Anything you can say with words you can say with a GIF. And your customers will love you for it.
Innovative and fun email design has always been a customer favourite. From sleek formatting to videos, customers love everything that catches their attention and keeps them entertained as they buy.
And GIFs work like a charm.
In this article, we’ll be looking at 15 examples of awesome GIF animations in email marketing.
Let’s see what we can learn from them!
Why You Need GIF Animations in Your Newsletter
Forget about email for a hot second. Instead, think about Twitter.
How do Twitter users communicate? What can you see in every hashtag, no matter how obscure?
But why are GIF animations so beloved?
There are a few good reasons:
- They’re much shorter than videos
- GIF animations are punchier than images
- The human brain processes visual stimuli faster than written
- They’re fun
The fact that GIF animations are fun makes it really easy for you to catch and hold the attention of your email subscribers. And since they’re also engaging (and can be used for a plethora of purposes), you’ll be able to entice them.
They’ll pay more attention to what you have to say – if you say it with a GIF first.
That’s why the majority of brands use GIFs in their emails these days. So how can you keep up?
It’s time to learn from the pros!
1. Vans Adds Quirkiness with GIF Animations
A brand’s personality matters. It’s the first thing a customer can use to relate to a brand. In fact, 64% of customers state that they buy from and trust a brand because they have similar values.
However, stuffiness is not the way to go.
Instead, look to Vans’ Holiday Gift Guide email:
Right away, you can see a particular style and tone.
Vans is loved for its urban and grungy aesthetic, as that’s exactly the aesthetic their customers want to emulate. Additionally, the illustration is fun, making their subscribers all the more susceptible to their offer.
So by using this GIF animation, they’re staying on par with the brand’s style guide and enticing their customers to buy with an entertaining GIF.
2. Add Dynamic to Your Emails with GIF Animations
Just like a good newsletter template, you can use GIF animations not to steal the show, but to complement it.
Instead of letting their customers struggle with thinking about what to give their business partners this year, Greetabl uses GIF animations to depict the variety of their products.
While this is a very simple example, it shows how much easier it is to communicate your offer to your subscribers with visual materials.
You may also notice that Greetabl uses GIF animations to cross-sell. They are showing their subscribers a combination of products that work well together.
It’d be boring to read about all the options in a text-based newsletter. No one would bother reading further than the second sentence.
However, when you can clearly see the possibilities in front of you, the product suddenly becomes much more enticing.
3. If It’s a Gift, Show It with a GIF
There’s nothing like a little customer appreciation to make your customers keep buying from you. Especially when you consider that 40% of a store’s revenue comes from repeat customers.
However, it’s not enough to just give them a discount and call it a day. That won’t create loyalty.
But making them feel like you’re giving them a physical, tangible gift just might.
What’s even better is that 1973 isn’t even giving their customers a discount with this newsletter.
All they’re doing is sending a nice holiday animation. It takes their customers right back to childhood, and creates positive brand sentiment.
This, in turn, stimulates loyalty.
Additionally, there’s an aspect of gamification to this email. Subscribers can play with the email, toggling lights and snow.
4. Reinforce Urgency with GIF Animations in Email Marketing
You can tell your customers that you’re giving them a time-limited offer, but what will drive the point home?
If you really want to convey the urgency of your offer, don’t just tell them that they don’t have a lot of time.
Show it, just like Harry’s does with this email.
They use a cinemagraph-style GIF animation (only one aspect of the GIF is moving) to entrance and entice their subscribers.
You can bet plenty of people clicked that CTA button!
5. Make Your Products Fun
If you want to make your products fun, a GIF animation is a good way to do it. This is especially true for products that are practical, and about as exciting as getting socks for Christmas when you’re nine.
In this example, Photojojo advertises their complementary products (focus shifters and ring lights) with a GIF animation.
Notice how they didn’t even need fancy illustrations.
They simply used a few product photos and combined them to create a dynamic GIF.
Additionally, GIF animations are an invitation to have fun – which is exactly why they humanize the brand.
Don’t be afraid to be a little quirky or cheesy like Photojojo with their hat.
6. Give Your Subscribers a Taste with GIF Animation
Another way you can use GIFs is to give your subscribers a taste of your product. This is especially true for books.
A simple teaser GIF like Brit + Co’s goes a long way towards showing what your product is really like. And if subscribers haven’t been sold up to that point, they’ll be able to see samples and decide whether or not they want to buy it.
It’s much better than sending them a summary and leaving them to wonder whether it was accurate in the first place.
Bonus points if you choose particularly interesting parts to give your subscribers a peek at.
7. Add Drama
When you’re promoting a particularly good offer or have a newsworthy announcement, don’t just spell it out.
