Why You Need GIFs in Emails

No Image
July 15 2019

The email game is ever-changing, and the practice of sending plain old black-and-white emails synonymous with B2B email campaigns has nearly met its maker. In its place are emails designed to be interacted with, through links, images, and videos. One such video format that is becoming increasingly popular is the GIF.

Once believed to be a rather goofy and unprofessional, the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is becoming ever more prevalent in B2B emails for a variety of reasons, such as grabbing the reader’s attention and helping to display important concepts in a quick, efficient manner.

What is a GIF?

A GIF is an image file, just like a JPG or PNG files, except that this one can contain animation whereas the others are static images. Since they contain animations, they are also commonly referred to as animated GIFs.

These short animations differ from video files because GIFs are simply a short sequence of images that are referred to as “Intra” frames, and each of these frames is coded on its own. A video, however, is made up of both inter- and intra-coded frames.

Why are GIFs useful in email?

GIFs help to bring email campaigns into the new digital era by making them more interactive for viewers, without having to slow email load times down. As stated before, these can be used for simply catching the readers attention to sharing valuable information in short order, which, of course, is always good in today’s fast-paced society.

The popular GIF website, GIPHY has reported that despite the short length of each GIF, people who visit their website view nearly 2 million hours of GIFs daily. It means that strategically adding these image files to your email campaigns could help keep your subscribers reading your email longer, and even entice them to take an action that leads them to your site.

Where can I find GIFs?

Email marketers don’t have to go very far in search of GIFs, considering they are easily searchable on various platforms. It is also worth making a note that there are plenty of programs available to those who have the time and patience to create their own. However, let’s stick to where we can find pre-made GIFs for the sake of simplicity.

Dedicated websites

As mentioned earlier, there are dedicated websites where marketers can find pre-made GIFs. On these sites, users simply have to type in some keywords and hit search, or they can search by category, depending on the site. Some popular GIF dedicated websites include:

  • What Should We Call Me
  • Reddit
  • Reaction GIFs
  • Awesome GIFs

Social media

More and more social media sites, such as Facebook, are now making it easier for users to make use of GIFs in their social media posts. However, searching for GIFs to use in your emails is also an option. Users post GIFs regularly, so simply browsing through your newsfeeds could supply you with plenty of options.

Source: Facebook

Search engines

Another easy option for GIFs is to simply head to your favorite search engine, type in a few keywords, and select the GIF option under image results. For example, we headed to Google, selected the image search option, typed in “writing GIFs” and found this lovely gem!

Source: Google Search Result

3 Real-World Examples of GIF in B2B Email Campaigns

While GIFs used to be considered rather goofy, more B2B companies are starting to integrate them into various email campaigns of their own. Gone are the days of stuffy old email campaigns, and check out how these B2B companies decided to make GIFs a part of their email journey.


In the following example by Litmus excellent on many levels, but primarily for its use of a GIF to simplify the process of one of their features.

The Litmus Scope is a product that allows users to design a web-based version of their emails while allowing for desktop and/or mobile previews. While the concept sounds great, it can be rather difficult to explain in an email, which will probably only be scanned rather quickly by the reader.

Their GIF makes use of a single sliding motion to show readers just how easy Litmus Scope can be for them.

Source: Emma

Timeline by Anima

Anima, a company known for providing brands with fun animation for their websites, got creative with the use of GIFs for the launch of their app, Timelines. The app makes it simple for users to create custom timeline animations, and Anima decided to show this feature in action with a GIF of a changing scene that goes from day to night.

Source: Really Good Emails


Trello is a worldwide known company that is all about bringing people together. Once they hit the 10,000,000 users mark, they sent out the following email in celebration. They make use of a GIF background at the beginning of the email to show a sprinkling of confetti in celebration of the mighty milestone.

Source: Emma

A step-by-step guide on how to insert an animated GIF into an email

Now that we’ve covered the basics, and you see that B2B companies can make quality use of GIFs just like anybody else, the next question to address is how to make them work in an email.

First things first, its worth mentioning that not all email clients support GIFs at this time, so you’ll want to make sure you are making good use of ALT text so that your readers aren’t simply looking at a blank box with a broken image in it.

The following list shows which email clients currently support GIFs, while those listed with “Info” designate web clients that currently do not support GIFs.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Now that we know which web clients support the use of GIFs and which don’t let’s go through the step-by-step process of using them in your email.

Step 1: Find your GIF and copy the URL link

After spending some time finding your ideal GIF, you’ll want to make sure you copy the GIFs URL link. In most cases, you can’t simply right-click and save the GIF because it will only save the first frame of the GIF.

Depending on where you found the GIF, you’ll either want to right-click and choose the option to “copy image address,” or simply follow the saving prompt given to you by the GIF website.

Step 2: Open your email account and draft a new message

Next, you’ll want to maneuver to your email client and begin drafting a new message.

Step 3: Click “Insert Photo”

Once you’ve begun drafting your message and you’ll want to look for the icon that looks like a square with mountains inside of it. By clicking on that button, you’ll be taken to the “insert photo” option, and from there you’ll be asked to choose your location of the image you want to insert. From there, you’ll want to select “web address.”

Step 4: Past the image URL

At this point, you’ll want to go ahead, located that image address that you saved earlier, and enter it into the empty bar that reads “Past an image URL here.” This can be done by simply right-clicking the empty bar and then clicking on “paste.”

Step 5. Choose “Insert”

Once you’ve entered the web address for your GIF, you’ll simply have to hit the “Insert,” option, and your GIF should show up, fully animated.

Your guide to inserting GIFs into Delivra’s Drag-and-Drop Editor

For those using Delivra’s email campaign Drag-and-drop editor, the process is simple! Just follow the same steps to enter your GIF as you would for a normal image, which we’ve outlined for you below.

Start by dragging a new layout section from the design panel on the right, to the file template on the left. This will add the new content section to your design. You’ll then want to drag the Image type icon over to the left and drop it in new section tile that you just inserted.

Source: Delivra

Next, you’ll want to set up your cell padding and any other cell styles that may apply to your email setup. Now that you have set up your image section, you’ll go ahead and click the “update image” icon and from the drop-down menu, choose “Change image.” This will allow you to select an existing image or GIF from the library or allow you to upload a new one. This is where you’ll add the GIFs URL link in the web address section.

Once you’ve entered the GIF into your image section, you’ll be able to edit it further to fine-tune it as you see fit.

Source: Delivra

Wrap up

Making use of email GIFs isn’t for just some added fun and laughs anymore. B2B companies are now using them to further engage with their subscribers, so knowing how to use them in an email is vital. Remembering these simple steps should get the job done:

  • Copy the GIF’s image address
  • Paste the image address into the “image URL” section of the email
  • Customize your GIF by changing its size

Remember, not all email clients are equal, so some may not allow for the use of GIFs, and that means some of your subscribers may not be able to see them once they receive your email, so make sure you are using appropriate ALT text in its place, so users will still know what the image was supposed to represent.

Ready to up your email game a little more? Try adding Emoji into the mix! Check out our blog on how to send an email with an emoji that will show up on every device so that all your subscribers can enjoy them!