banners that will allow you to highlight your ongoing campaigns.
Therefore, you get to do some email marketing even when you are not delivering newsletters. It’s a B2B campaign when you communicate with representatives of other businesses and companies and a B2C campaign when you communicate with clients, respond to their requests or questions etc.
What’s the ideal size for an email GIF signature?
Well, considering that it stays in the footer section and therefore, it is not the main focus of your emails, the banner should obviously fit that area. I suggest a classic 468×60 GIF banner or a small squared banner no larger than 200×200 pixels. The first option, however, will look better in your email footer, on any device or email client.
The following image will serve as an example of an animated banner suitable for your email footer section.
How to put an animated GIF in email?
Have you ever wondered about how to embed GIF in email? Well, let’s try to answer your question as simple as possible:
Let’s start by saying that a GIF is just another image format. There is no difference in the way you embed GIFs into Html code than when you do it with jpeg or png file types. Therefore, if you don’t already work with a newsletter app with a graphical user interface or, just in case you want to verify or write the code by yourself, it should look something like that:
<img src=”http://yourwebsite.com/images_directory/marketing.GIF” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”The name of my campaign” border=”0″>
Let’s explain the script step by step.
Obviously, the link to your animated GIF is the most important part. It should contain the exact path to the banner, including the directory it is located on your web server and of course, its correct file name.
The „width” and „height” numbers should be replaced with the exact sizes of your GIF banner. For instance, if you choose to display a 468×60 banner, that part of code should look exactly like this: <… width=”468” height=”60” …>
How to embed a GIF in outlook email
As I have already said, there could be some issues regarding Outlook email.
If you want to insert a GIF into outlook email, make sure you have the latest version of the client or, a version older than 2007.
If you are sending a newsletter with an embedded GIF file, all the addresses that use Outlook mail clients will be able to see it, except those who use incompatible clients. In such cases, they will see only the first frame of your animated GIF. Take this information into account and make sure that this first frame contains the main information you want to share with your audience or the people you communicate with.
If you want to embed GIF in Outlook as an email signature, you can do it by accessing the Tools menu and then clicking on “Options”. A new window will appear. Here, select the “Mail Format” tab and click on “Signatures”.
Then, in the next panel, you will need to create your first signature, enter your contact details and of course, upload your GIF.
If your Outlook email client is newer than the one presented in the above example, and do not have the traditional menu with “File”, ”Tools” ”Options” buttons, the main menu will look like the following screenshot:
From here, select the “Signature” option and proceed further. The next steps are identical to those already described.
Can you embed a GIF into an email account signature if you are using the Windows 10 mail client? Well, unfortunately, not. There are the signature options if you go to “settings” but you are allowed to add only a short line of text.
How to embed a GIF in Gmail
Again, if you are wondering about how to email a GIF to your Gmail audience, you already have the answer and an example of the Html code you need to insert in your email newsletters.
On the other hand, if you want to also add a GIF to email signature when using Gmail as the main email client, follow the steps described in the following paragraph:
Log in to your Gmail account. From the main window, select the drop-down menu available on the top right corner of the screen and select “Settings”.
Scroll down until you get to the “Signature” option. Check the bullet that enables this option and then update it with your credentials and your animated gif. You get a basic editor similar to any other web-based word editor that allows you to change fonts, sizes, upload images and insert links.
Why is important to embed GIF animations in your email marketing campaigns and email accounts signatures?
According to Campaign Monitor, email clients have poor video support and many of them are incapable of displaying video content. The same source reports a study performed by Style Campaign, an email marketing agency from Los Angeles. They set up two different newsletters, one with a static image and one with an animated gif. According to the results, the animated emails generated a click-through rate of 26% higher than the static newsletters.
As a consequence, although for many Internet users it may seem quite unlikely, the truth is, there may be instances when animated gifs to be considered as the most viable option for a marketing campaign.
How to create animated GIFs?
There are several tools available for gif creation and/or conversion. Some of them are desktop apps while some are available as web apps.
Bannersnack is the best web-based tool for designing banners in all kinds of formats. Yes, you can create GIF banners with Bannersnack and also get some inspiration from their huge gallery of templates and examples. The UI is easy to understand, the creation process goes smooth and the results are professional looking without any doubt. As a marketer, this is the first tool I’d recommend to my fellow colleagues.
Wondershare Filmora is one of the best applications I got to try and use and I am still doing it today. It features a user-friendly interface and supports several types of creative tasks. It allows you to create GIFs from static images, to convert them from AVI, MPEG and MP4 files, edit your animations, ad effects, texts, and subtitles.
Picasion is a web-based app for creating animated GIF banners. The tool is very basic but still, it’s worth it when all you need is to mix a couple of images and turn them into an animated banner. There are three options available for upload: you can either load locally stored files, images from the web or use your webcam to shot some pictures. Also, the app allows direct upload from Flickr and its own gallery as well.
A few decades ago, online marketing was mostly based on newsletters and animated gif banners. As we’ve learned from this article, this option remains a viable one in today’s environment and may still be in the future. People still use emails to communicate, to get informed, to market their products or services. They may be sharing their thoughts and photos on social media but when it comes to doing business, the email is one of the most popular and effective channels of communication.
This article tried to answer some particular questions regarding how to put a GIF in an email and how to attach a GIF to an email account’s signature. I hope that all this information was helpful and I invite you to share your personal experiences in the following comments section.
Did you consider including animations in your newsletter campaign and email account signatures?