Is it possible to increase the click rates using animated GIF in email marketing?

Whether you are using our free email newsletter software or another email marketing software, it is always important to find ways to increase the open and click rates of your newsletters.

That is why for a long time we have been testing a very interesting technique discussed in forums and blogs, the possibility of increasing the click rates, CTR, for your email marketing campaigns with the use of animated GIFs.

There are many blogs talking about this topic, but I wanted to test it by myself, and today I will bring the results of the tests.

Because I never trust 100% on results of other tests, as several factors could cause the results to be changed.

And it’s something I recommend you always do in your email marketing campaigns, never trust 100% in an strategy without testing it.

Let’s start

In the first tests, using the free email newsletter software offered by Mailrelay, a newsletter was sent only with plain text, with the format we use to send the new entries of our Blog:

Is it possible to increase the click rates  using animated GIF in email marketing 1

It is a very simple format, but the only thing we expect from this email is that the subscriber click on the link to access the full article on the blog.

In this case, the call to action is also simple, but is quite visible, it is  the link:

>> Click here to read the full article

The red color, distinguishing it from other text, and a clear message, can emphasize the call to action.

The major title in blue also has a link to the full article.

But due to its characteristics, I believe that the call to action of this email marketing campaign is the red link.

We tested this format in three campaigns, three different articles, which obtained the following click rates (CTR):

– 4.47% (Thursday # Mailrelay Blog: Interview Chuiso |

– 4.79% (monday # Another chance to join the experts)

– 7.01% (Tuesday # Blog: 2 campaigns that could improve a lot using Email Marketing)

That is, an average of 5.42% of click rates.

NOTE: In this analysis we are not considering the open rates, we will focus only on the click rates.

Second Test

For the second test, we introduced some changes, such as using a graphic button:

Is it possible to increase the click rates  using animated GIF in email marketing 2

The format is almost the same, the only difference is the button.

The message itself is not very flashy, I must say.

But I expected that the color and the graphic element of the arrow would call the attention of subscribers to click on the button.

Increasing the click rates.

The results, however, were not so positive, we send three campaigns, three new posts in this format:

– 4.67% (Thursday # Blog: Analysis of the subscriber list after sending a mailing)

– 2.37% (Tuesday # Blog: Improvements in the password recovery process in Mailrelay)

– 6.49% (Thursday # Blog: Interview Luis M. Villanueva (SEO) |

An average of 4.51% in total.

Less than without the use of the image.

The third test, using an animated GIF

Well, this test would have to be sent with emphasis on the use of animated GIFs, so that we could work with this technique, and send some newsletters using our free email newsletter software.

Therefore, we asked our designers to prepare the same button used previously, but with a GIF:

Is it possible to increase the click rates  using animated GIF in email marketing 2

In the image you can’t see it, but the button seemed to be illuminated on white, andthere was an arrow moving from side to side.

This movement rather highlighted the button.

Would the results be better?

This time I prepared four tests, four different newsletters, to see if the animated GIFs could have such an impact on our email marketing campaigns.

The results of the click rates were:

– 5.11% (Tuesday # Blog: Is the email marketing becoming a thing of professionals?

– 9.04% (Thursday # Blog: Why should we not use newly registered domains as senders)

– 6.55% (Thursday # Blog: Free Ebook to optimize your email marketing)

– 6.42% (Tuesday # Blog: fast Optimization images to your newsletter)

A final average of 6.78%. In this test, the click rate was higher.

Could it be that the use of animated GIFs increases the click rates?

I could not stop the tests here then I removed the animated GIF  and left the text

Simple again:


With some minor changes, such as the + or a greater spacing, but it was practically the same format used for the first test.

The call to Action was represented by the link in red.

We didn’t changed too many aspects. In this case, I sent some more tests, five campaigns, to have more data to work with:

– 4.99% (Tuesday # [New] multiple signatures to improve your Free email marketing)

– 7.04% (Thursday # [+] Are you ready for the changes in the Gmail spam filter?)

– 6.97% (Tuesday # [+] 21 newsletters 21 calls to action)

– 3.24% (Thursday # [+] advanced filters to unassign subscribers + Trick)

– 5.87% (Tuesday # [+] local businesses and email marketing, can you get results?)

In this case, the average click rate was 5.62%.

A lower average than the test using animated GIF.

But anyway

The difference between the percentages of different click rates for different email marketing campaigns didn’t vary that much.

In fact, in our last campaign, for our last ebook, the click rate was:

– 7.28% (Thursday # [+] free Ebookmailrelay to improve the email marketing campaigns)

As you can see, this campaign got a higher average than the average of newsletters sent using animated GIFs.

NOTE: The open rate of this campaign sent from our Free email newsletter software was of 79.20%.

Final analysis

It was not possible to observe a very conclusive improvement in the click rates using animated GIFs.

Although the average was a little better, it was not as positive as expected.

Analyzing the newsletters  separately we can see results clearly better.

The day the campaign was sent was not an important factor, as we could see different results for campaigns sent in the same day of the week.

In the end, I think the GIFs didn’t make such a big difference.

What made the difference was the themes of the different emails. The topics that users liked most were able to obtain better click rate, and other subjects that did not call so much the attention had a lower rate.

I do believe that animated GIFs and design can make the difference.

But in this case, I think the difference we could see in the click rates of the campaigns was due to the subject of the messages.

As each post has a small preview, the subscriber can see quickly whether it is a topic of interest or not. And if he wants, he can access the post by clicking the link, no matter if this link is more or less highlighted.

The use or not of an animated GIF did not seem to have made a great difference. This is why you should always look at all aspects of when creating your free email marketing campaigns.

Create your own tests, using the  Free email newsletter software offered by Mailrelay.

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