Marie-Pier Godere
Marie-Pier Godere 14 July 2017
Categories Content, Email & eCRM

How to use animation to become an email superstar

Sending an email these days is like jumping in a fierce competition against hundreds of other senders to win a few seconds of your target’s precious attention. You need to find clever ways to stand out from the crowd. Adding animated elements in emails draws attention, show your originality and increases your results.

Adding animated elements in emails is extremely effective to draw attention, show your originality and increase your results. There are different options to add movement to your emails.


Videos are more popular than ever. 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI[i]. Actually, simply including the word “video” in an email subject line can increase open rates by 19%[ii]. So it’s totally understandable that you would want to use it in your emails. Here are 3 ways to do it:

  1. Integrated video using HTML5
  2. Animated GIF
  3. Static image


Integrating a video using HTML5 will allow your subscribers to view it directly into their inbox instead of having to view it in a browser. But, because video support is still very limited in email clients, only about 58% of recipients will really be able to view it.

Here’s a table listing email clients supporting HTML5 videos:

Video in email support


According to a study published by Forrester, including a video in an email can increase the click-through rate by 200% to 300%. However, the table above shows that there is still a long way to go before all users can see videos right in their inbox. So it’s important that you get to know your audience before you start, like knowing what email client they use. This way, your video will create the expected WOW effect and you’ll avoid unnecessary efforts.

If you’d like to try integrating HTML5 videos in your emails, check out the following guide from Email on Acid – A How-To Guide to Embedding HTML5 Video in Email.


Animated GIFs are a great alternative to create movement in emails, with a lot less technical constraints than videos. In addition, animated GIFs are supported by all email clients, except for Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 and Windows Phone 7. As these clients only display the first image of the GIF, make sure all the important information is included in it.

Also, check the size of your GIFs. If they are too big, they will take longer to load and your subscribers might not see the whole animation. The ideal GIF size should be around 1MB or under.

Animated GIF


The third option to take advantage of the power of videos in your emails is certainly the simplest. It consists in inserting an image of the video that, once clicked, will open the video in a browser. This way, you are certain your readers will see it… if they download their email images of course.

Video in email - Static image


Other elements than GIFs can be animated in emails. Thanks to CSS animation, all elements in your email can pop, slide, reverse or bounce. Note, however, that CSS animations are only supported by very few email clients for the moment. It’s actually more something to keep in mind for future campaigns.

And since we’re talking about very interesting, but little supported, techniques, I will take a few extra minutes of your time to talk about interactive elements. Their big advantage is that the interaction occurs right in the inbox, without the need to move to a browser. This new trend will bring emails in which you’ll find:

  • Countdowns
  • Menus
  • Sliders
  • Integrated forms
  • Shopping carts
  • And much more

These interaction opportunities are incredibly attractive to marketers. The only thing we can do now is hope that email clients will follow the wave by deploying the necessary support.




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