It Doesn’t Have To Be A Movie, To Move

By Cliff Guy

Brilliant news on Tink Taylor’s blog this week about Goodmail launching an inbox-safe video in email service. I’ll certainly be testing and taking advantage of all the possibilities video will offer.

In the meantime though we do still have an under-used option that can have real impact in email marketing campaigns – the trusted Animated GIF.

Because animated GIFs are not used heavily by email marketers, they are still an attention grabbing novelty for recipients. And providing they are used well, they work – helping to increase click through and conversion rates significantly.

In my experience, animated GIFs are most effectively used when they are drawing attention to a call to action, or a headline message such as a special offer. They can also be used very effectively to demonstrate product variations and colours, and even show how a product works.

Cascading bullets or arrows can work brilliantly to draw the reader’s eye down to key content below the fold in your email. The trick is not to use them ‘gratuitously’ – make sure an animation is there for a purpose and serves an objective.

There are some do’s and don’ts to follow when using animated GIFs in emails.

Keep the file weight down. You should keep your whole email size below 40K, so you may need to optimise your GIF down to keep it light.

Make your GIF easy on the eye. Limit the number of loops and don’t over use animations and turn your email into Piccadilly Circus. Less is more.

Lastly, if you are going to use a GIF animation in your email, make sure that you include the key message and/or the call to action in the initial frame. Outlook 07 doesn’t render animations so the first frame will appear as a still image to many of your contacts.