Last year I wrote an article that highlighted the use of animated GIFs in email marketing and how they may have started making a comeback. Up until now I have been seeing basic examples of this, mainly from retailers, to give the reader a glimpse of clothing colour options. Here is a good example from Savile Row Company:
So what’s new?
Recently I received an email from Airbnb that completely blew everything else out of the water. This animated GIF has 147 frames and is of extremely good quality. Sure, it took my email client a few seconds longer to pull the data through, but wow did this capture my attention!
So yes indeed, it appears as though animated GIFs have made a comeback and the average consumer’s bandwidth now allows email marketers to make use of them like never before.
How can we do this?
I believe that there is a secondary key factor at play here beside bandwidth improvements – the availability of do-it-yourself GIF animating tools…
Web designers used to have to create image animation with professional tools such as Photoshop, carefully capturing each frame of movement and timing the sequence with perfection. These days, computer users with no design experience whatsoever can simply google “free animated GIF maker” and find online tools that will convert any video format straight to GIF – even directly from YouTube! Here are a couple of examples:
This allows you to hugely compress your “video” and display it natively on the majority of email clients in the likes of email newsletters or even your email signature (if it’s not too large!).
Where to from here?
Well, for one, consumers are becoming used to this type of animation… they can understand it. It is the likes of the entertainment industry that helps push the “easiest” and best ways to use forms of media. Websites like 9GAG are a perfect example here; it wasn’t long ago that every post was a static image, yet now animated GIFs are being posted as if it’s the norm. If it helps make something more entertaining, then consumers will want it, and given the right context that is where businesses should strive to be.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words… how many words is an animated picture worth?