The following is a guest post by Really Good Email’s Matt Helbig.
Over at Really Good Emails we think about GIFs a lot. Outside of browsing the weirdest images for that perfect Slack reply, we look for brands that use GIFs to add value to their email campaigns. We like to like to highlight emails that use animation to attract subscriber attention and support the brand’s main message.
Adding a GIF is one of our top recommendations when people submit emails that are not up to our standards. It’s a fun and easy way to experiment as long as you plan for image fallbacks on clients like Outlook. They can break up content sections, walk new users through an app, show multiple product options, and even be used to visualize data.
While any sender can add a good GIF meme into a message, that can be a bit boring to us (your email isn’t a Buzzfeed list). There are some great brands that are taking extra time to make GIFs that enhance the email design. They are using GIFs in new and interesting ways to captivate their audience. Shoutout to these top 20 brands who are killing the GIF game and keeping us awake at night thinking about how our emails could be better.
There’s so much to love from BBC emails: edge-to-edge blocks of color, experimental layouts, use of live text, etc. The main attraction are the animated GIFs. The below countdown clock and charts really stand out. The animated text makes a standard email really pop.
MOO blends some fantastic GIFs and copy. Love how the images are really integrated into the email design. For the below campaigns it seems like they made them specifically with the email in mind. The clean layout with single CTAs drives the offer home.
Quartz is taking the normal GIPHY GIFs and using them in a whole new way. Using a GIF for an image background header image is super creative. It is specific to the newsletter topic and breaks up the header and body copy.
Want more? Read our Lessons Learned post with Quartz.
Nest is on a whole other GIF level. They constantly surprise us on how they use images and coding techniques. Take the 4th of July email for example. Cool fireworks GIF right? Actually those fireworks and background gradient are CSS animations. Sneaky. The Black Friday email is a GIF, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do something fancy in the future.
Headspace has a wide range of funny GIFs. While these emails are pretty straightforward, the well produced GIFs catch your eye. They do a great job of mixing animated photography and illustrations to add some zen to their subscriber’s inbox.
In addition to personalized data being pulled into their emails, Strava has some crispy GIFs in their campaigns. From welcome emails to fitness reports, they use GIFs in big ways to capture attention and enhance their aesthetic.
Uber tends to use subtle GIFs in their campaigns. The rotating “2017” GIF adds some additional color to the email design. The moving cars match up to the app. In both cases, the GIFs are not the main focus of the campaign and are not intrusive. Since these GIFs are so subtle, Uber doesn’t need to add additional fallback images. Subscribers will still have a good email experience even if they can’t see the fully animated images.
Netflix is a great example of a brand taking an extra step. They create stunning GIFs that you can’t look away from. In both of the examples, they are transforming the entire email design using GIFs. I look forward to opening Netflix emails to see what they will come up with next.
I wasn’t super familiar with Great Simple Studio, but their use of GIFs made me do a double take. They flex their prototype files right in the email. While the templates they use are somewhat standard, their GIFs are bold and refreshing to see. Big fan of using large text and contrasting colors.
Casper keeps their GIFs friendly and clever. The copy they use in their marketing campaigns is usually pretty relaxed and not too pushy. The GIFs reflect that brand tone by consistently being a few frames and backing up the main message.
Postable adds a bit of extra cleverness to their emails with some happy GIFs. While these images could be static, the animation makes them a bit more engaging and nice.
Check out our Lessons Learned interview with Postable.
Harry’s uses animation to bring their beautifully simple illustrations to life. Their playful GIFs bring the subscriber into the email and leads them to click through. Adding cycling text is a nice touch to their holiday email. Their emails are a good example how GIFs can captivate your audience.
One of the useful ways brands can use GIFs is to walk users through their product. Asana uses a fake UI to demo a feature available in their premium tier. This is a very visual way to highlight how a feature works in an onboarding or upsell email. Asana is also using animation in a unique way to show how they have made product improvements. This is a clever winback idea to get subscribers back into their product.
Read how Asana delivers value with every email they send in our Lessons Learned interview.
Whenever I get an email from MailChimp, I am reminded of their great Content Style Guide. Each part of their emails is working together. They always have on point branding, copy, design, and (of course) GIFs. Their use of animation feels natural and that it has a spot in the email design. They tend to use GIFs somewhat sparingly, but it’s a treat when you see one in the wild.
Read our Lessons Learned post that explores how MailChimp’s designs their own onboarding emails.
While we try not to pick favorites over at Really Good Emails, however Spotify always seems to be in our top ten. Their use of listener data to personalize their emails is super inspiring. The GIF they included in their “Time Capsule” personalized playlist campaign really draws you in. I also like how their CTAs are always pushing the subscriber “listen”. Their simple copy and use of imagery gets straight to the point.
Taco Bell’s marketing team deserves a raise. They are regularly serving up interesting GIFs, interactive email experiences, and late night menu items. Digging the ways they bring animation, branding, and innovative ideas to their sends. While other fast food brands might just be pushing coupons, Taco Bell is valuing their subscribers with creative uses of GIFs.
Getting your phone bill in an email isn’t that fun. Sprint does a good job bringing some animation to otherwise boring promotional emails. The floating ballon looks very clickable and doubles as a big call to action button.
Away is one of the few brands that shows their products in action through GIFs. We get to see how their suitcase works and get a good idea of sizing. They break the constraints of the screen by having their product roll into frame. Their use of GIFs and layout bring the subscriber down the email to read the whole message.
The background image GIF is a wonderful thing. Prezi is fully embracing the trend to bring some subtle animation to their emails. It’s not too distracting and makes the email stand out in the inbox.
Charity Water has mastered the art of storytelling. Well designed emails and use of GIFs make them miles ahead of traditional non-profit email marketing. Every one of their campaigns is an opportunity to learn more about a new milestone, a project update, or how giving will impact a community. Their use of GIFs can really drive a message home.
Hope these GIF examples help you when thinking about your next email.
Have you seen an email with an amazing GIF, was well designed, or that you just felt we should feature? Send it to Really Good Emails!
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