It’s a discussion that a lot of e-mail marketers love to get involved in. Can you include an animated gif in an email message? Will that be a problem for the spam filters? And what will be the reaction of the recipient? In the case of Dell, not a bad reaction at all!
With animated gifs you can tell a complete story. You can make it funny or more serious by letting the images support and amplify your message. At Dell, they used a different approach. Not only did they place the moving image centrally, but they made it the essential element of the message.
Showing a new concept
The marketing department faced a challenge. For the Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook they had to introduce a completely new concept in the market. It was a laptop that could be transformed into a tablet by rotating the screen. This new device is a part of the new trend of convertible devices. Something that can be hard to explain in words, especially during an introduction. Just as with the introduction of a convertible car, the visual element is key: you want to see the hood open. And with Dell, you want to see the screen turn.
Moving in an infinite loop
The solution was easy. With an animated gif they created a movie that showed a laptop screen turn into a tablet screen in an infinite loop. The message was clear by simply looking at the image. A concept that nobody knew about was clear in a matter of seconds. A print ad would never have the same effect. On top of that a strategy with an animated gif fits perfectly with what research has been showing for years. Your contacts first look at your email message before they start reading.
Very short animation
The text of the email message was written before the animated image was created. With the tag line “Go from dreaming to doing in a flip” they had an extra argument to choose for animated images. In the gif they put an extra message. The screen is filled by Windows 8, which immediately made the positioning of the device in a specific market segment clear. They also played with speed and duration of the animation. The original animation of more than 10 seconds was brought back to just a couple of seconds. The time that a working person spends on an email message, before he starts reading.
Weighed against benchmarks
They didn’t do any A/B testing. The campaign was sent directly to an existing mailing list of clients and prospects in the United States. The score of this not so typical Dell email campaign was then compared to the benchmark numbers that Dell calculates quarterly for its own digital campaigns. The results were stunning. The open rate increased with 6%. But the click rate got already a 42% increase. Which lead to an increase of 103% in conversion rate and a elevation in turnover of 109%. Clearly a success.
And that gives us a lot of answers to the question if an animated gif could be a good idea for an email message. We would like to point out that the gif didn’t serve as illustration, but was a key element of the message. The gif has a clear goal.
We’re still left with one concern. If you’re sending an animated gif, will it be displayed correctly? We already wrote an article about this question.
And yes, in most email clients it is shown, except for the Outlook clients (as with some other more complex strategies). It is important that you have a look at which devices your contacts are using. If you decide to use an animated gif, make sure the first frame of the gif is clear enough to help understand the message!
Are you already using animated gifs or do you plan to use them in the future? Let us know in the comments!