If your email design is looking a bit ‘flat’ you might want to consider using an animated GIF to liven up your design. Although not commonly used in emails due to their impact on email file size and the extra work involved in creating them, animated GIFs can act as ‘design delighters’ for your subscribers and bring life to your designs.
Paul Boag referred to the use of animated GIFs in website design as:
Animated gifs can breathe some much needed life into the imagery on your website. They grab the users attention and act as design delighters, making your site stand out from that of the competition.
The same is true for emails. Not only do they grab the attention, animated GIFs can serve a more practical purpose by displaying more information about a product, while doing so in the limited space of an email.
For example, you can show how a shoe looks from multiple angles, how clothes move on a model, different outfit options for a jacket, or the range of colors or designs that a handbag comes in.
As I mentioned above, the main caveat for using animated GIFs in emails is the potential increase in filesize, especially if you are animating larger images.
In the list of examples below, the largest ones top out at 700-800KB, and file size is recognized as one of the factors that can impact email deliverability. So, use your animated GIFs judiciously and always try to minimize the size of the image that is being animated.
The selection of emails below provide a variety of examples of creative uses of animated GIFs in emails.
Last Call by Neiman Marcus