Marketing with Animated Gifs - Email Examples
Like video, animated gifs contain a group of still images. The illusion of motion or animation is created when these still images are displayed sequentially. Unlike video, which contains a great number of still images, the animated gif contains only a few in comparison. That's why animated gifs are very short in duration compared to video.
It's this short duration and subsequent small file size, that makes animated gifs perfect for email marketing and I've noticed an increased amount of animated gifs in my mail box. Some of these animated gifs are funny or cute and some are used to market products or sales.
For example, one email in my mail box now is from Art.com. The animation is a series of framed art products with the image of a gift wrapped Christmas present intertwined. It's subtle but also say a lot, such as Christmas is coming soon, so give a gift from Art.com.
A second example in my mailbox is from Zazzle.com. The animation is a cute out-of-this-world alien beaming down to earth with a "Hello Hummmons" message. The animation is part of an email announcement of a one day Midnight Madness sale on the website and contains a promo code for a secret surprise. I've placed a link to the online version of the Zazzle email message at the end of this article but I'm not sure how long the link will be active.
GoDaddy, PXG and Bob Parsons have joined together to honor US veterans with a video Birthday salute to the Marine Corps. GoDaddy's email has an animated gif showing short scenes from the online video salute.
For Thanksgiving, grandinroad.com has a stop-motion animated gif. The animation is of a piece of pumpkin pie disappearing bite-by-bite. After the animation plays, one of grandinroad's holiday dinnerware place settings is revealed.
As GoDaddy's email shows, email marketing isn't the only application for animated gifs. These gifs can say a lot in a very short animation. Imagine how these gifs can reinforce written instructions in an online company manual. Or, a gif could be used to announce new techniques to employees via email.
Support of Gifs
As some email clients do not yet support animated gifs, the viewer will only see the first frame of the animation as a still image. So this image is very important. As most of the important information can also be included as text in the email, you should carefully choose this initial image for the animation. For example, Art.com chose to use an image of framed art as the first image instead of the Christmas present. In this way, the viewer sees an image of a popular product, instead of generic Christmas gift, allowing the rest of the email message to tell the rest of the story.
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