How to add a GIF to your email (plus best practices & examples)

By Sean Tinney

We’re huge fans of using interactive content in email. Whether you’re trying to improve your campaign, tell a story, or simply add a bit of flair to the inbox, interactive content is the way to go.

And one of the easiest ways to do so is by adding animated GIFs to your emails.

In this article we’re going to help you create some more excitement in your emails by helping you learn:

What is an email GIF?Ways to use GIFs in your emailsBest practices for using GIFs in emailsHow to put a GIF in your emailHow to add a GIF to an email using AWeberHow to make GIFs for your emailsWhere to find GIFs for emails

What is an email GIF?

GIF is short for Graphics Interchange Format. It’s a popular image format that’s been around since the 80’s. An email GIF uses a series of images to create the illusion of motion (sort of like a flipbook) within the body of an email. 

Example of an email GIF

Ways to use GIFs in your email

GIFs add personality to your emails. You can highlight a product in motion, show a demo, or even add a relatable reaction. There are many engaging and practical purposes for a GIF.

Let’s take a look at some ways that brands are using GIFs in their marketing emails (and how you can steal those ideas for your next campaign):

1 – Illustrate a product

GIFs don’t have to be all for show. They’re actually a great way to tell a story in a simple, impactful way.

This Canva email shows how easy it is to create a design using their platform.

GIF in Canva Marketing Email showing how to illustrate a product

Pro Tip: GIFs are great for illustrating complex ideas in a simple way. Give subscribers a sneak peek of your latest product launch or to share a unique use case.

2 – Tutorial on how to use a product

Check out how we used a GIF to highlight how easy it is to add a video to your landing page:

GIF in an newsletter showing a product tutorial

Rather than relying on heavy copy, this animated GIF shows the process in just seconds.

3 – Create intrigue

Want a great way to entice your readers? Take a cue from this Kate Spade campaign:

GIF in email used to create intrigue

The animation adds another level of intrigue to the email, prompting subscribers to click through to see what’s inside.

Pro Tip: Sometimes the simplest bit of animation can have a big impact. The next time you’re looking to add some oomph to your emails, try adding a GIF to the mix.

4 – Add a sense of urgency

GIFs can be a great alternative for traditional countdown clocks to emphasize urgency in your messaging:

GIF adding a sense of urgency in an email

This example from LOFT shows how a little animation can make a bold statement.

Pro Tip: Your email doesn’t have to imitate the Vegas strip at 2am. Adding a little bit of movement is sometimes all you need.

5 – Simply delight

GIFs can be added to add fun and excitement for your emails, like this one from charity: water:

An example of a GIF in an email that simply delights

Their smart use of a GIF showcases the personality and people behind the brand.

But be mindful of context when using GIFs in your emails. Does it feel appropriate and strengthen the message you’re trying to send? Or does it take away from it? These are good questions to ask yourself before you hit ‘send’.

Pro Tip: Use GIFs sparingly. If you’re using them just because, it can get old.

6 – Highlight a call to action

Check out how we use a GIF to highlight the Learn How call to action.

The key to using GIF for the CTA is to not get carried away. If the GIF takes away from the main message, it won’t matter how much attention you put on the CTA, your subscribers won’t read it.

AWeber Newsletter showing how a GIF can highlight a CTA

7 – Tell a story

Peacock used a GIF to tell their subscribers a story of all the new shows their streaming service has to offer in October. 

GIF in an email showing a creative way to tell a story

Best practices for using GIFs in emails

While GIFs are great for grabbing your audience’s attention you don’t want to overdo it. To help, we’ve put together a list of best practices you should be following when putting GIFs in emails.

1 – One GIF per email

One GIF is perfect for adding an exciting, attention-grabbing element to your email. More than one and your email is getting too distracting. 

2 – Enhance the main message

Your GIF should serve a purpose. Don’t include a one that doesn’t relate to your content and the action you want your audience to take.

3 – Add a link to your GIF

People may try clicking on the GIF itself, so take advantage of this and direct them to a relevant landing page.

4 – Keep the GIF file size small

Aim to keep your GIF file size under 40KB. You don’t want your email to be so large that your audience won’t even receive it.

5 – Test your email

Always test your emails. Most email clients will display GIFs, but there are some exceptions. In these situations, the GIFs will display as static images.

6 – Add alt image text

In those situations where a GIF may not render make sure you add alt image text so people understand what the GIF was about. Be as descriptive as possible.

How to put a GIF in your email

To insert a GIF in your email:

Step 1: Compose your email

Step 2: Click on the insert photo button (this is sometimes represented as a paperclip)

Step 3: Locate your GIF in your folder and click insert to add to your email

How to add a GIF to an email using AWeber

Step 1: Download your GIF and save it to your computer. If you find a GIF online, you can simply right click the image and select “Save Image”.

Step 2: In your AWeber account, drag the image block into your email builder.

Image drag and drop in AWeber's platform

Step 3: Select the Upload Image button to add your GIF to your email. That’s it!

Upload image button in AWeber's platform

How to make GIFs for your emails

GIFs are easier to create than a video, especially if you’re trying to illustrate something short and to the point. The skill level bar is a lot shorter with a GIF.

You can create GIFs in Photoshop, or you can create them out of video footage you already have using a tool like GIF Brewery,, or Instagiffer.

These types of tools make creating GIFs easy, even with little to no technical knowledge.

And don’t think that you have to be a designer or know how to code to use GIFs in your emails. We love sites like Giphy or r/gif for their large selection of ready-to-use GIFs.

Where to find GIFs for emails

You can also create a GIF for your email yourself, or find a premade GIF from a variety of different online sources. Here are two of my top options:


The name says it all. I love GIPHY because they have a huge library of GIF to choose from. Plus they allow you to create or upload your on GIF.


Our amazing team of designers create some incredible GIFs geared towards grabbing an email audience’s attention. Here are the links to our seasonal email marketing GIFs.

Valentine’s Day GIFs

Holiday GIFs

Fall GIFs

Summer GIFs

Get started…

Now that you know how to use them effectively, GIFs can be a great way to elevate your email content. If you’re promoting a product or service, they can really emphasize a use case and serve as an educational tool. (Or simply delight your subscribers.)

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