…And since then, there has been no looking back. GIFs in email have only got better. There was a time when Outlook did not support GIFs in email. However, now, GIFs are compatible with all email clients barring the previous versions of Outlook. This has encouraged more and more email marketers to use GIFs in their emails without worrying about the rendering issues.

Owing to this, it has become important to put the thinking cap on and think of innovative ideas so that your emails do not succumb to email fatigue.

gifs in emails

How to get Creative with GIFs in Emails?

Animations are no longer used just for the hero images. Whether it is the steps to describe a process to the subscriber or the email footer, GIFs have made a place in every section of the email.

Here are 10 ideas that will enhance the usage of GIFs in your emails and make your marketing strategy much more powerful.

Clever Branding

When used in the right manner, GIFs can add a personality to a mundane promotional email and enhance the brand style.

You can animate the brand logo and give a hip look to the email, thereby drawing the subscriber’s attention.

gifs in emails

Animated Typography

Using animated text over static images is a nice idea to draw subscribers’ attention to an important message. You can also employ this technique to arouse curiosity in their minds.

Look at the email example by Typo below:

gifs in emails

The fancy cursive typography gives a classy look to the emails and prompts the subscriber to take the next action.

Illustrative GIFs

Illustrative GIFs can be used to emphasize the message you wish to convey through the email as shown in the email by Headspace.

Illustrative Gifs

You can even use it to describe the usage of a product or service like UncommonGoods does.

Creative Scroll

In 2015, J.Crew incorporated the idea of creative scroll in the email with the help of a static image of ice cream scoops.  

Creative Scroll

Imagine how exciting it would be to do something similar with the help of an animation!

Here’s how Carnival Cruise Line achieved it with the help of a GIF. The scroll is definitely worth it when you reach at the end of the email.


This will not only ensure that the reader scrolls through the entire email, but also increases the likelihood of conversions.

Pulsatory Movement

Want an important phrase in your email to get noticed? Try presenting it with a pulsatory movement that will certainly grab the reader’s attention. It could be a CTA or discount coupon code of the email, which would enhance the likelihood of conversion and communicate the purpose of the email in a better way.

Hollister has given a pulsatory movement to the phrase “Last Day” that is displayed as a button.


Moving Background

Adding some movement behind the content can make the email more visually appealing and engage the subscribers better.

Have a look at the example by GasBuddy below.

Moving Background

Just make sure that you use background image fixes to ensure proper rendering on every email client.

Interesting Footer

Your email footer should be as interesting as the header and body section, and what can be better than a GIF to do so!

See the GIF used in the footer of UncommonGoods email. It clearly represents free unlimited shipping and prompts the reader to sign up for “Unlimited Perks”.

Innovative occasion-based GIFs

Occasion-based emails become all the more effective when paired with an interesting GIF. For example: You can send a nice birthday email with a GIF to boost the click-through rate and conversions.

Dorothy Perkins sets the perfect example of a birthday email.


You can employ the same strategy for Holiday emails and make the most of the lucrative Holiday season.

Get inspired by the Christmas email by Boden featuring two reindeer in love and promoting 50% off sale.



Whether you are an email marketer in the travel or food industry, cinemagraphs can add a touch of uniqueness to your email. Netflix had done an awesome job at using a cinemagraph featuring Kevin Spacey to promote their original series “House of Cards” in 2014.  

Later, it has been used by quite a few brands like Hawaiian Airlines, Saks Fifth Avenue, and The Home Shop Depot.

  1. APNG: A step further from GIF

APNG (Animated Portable Network Graphics) is an extension to the PNG format. It is similar to GIF as both are lossless formats. The only difference is that APNG supports 24-bit images and 8-bit transparency that is not available with GIFs.

GIFs have a lower resolution when compared to APNG images. Although APNG animations can get a bit heavier in size, they have impeccable resolution and visual appeal.

Take a look at the example below. Notice the borders of both the images.

APNG has a well-defined border while GIF doesn’t. These animations speak volumes of the differences they have.

Although it can be a bit time-consuming to create an APNG file, it is totally worth the effort and sweat.

A Step Further from Gifs

How to Add GIFs to an Email?

  • Post the GIF to the server with all the images and copy the URL.
  • Insert the source code of HTML by using the “img src” HTML code as shown below:

<img src=”/ wp-content/uploads/inboxarmy.gif”>

  • Check the email to ensure that the GIF is working properly

Compatibility With Email Clients

Animated GIFs work well with all the below enlisted email clients.

Desktop Clients

  • Lotus Notes (6, 7, 8.5)
  • Outlook 2000-2003
  • Outlook for Mac
  • Apple Mail
  • Windows 10 Mail

Webmail Clients

  • Gmail
  • G Suite
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • AOL
  • Outlook.com
  • Comcast
  • Orange.fr
  • SFR.fr
  • GMX.de
  • Web.de
  • T-Online.de
  • Freenet.de
  • Mail.ru

Mobile Clients

  • iOS Mail
  • Default – Android
  • Gmail – Android
  • Gmail IMAP – Android
  • Blackberry

Points to Remember While Using GIFs

  • All the major clients except the older versions of Outlook support GIFs in email. However, you should always have a suitable fallback and Alt-text to cater to subscribers with images turned off in the email client. Also, the first frame of your GIF should always make sense and all the important information should be included therein.
  • GIFs can lead to an increase in the overall size of an email and cause a slow-loading email. You should always make sure that the email is under 200kb. If the loading speed is too much, your readers can get frustrated and it might even butt into their data plans.
  • Long GIFs can get boring for the recipient, so you should always make sure that your GIFs are short and to-the point. It should be visually appealing to leave a bigger impact on the subscribers.
  • Obviously, GIFs are trending and all over the Internet these days, but your target audience should be able to resonate with the same idea. If they do not find GIFs exciting enough, you should avoid using it.
  • Refrain from sending a GIF as an attachment as it can trigger the spam filters and land your email into the spam folder.
  • Maintain the text to image ratio at 80:20 to warrant an optimum deliverability rate.
  • Never forget to test your GIF email. Nothing can be worse than a broken email. Ensure that the email renders well across all email clients and devices.
  • It is important to use GIFs judiciously taking into consideration the aspect of accessibility. If your animations flash at the rate of 2 to 55 Hz, it can damage the subscribers with photosensitive epilepsy. Moreover, visually impaired users might find it difficult to read content on a GIF. Hence, your GIF should have a smooth transition or animate from one frame to another at a low rate.
  • Overuse of GIFs may bore your subscribers. Use it in a way that keeps your users engaged and intrigued whenever you use GIFs.  

Wrapping Up

If you are looking forward to enhancing your branding through email marketing, GIFs can help you out.

Never forget to test your GIF email. Click To TweetDo you have any other creative ideas on using GIFs in emails? We would love to hear from you.

Editors Note:

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About Author: Chintan
Chintan is Head of Operations at InboxArmy LLC. He has been into email marketing domain from last 7 years. Chintan is connected to InboxArmy, a professional email marketing agency that specializes in providing advanced email marketing services from email production to deployment. Chintan's success track record covers building email programs at competitive email marketing pricing and using data-driven strategies to turn around underperforming accounts.