Animated GIFs in Email Marketing - Novelty or Utility?
Amazon uses Animated GIFs in their email marketing
Last night I received an email from Amazon that I viewed on my smartphone showcasing their upcoming Black Friday deals. It looked fairly standard in presentation, with a television, a computer and a tablet showcased in the email. Being in marketing, we see hundreds of presentations, blog posts and emails that have similar pictures. We are in a multi-device world, blah blah. But what made Amazon's email different was that the image on all 3 of the screens displayed in their email were animated GIFs!
These images rendered beautifully on my phone, with the animations seamlessly working with little noticeable effect on download time. When I got home, I noticed the same thing in my Mac mail client. Beautiful animation. Even though the email is simply an enticement for me to go to Amazon's website and purchase, I have kept it in my inbox so that I can constantly refer back to it as a good example of inviting emails. That is something that almost never happens for email marketing campaigns.
Are Animated GIFs the future of Email Marketing?
This remains to be seen. While both animated GIFs and Email Marketing are more than 15 years old, I rarely recall seeing them working in harmony in email marketing campaigns. I am guessing this is for a few reasons:
- Not all email clients can render animated GIFs - it may even be that the majority of email clients do not render them properly (we're talking about you, Outlook)
- It takes much more time to create them - While many marketers work off an editorial calendar, rarely do you have the time needed to plan out, animate and code an individual emails
- Creative, strategy and delivery teams are not coordinated - Creative may be in a different department (or different agency) than strategy and delivery, and they may not talk to each other during the email creation process
- Fear of Change - Maybe companies are just afraid to implement something so radical?
Because the cycle of planning and sending emails is often date driven and under the gun to get out on time, it becomes very difficult to add extra frills to the campaign. Animated GIFs add extra time that many people simply do not have available. Amazon is able to do this because they likely have a tightly integrated team who is able to plan out these executions. As is the case with most E-commerce innovation, Amazon is clearly a leader in email marketing for e-commerce as well.
How do I get Animated GIFS in my Email Marketing?
Try starting with a full service agency that has creative, strategy and delivery services under one roof. Three Deep has developed all of these core competencies into our email marketing team, our teams sit right next to each other, and we would love the opportunity to take on your groundbreaking and challenging email marketing campaigns!