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Technical Considerations When Using GIFs in Emails

In an earlier blog post, we discussed how to add animated GIFs to your ClickDimensions email templates and how those GIFs can be used to create a more interesting and engaging email message. In this post, we will look at some technical considerations to keep in mind when using GIFs in your emails. 

When creating GIFs, file size is an important consideration because there is a maximum size allowed in the ClickDimensions image manager. In addition, file size is also very important because many recipients may be opening your emails on mobile devices, and the larger the file size, the more time and data it will take for them to see your message. Given these factors, we will be focusing primarily on minimizing file size in this post.

So whether you pronounce it with a soft G like the peanut butter, or a hard G like "gift," below are six things to consider when using these images in your email marketing.


1. Keep in mind the maximum file size.

Your GIF will need to be uploaded into the ClickDimensions image manager, which allows for a maximum image size of 500 KB. This is a sufficient size for accomplishing a lot with GIFs, but means you may have difficulty uploading very large or lengthy GIFs.

2. Focus on what's important.
Focus on animating the key elements of your GIF that help convey your message, and forego animating less relevant or necessary elements. The more moving parts in your GIF, the larger the file size will be.

3. Be aware of the GIF's dimensions.
As the width and height of your GIF increases, so does the file size. Try to constrain yourself to smaller dimensions initially or consider cropping out any non-essential parts of the GIF to keep the file size small.

4. Be aware of the GIF's duration.
More frames means a larger file size, so forego any frames that are not essential. For example, removing every third frame from an imported video GIF would allow you to decrease the file size by a third, but still maintain enough continuity to easily read the movement.

5. Consider your color palette and depth.
The more colors there are in an animated GIF, the larger the file size will be. If you are making a GIF of something like an app, clip art or primarily text, this will likely not be much of a concern. If you are making a GIF of a photo or clip from a video, you may want to consider changing the color depth. This reduces the number of possible colors that can be used, which reduces the file size while still maintaining the same content.

4 bits (16 colors)

8 bits (256 colors) 

6. Outlook doesn't support GIFs.

While most email clients will play GIFs without issue, Outlook will only show the first frame as a static image. If you will be emailing recipients who use Outlook, make sure that the first frame of your GIF can effectively convey your message on its own.

Written by Rhys Saraceni, ClickDimensions Marketing Success Manager Team Lead

About the Author:

Rhys Saraceni is a Training Developer at ClickDimensions.

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