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Simple guide to add GIFs on your emails

CEO Updated: December 01, 2023
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Emails have been so familiar to most of us that many may think that they have figured out everything about it. However, some might be shocked to find that email still has some surprising tricks up its sleeve. One of them is the ability to use animated GIFs that have become a remarkably common feature of online communication over the last decade.

If you want your emails to be catching up with Internet trends, animated GIFs should be something you need to consider bringing into your email marketing campaigns. In this article, I will explain to you how you can add GIFs to your emails in a few simple steps. First, let’s have a quick look at some basics about GIFs.

Benefits of using GIFs in emails

Benefits of GIFs in email marketing
Benefits of GIFs in email marketing

Technically, a GIF is a picture format, but — unlike a JPG or PNG — it includes multiple images that are shown one after the other to produce an illusion of motion. This feature makes GIFs an excellent alternative to videos that can be tricky to use in email campaigns. Here are some of the main reasons why GIFs are a great tool for email marketers:

  • GIFs can draw attention. In comparison with static images and text, GIFs draw more attention and make your message easier to understand. For example, in order to persuade people to minimize the use of plastic, they might be e-mailed with a persuasive text about the risks of plastic. But an expressive GIF about consequences of plastic use at the top of the email is what makes subscribers read it.
  • GIFs can increase click-through rates. Interactive content, like GIFs, can help increase click-to-open rates. The simplest example is when an animated GIF in an email renders CTA buttons more apparent by flickering or blinking. With imaginative usage, GIFs can tease the viewer and encourage them to click. For instance, showing the first moments of unboxing a new product will cause a sense of intrigue and get your subscribers to click to go to your website deu curiosity.
  • GIFs help display the functionality of the product more easily. Customers consider video content to be useful for understanding a product. In email promotions, you can replace videos with GIFs to provide a brief look at your new products, service features, or application features. It may be images of a new headphone model from various angles, a screen recording of a task-tracking program, or moving infographics of a warranty service process.

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Considerations when using GIFs in emails

Things to be aware of when using GIFs.
Things to be aware of when using GIFs.

There are a few things that you need to avoid when using GIFs for your emails.

Mailboxes support

Don’t worry: the top two most popular email services — Gmail, and iOS Mail — support GIFs. The same applies to nearly all desktop, web-based and mobile platforms. The only thing to keep in mind is that Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 only show the first frame of the animation. So, to be secure, you’d better put the most important details, like your CTA or the headline, in the first frame if you’re using Outlook.

GIFs size

Make sure your GIF is less than 1 MB in size because desktop users with slow Internet connections and smartphone users account for up to 49 percent of all emails opened. The larger the file size, the longer it takes to completely load, and your subscribers will scroll down without seeing it. Luckily, there are hundreds of GIF compressing tools, to name a few:

In addition, pay attention to the width of your GIF. Most emails are 600 pixels wide, so be sure to keep your GIF width in this range. If your email template has several columns, reduce the size of the GIF accordingly. For example, if your email has two columns, the GIF should be 300 pixels.

Accessibility issues

Visual impairment can cause difficulties in watching animated content, and high frame rate and flickering can trigger seizures. So, make sure you restrict flickering to three times a second, avoid high-contrast transitions and red flashes. Using alternate text for your GIFs to make your email accessible for screen reader users.

GIFs as well as other images are subject to copyright as any other piece of creative work. However, there are no specific rules for the lawful use of the do’s and don’t. Here are some rules of thumb to conform to:

  • Don’t use GIFs from unknown/untrusted sources.
  • Ask for permission from the source if need be
  • Always give credit to the source

Recommended for you: Easily upload GIFs into your emails with AVADA Email Marketing Free! Not just an email builder, Shopify Abandoned Cart Recovery simplifies your workload in doing marketing and acquiring more customers. The app provides various emails templates for Automation emails and Newsletter emails. Also, for those who are starting their website, collecting emails is never easier with AVADA Email Marketing Forms. All in one marketing tool in your hand now, learn more here.

The best tools to create your own GIFs.

Create a GIF with MakeAGIF


MakeAGIF is a popular GIF solution that enables you to create animations from YouTube and Facebook videos, or existing photos and videos. It’s a cool tool if you need to create a GIF easily and with little editing: just change the animation length, add text, emoji, and a few simple effects. To make a GIF from a YouTube video, add a link to it and the processing will start immediately.

MakeAGIF is simple to use, as all processing is done in a single step. However, there are some drawbacks to the free version:

  • Low and medium resolution GIFs only.
  • Total GIF length of 20 seconds.

You need to upgrade to a Premium account for $12 per month with a 3-day free trial available to use more advanced functionality.

Create a GIF with Giphy


Giphy, a free GIF editor, enables you to create animations from multiple images, uploaded GIFs or videos, links to YouTube or Vimeo videos, or from the Giphy library. What’s great about this GIF maker is that you don’t have a watermark attached to the GIFs you create.

Upload and edit your file: add captions, filters, and stickers. You can also draw something and add it to your GIF. Finally, enter the tags and, if any, refer to the original GIF. After that, you can upload your GIF to Giphy.

There are two ways to use your new GIF: either download it by right-clicking and selecting “Save as” or share it by copying the link. In addition to a regular link, there are additional links for sharing your GIF on social media and a HTML code for embedding it on your website.

