Using 2D animation in your brand’s email newsletters is a great way to help your company stand out. Not only are animated images aesthetically pleasing, but they can also increase the chance of a person clicking on the link. That click can boost website visitors, increase your number of social followers, or generate more sales.

While there are many benefits of using 2d animation in email, you need to make sure that you do it right. This guide will walk you through seven things you need to keep in mind when creating eye-catching animated graphics for your email marketing campaign.

1. Align your CTA and the animation

Every email you send to your audience should have a goal. That goal is generally to get your subscribers to click on a link so they can visit your blog, a sales page, or something else entirely.

From the subject line you use through to the copy, and the animated graphics, every element of your email should support that goal of getting someone to take action. Consider the following example:

The animated graphic of an ice cream melting supports the time-sensitive special offer in the image above. The use of imagery aligns with the overall messaging.

Another way to generate this sense of urgency is by using an animated email countdown timer driving customers to your Call To Action (CTA).

When selecting animated images for your email marketing campaign, consider how the image supports your goal. Don’t use images just for the sake of it. Get specific by creating custom graphics with a 2D animation maker like Vyond Studio.

2. Stick to your brand voice

Your company should have a clearly defined brand voice. Your brand voice is the lasting impression that you want to leave with your audience. In the example I shared earlier with the dripping ice cream, the brand uses cartoon imagery. That type of friendly imagery is used throughout all of Headspace’s marketing material.

For example, here’s a screenshot of the company’s homepage.

A screenshot of the Headspace webpage featuring an illustration of Elmo from Sesame Street.

The type of imagery they use on the homepage aligns with the animated graphic in the email. That’s important because coherent branding enables people to recognize marketing material produced by your company quickly.

You need to ensure your animation is synchronized with your brand voice. For example, if your brand doesn’t have a quirky or humorous vibe, avoid humorous memes.

Consider the following example of Chanel, which used this in their email newsletter to promote their Triple Row Watch. The animated graphic looks simple and classy. Those are two of the main characteristics that embody its brand voice:

An email animated with an appearing image of a Chanel watch.

If you’re thinking of using animated graphics in your email, ensure it aligns with your brand voice. Not doing so can make it appear out of place and leave customers confused.

3. Create customized GIFs

Customized GIFs, in particular, are an excellent option for your company’s marketing email. With a bit of time, and a good concept, you can create an attractive animated image for your email that grabs the attention of your audience.

Consider the following example of Hawthorne, a cologne company. In one of their emails, they leveraged interest in the Netflix show Stranger Things to promote their new scent.

Email GIF advertising perfume as "Scented Things" in the style of Stranger Things.

The above image is a perfect example of a customized animated email message. The company used a hit show to promote its new product. It’s enticing and makes you want to click on the link.

The custom animated graphic Hawthorne created for this campaign looks great. You can imagine people sharing this image online with friends and family.

4. Consider the image size

Image size is important in emails. The larger your image, the more time it takes for the graphic to load in your inbox. If it takes too long to load, people won’t wait for the message to open and might even instantly delete the email.

That’s bad news for your email delivery rates.

When adding animated graphics to an email, make sure to consider the file size. Your image should be a lot less than one megabyte. Ideally, it should be under 500kb. You can use compression software to optimize the animated image size while maintaining quality.

5. Ensure the animation is embedded properly

If your animation is not embedded properly into your emails, it’ll fail to make an impact on your target audience. Not to mention, it’ll look aesthetically displeasing as well.

To avoid problems, make sure to test your email before sending it off. This is straightforward. Most email marketing platforms allow you to test an email before sending it to subscribers.

When adding images to an email, use alt text so readers with visual impairments.

Moreover, if you’re choosing to opt for brand-specific, customizable videos in your emails, you must ensure they are perfectly embedded as well. Videos can positively impact email open and Click Through Rates (CTR). Many studies have found that the adoption of video animation in email marketing can lead to open rate increases of 6 percent.

6. Know your target audience

If you’re going to run a marketing campaign, you need to understand your target audience. Most companies do this by creating audience personas. An audience persona is a profile of your ideal customer and mentions their characteristics.

The audience persona includes information about demographics, age, gender, occupation, among others. You should also try to define pain points and interests.

The following image is an example of an audience persona:

Screenshot of a customer persona profile names Jane Doe

Understanding your target audience is important in email marketing. The better you understand your audience, the more likely you are to create marketing material that they find interesting. For instance, if you have a target audience aged 50 plus, but you’re using pop culture GIFs or memes in your email newsletters, chances are they might not resonate with them.

7. Animate only a part of the image

It’s important for you not to overdo your images and only animate a part of them. Remember that less is more. Flixel, which is a tool to create customized cinemagraphs, carried out research and concluded that using cinemagraphs in content helped produce 5.6x higher click-through rates when compared against still images:

If you’re looking to highlight a specific part of your email, cinemagraphs are your best bet. Not only will they create a seamless looping effect, but they will also instantly grab your readers’ attention.

In addition to live-action cinemagraphs, you can reach for 2D animation makers like Vyond to create custom GIFs and videos.

Here’s a nice example below from Harry’s:

Email from Harry's with a sublte animation of moving arms on a clock.

I like the image in the campaign. However, notice how your eye is drawn to the clock.

In this instance, the animation doesn’t support the goal of the email. Animating the box to reveal the free shipping offer, for instance, might have been a better use of animation in this instance.

Bottom Line

When looking to use animation in email, it’s pivotal for you to understand its do’s and don’ts. Remember, it’s about quality rather than quantity when it comes to animation in email marketing. Overcrowding animated videos or images will confuse your customers. They won’t know what message you’re trying to get across to them.

Align your animation with your CTA, keep it simple yet intriguing, and make sure it’s worth looking at. Make sure it’s relevant to your target audience as well, as this will make your emails speak personally to them.

The more your animation attracts your readers, the more they’ll be willing to click on your CTA and purchase your products and services. Good luck!

About the Author

Sam is part of the marketing team at Mailshake. Sam’s goal is to inspire people to not just “hang in there” but to thrive. When Sam’s not publishing or promoting new content you can find him playing sports and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

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