Ideas from the Inbox: To GIF or Not to GIF?

1 min

Animated GIFs in emails are controversial, to say the least. Despite that, more and more companies are using them lately – at least that’s what I’ve noticed in my inbox. And more and more, they do it in a fun way, pleasant to the eye and actually making sense. Although that’s not always the case, which I’m going to show you (warning – toward the end of the post, you may get a severe migraine!)

[hint, if you can’t see the image animate, click on it to open it in a new window]

How to promote a product through emails
Holiday email marketing examples you have to see

1. Product showcase

GIFs are actually a good idea when you want to squeeze more products into your newsletter and take up less space. Simply rotate them on a single image – this draws attention and allows you to show more. Do it in a straightforward way:




Ann Taylor


American Apparel

or add a pinch of fun:

American Apparel

American Apparel

or an enormous dose of cuteness:


Stuck On You

2. Promo ends soon

GIFs can be useful if you want to emphasize that your promotion is coming to an end. What easier way than with an animated countdown?


Ann Taylor





3. Attention grabbers

Well, they’re animated, so they certainly are eye-catching elements of your newsletters (as long as your email client displays animated GIFs; most of them do, except Microsoft Outlook, which displays only the first frame; so make sure that first frame is the most appealing).

These can be anything from animated fragments of text:



to an animated header appearing in all newsletters:



to animations for the sake of adding a fun factor:




Brooks Brothers

4. Headache inducers

Well, this is where the designers went a few steps too far in their desire to grab the reader’s attention. Not to be imitated – unless you really want to give your subscribers a severe headache or nausea. (I can’t even look at these for more than a few seconds without getting serious eye-problems. Let alone click on them!)


United Nude



Have you come across some fun (or just the opposite) GIFs recently? Share them!

(And if you haven’t used them in your emails, why not GIF them a shot? 😉 A shot with moderation, of course).

Karolina Kurcwald
Karolina Kurcwald
Karolina is a brand messaging consultant and copywriter for SaaS and B2B tech. She helps brands clearly define what sets them apart from the competition and communicate it in a way that resonates with their customers. As a career coach, she also helps people in the creative and tech industries find and communicate their value to potential employers. Catch her at: