Ok, ok… our team might have a bit of a GIF problem.
Between the sheer amount we share on Slack to the gems we find every day on the internet, you’d think we’d have our fill at this point. But when a brand combines our passion for GIFs with our number one love, email? Well, it’s a pretty irresistible combination.
Here’s a look at some of the absolute best uses of animated GIFs we’ve seen in email campaigns the past few months. Take a look, and hey – if they inspire you to include a well-placed GIF in your next send, all the better!
Sure, GIFs can work as a flashy design element, and there’s nothing wrong with a GIF used simply because it adds a little flair to your campaign. But we especially love when they’re used for a functional purpose: In this case, to prove the value of a service.
Headspace is a meditation program that helps you relax and focus, so this GIF does a wonderful job showcasing why you probably should be using it. Watch it cycle through a few times to see what they mean.
We often see GIFs in the headers of emails, but it’s rare to see them in the footer, like in this email. It’s a nice surprise-and-delight moment to discover the soothing animation when you scroll down, and in case you're wondering, the number directs you to a phone system that allows you to select from a few soothing sleep sounds. Well played, Casper.
Even without the GIF, this email would have been a solid, focused effort from the folks at Carvana. But the GIF adds interest to the design and completes the thought: Not only can you get a new car with your tax refund, but with Carvana, you’re able to choose from any number of styles and colors with the click of a button.
J. Crew nails their email design time and time again, but this recent campaign managed to stand out even among their regularly top-notch work. We loved the throwback to the oh-too-cool lava lamp and entrancing animation.
Catbird is a Brooklyn-based jewelry company that does a fantastic job using animation to add a little something special to their already engaging campaigns. The popping champagne bottle adds just enough to draw the eye without distracting from the central message of the email.
Here’s another use of animated GIFs to do something functional: By adding animated text to their CTA button, charity: water helps you step into the shoes of multiple people in rural Ethiopia and showcase the struggles of those living without access to clean water. It’s the first time we’ve seen something like this, and it proves that every element of your email can work together to tell a compelling story.
One trend we’re especially loving in email design right now? GIFs as video thumbnails. It gives you a sneak peek into the video and helps you avoid the issues that come with directly embedding one into the campaign itself.
Seen any awesome GIFs in an email recently? We’re always hungry for examples, so feel free to share away in the comments section!
About the Author
McKenzie Gregory is the content marketing manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.
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