Create a GIF with Gifpal


Gifpal is a free online tool for making pictures into GIF animations. Choose the size of your GIF, upload frame images one by one, change their length and order, and save the result. The only drawback of the service is that there is a small watermark “GIFPAL” at the right corner.

Create a GIF from a YouTube video

If you want to make GIFs from YouTube videos, you don’t even need to move to another website. Open the video tab and type the word “gif” in front of “YouTube” in the address bar. Like this: www. Youtube.com / watch … www.gifYoutube.com / watch ….

Click “Enter” to go to the GIF editor on gifs.com. Here you can add various captions, stickers, and effects to your GIF. You can adjust color, brightness, add blurring, set padding areas as well as horizontal and vertical flips.

When you’re done with your modifications, generate the GIF. You can’t delete the watermark unless you pay for the paid service of $1.99 per month. In the final stage, choose if your GIF is public or private. The final file can be downloaded in two sizes: original or compressed. Otherwise, you can copy and share the link on social media or add the GIF to your website.

You can edit videos that you upload and videos from Vine and Instagram at Gifs.com. These features can be found on the home tab. To go there, press the gifs icon in the upper left corner of the page.

How to add an animated GIF to an email

Knowing the newest trends on the Internet is not enough. You need to know how to take advantage of them, too. Most people have found out how to use GIFs on Twitter and Facebook, but when it comes to email, a lot of people are in the dark. To color up your email marketing campaign and catch the attention of potential customers, here is a simple guide to incorporating animated GIFs to your emails.

Copy the GIF’s link
Copy the GIF’s link

If you’ve found the right GIF you’re looking for, your first instinct will be to right-click it and save it to your computer. The thing is that will not work, since your computer saves only one frame of the GIF, as opposed to all of the frames. And, as everybody knows, a video is just a few images in a fast succession, creating an illusion of movement. One frame of a GIF is not going to do you any good.

What you need to do is copy the link of the GIF, which can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the GIF source. If you’re getting it from a GIF website, such as Giphy, you can easily copy the link via a prompt right next to the GIF. These websites also offer a range of options for copying links, such as creating a short URL, a condensed version of the GIF, and an HTML5 version. If you’re not on the GIF website but have found the GIF somewhere else on the internet, all you have to do is right click on the GIF and then select the “copy image address” option.

2. Open your email account

After you have copied the link address of your chosen GIF, you can now go and add it to your email account. On the way there, make sure you don’t copy something else, such as the recipient’s email address, because you’re going to miss the GIF picture address and you’re going to have to step one all over again. Now, open a “new email” window, just as you usually do.

3. Navigate to the “Insert Photo” section

Navigate to the “Insert Photo” section
Navigate to the “Insert Photo” section

After you’re in a new email window, you should see an icon at the bottom; it shapes like a square with mountains inside. Click the button, and you’ll be taken to the “Photo Insert” section. From here, you’ll see four tabs: “photos”, “albums”, “upload” and “web address”. For GIFs, you need to select “web address”.

4. Paste the image address

Paste the image address
Paste the image address

Remember the link address of the GIF you’ve been careful not to lose? it’s critical now, because this is where it comes into use. You should notice an empty bar labeled “Paste an image URL here”. Right click on the empty bar, and then select the “Paste” option. Two things happen when you do this. The empty bar now is filled with the GIF image address, and the GIF itself appears below the bar.

5. Click “Insert”

Click “Insert”
Click “Insert”

Now, all you need to do is select “insert,” which is the blue button on the bottom left of the screen. After that, you will be brought back to the “new email” window, where you will now see your GIF in the email body.

6. Play with your GIF

That’s how you add a GIF to your email. Easy, right? You’ve nailed the art of finding GIFs, copying their image addresses, and incorporating them to your email address. But that may not be everything you need to do.

Your GIF is maybe a little too large, or maybe not exactly where you want it to be. All you need to do is click on the GIF to fix this. When you do so, you will find that a blue outline appears around the GIF. You can easily scale the picture to suit your intent by pressing and keeping the corners of this blue outline. If this is too much, there are also prompts below the outline that will automatically scale the image to preset specifications, including “small”, “best fit”, and “original size”.

Do these steps apply to every email provider?

The steps introduced above belong to Gmail, as it is the most common email provider on the web. When it comes to adding animated GIFs to an email, some providers have different specifications, some of which are also easier than Gmail.

For example, if you have a Yahoo account, you can skip copying the GIF link section of the guide. Yahoo includes a button below the body of the email that is explicitly designed to add GIFs to your email. Better, the button is clearly labelled “GIF.” All you have to do is press the button, and you’ll be taken to a search engine that allows you to quickly search for GIFs. You can type in keywords, or you can search by category, such as “famous”, “love”, or “cheers”.

For Outlook users, the method is very similar to Yahoo. There is a button below the email body called “insert emojis and GIFs”. By clicking this button, you will be taken to a search engine that enables quick discovery of GIFs.

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Final words

GIFs are not just a way to the future, they are the way to the present when it comes to emails. They have taken over social media, becoming a powerful tool for expressing both emotions and information. For this purpose alone, every marketer should be sure to incorporate GIFs as part of their email. After all, when it comes to email marketing, it helps when you talk the same language as your audience does. I hope this article has given you valuable information about how to add GIFs to your email. Please feel free to leave comments below for further discussion on this topic.

Sam Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore. Sam aims to support more than a million online businesses to grow and develop.

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