The Pros and Cons of Using Animation in Email

Before you decide to incorporate animations in your emails there’s a few things you should consider. When used correctly, animations can put your campaign and marketing efforts into motion.

The Challenges of Using Animation

Outlook 2007–2013 and Windows Phone 7 Support

Not all inboxes will support animated gif files unfortunately. So what do you do in those specific cases? These email clients will however show the first clip of your animation, in static form. It’s very important to have a fallback for those clients that do not support animation, particularly if you have a lot of subscribers on your list using these clients.

Take a look at your most popular email clients and decide if animation is even an option for you. If most of your subscribers are using Outlook 2007-2013 then it might not make a lot of sense to invest in animation.

Large File Size

Animated gifs tend to run on the larger side when it comes to file size. There are ways to keep the file size down but it can limit the types of animations you had in mind. The more frames, colors and complex action you show, the larger the file becomes. This is why you tend to see very simple animation in the emails you receive.

Don’t run the risk of nobody seeing your animation because they didn’t wait long enough for it to load.

Frequency

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Sending animated emails in every campaign can make your subscribers immune to the benefits they bring to the table. Unless you’re whole strategy revolves around the ability to animate what you’re sending, try to limit how often you mail animations. 

If you had eggnog every week for an entire year, when the holidays roll around you will be sick of drinking eggnog. Same goes for animations.

The Benefits of Animated Emails

Surprise

Animations are a great way to surprise and delight your subscribers. Animations can act as link bait. If your goal is to get someone to click-through to a landing page, try showing them a fun animation that makes them click to see the answer.

Draw Attention

Sending a lengthy email campaign? I’ve seen animations work great when placed a little further down on an email to encourage viewers to keep scrolling to see the full animation. A small amount of movement is all you need to draw your subscriber to a specific area on your email.

Educate

Teach your subscriber how to use a new feature by showing them. Trying to explain something visual with text doesn’t always serve those who are visual learners. Improve your on-boarding process by showing your users how to use cool features. Or offering a training course with a new helpful animation in each email. Remember file size can be your enemy so plan ahead!

Laughter

It’s not often that an email marketing campaign makes me smile. What better way to bring some joy to your audience’s day than to incorporate a funny animation into your email?

The below example from Paper Source is simple, silly and incorporates some of their products all at the same time. Who doesn’t want to see a llama carrying a pile of gifts on its back?

Animated Email Examples

Want to check out some more email animations? Check out the OpenMerit YouTube playlist Email Animation Examples to view a growing collection of animations from a variety of industries.

Sarah Shuda
Sarah Shuda
Designer. Mom. Wife. Loves Gilmore Girls, healthy living, and long walks in the country.