GIF it out instead.
Carhartt uses this GIF to stir drama into their regular newsletter, and announce their Black Friday specials to their subscribers.
Yes, they could’ve written that email, but where would be the excitement in that?
When they show it with a GIF, the subscribers’ perception of offer value increases.
Additionally, notice how they don’t elaborate on their offer.
The lack of information paired with the dramatic GIF makes every subscriber want to click on the “Shop now” button.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.
8. Demonstrate Your Brand Persona with GIF Animations
When you have a particularly stylish product, or a product that speaks to customers who embody a certain aesthetic, you need to be highly visual.
Yes, good copy can take you far. But good photos turned into a GIF animation can take you even farther.
For example, this Hawthorne newsletter was crafted with the customer and brand persona in mind.
The photos have been carefully stylized to show the type of person this collection was made for.
The copy only serves to drive the point home and speak directly to everyone who can relate to the brand persona.
9. Cool Features? Show It with a GIF
While cool products, or products with cool features may seem highly promotable, we both know that’s not necessarily the case.
For example, how do you show the complete awesomeness of glow-in-the-dark apparel?
An image won’t wow your subscribers.
But a GIF animation just might.
In this example, MeUndies uses GIF animations to show the cool features of their Star Wars underwear.
Notice how seamless the transition is, and how it conveys both the aesthetic and the apparel features. It speaks to Star Wars nerds in all of us.
And it’s all because of a GIF.
10. Use GIFs to Show Product Experience
Ultimately, people buy because of two things: to move away from pain, or to bring themselves closer to pleasure. Sometimes, it’s both.
It’s exactly why we use before/after photos to promote our products, or craft our copy to tell our subscribers what they’ll become if they use our products.
And just like with everything else, if you can explain it with words, it’s better put with a GIF animation.
In this example, Headspace uses an illustration of a chaotic space and a character –Headspace user – sitting calmly in the midst of it all.
The message is as clear as day: use Headspace and you’ll find zen, even if everyone’s screaming around you.
And there’s no better way to show your product experience than with a GIF.
11. Make Them Feel Like They Already Love Your Product
Even though we may explain why we bought a certain product rationally, we mainly buy because of the emotions we associate with that product.
For example, why do you turn to that one particular brand of ice cream in a supermarket? It’s not as good as other alternatives.
If someone asks, you’ll say you do it because it’s the best and it’s cheaper. However, you buy it because you ate it as a kid and you can remember the carefree summers.
95% of purchases are driven by emotion, and GIF animations have a penchant for evoking it with ease.
Just consider this American Eagle Outfitters GIF.
When subscribers look at it, they feel like they’ve already bought and loved the products.
Heck, they’ve even packed them already!
So use a GIF to show your customers how much they already love your products.
12. Use GIF Animations to Complement Information
You don’t always have to do something spectacular with your GIF animations. Sometimes, it’s enough to spice up a valuable email.
Yes, GasBuddy could’ve just listed all the information in writing, but it wouldn’t be fun.
This way, a subscriber is segued into a valuable information with a dash of fun. Courtesy of the driving GIF.
It’s the simple things that make people stick around.
13. Simplify User Onboarding with GIF Animations
We’re becoming more and more aware of how important user onboarding is.
In fact, if you don’t onboard your users properly, you can say goodbye to high retention rates.
However, if you simplify and sweeten up user onboarding, users will be more likely to stay loyal to your product.
Consider what Tinder is doing.
They’re using GIF animations to onboard new users and demonstrate how to properly use their app.
Take a note of how dynamic the GIFs are; everything is given a new air of “do it fast!” so users don’t linger on unnecessary steps.
They make it simple, and they use GIFs to gamify the process.
All the users have to do is perform a few actions and success! They’ll be well on their way to finding the loves of their lives.
14. Good Food Is Better with Good GIFs
While the majority of industries can use GIFs to improve their email marketing game, the food industry does it best.
Blue Apron uses a mouth-watering GIF to convey the deliciousness of their food.
You can feel it on the table in front of you.
And therein lies the charm of GIFs. Videos are too realistic, text is too dry, but GIFs make every subscriber fantasize.
Regardless of whether it’s about a juicy hamburger, or a product that’ll make them a better photographer.
15. Respond to Seasonality with GIF Animations
When a holiday or a gift-giving season is approaching, it’s time to promote what you’ve got with a GIF.
For example, Banana Republic uses Valentine’s Day to send out their newsletter with a few ideas for great gifts subscribers’ SOs will love.
They showed off their products while keeping it fun at the same time.
And to be completely honest, that’s what GIF animations in email marketing are all about.