How to Create, Add and Send Animated GIFs in Outlook Emails

Alex Cleary


Employee Email

People love GIFs; they evoke emotions where words fall short. That’s why more and more people are using animated GIFs in email in addition to their social media. 

GIFs can make your emails more engaging and visually appealing. They can make your email content stand out amidst the countless emails your employees receive in a day.

But what makes GIFs so effective, and how can you use them to make your emails pop? We’ll show you the various uses of GIFs in emails, and how you can make and send your own animated GIFs in emails to your employees.

Turn emails into engaging conversations

What Are GIFs?

Graphics Interchange Format files—more commonly known as GIFs—are files that contain multiple images that play in quick succession, simulating a moving image.

GIFs have exploded in popularity with the rise of the internet, and even more so with the subsequent rise of social media. They can be powerful tools to take your emails to the next level.

Why use animated GIFs in email?

Animated GIFs are a great resource for creating unique and engaging internal email designs. By embedding animated GIFs in your Outlook emails, you can:

  • Create a fun and playful tone in your internal communications;
  • Enhance your email design with unique visuals and familiar memes;
  • Save space having to describe products or processes to your employees;
  • Grab your employees’ attention and direct them to certain parts of your email; and
  • Make your internal communications more similar to the content your employees seek out in their free time.

Ultimately, animated GIFs are just one of many tools you can use to tailor your internal communications to your organization’s employer brand values and to your employees’ interests.

Animated GIF Email Examples

GIFs can be used in all kinds of ways in emails. While most people tend to use GIFs as ways to communicate an emotion, sentiment, or joke, they can be used to tie all of your email content together.

We think it’s helpful to classify GIFs into three different categories:

Entertaining GIFs add fun and feeling to your internal newsletters

People like GIFs because they can convey or provoke emotion more powerfully than words alone—much like other visual multimedia like television and movies.

Use entertaining GIFs to add a bit of humor to your email newsletters. “Reaction GIFs” is a particularly popular genre:

Entertaining GIFs are great for communicating a certain emotion or tone in your emails. We suggest using entertaining GIFs to spice up your email newsletters, or to add some fun into your new employee welcome emails or employee appreciation emails.

Wondering how to put a GIF in an email? With ContactMonkey’s email template builder, you can easily format your emails to have your GIFs appear exactly where you want them. Using a dedicated email tool like ContactMonkey takes the guesswork out of inserting animated GIFs into emails in Outlook.

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Informative GIFs communicate ideas faster than words

GIFs are a great way to convey extra-textual information to reinforce your email copy. Check out how Banana Republic uses this GIF to show the different colour versions of their face masks:

Banana Republic animated GIF example

You can use both video GIFs and graphic GIFs for informational purposes. Just be sure to avoid overdoing it: too many GIFs can be overwhelming for an animated email, and your message will get lost.

Informative GIFs are great for showcasing various products or services available to your employees. For example, if you offer company-branded clothing to your employees, use an informative GIF to show the various colours or designs available for your employees to purchase.

Aesthetic GIFs give your internal emails identity and personality

Insert animated GIFs into your Outlook emails to add an artistic flourish and direct your recipients’ attention. Instead of embedding GIFs in your emails to convey information or get a chuckle, GIFs used for aesthetic purposes can direct the readers’ attention or add depth to an otherwise flat image.

Do you include a company logo with your email newsletters? Trying creating an animated logo and embedding it in your emails. Check out Slack‘s GIF logo:

animated GIF of Slack logo

Ultimately, you want your GIF content to enhance the message you’re communicating. Aesthetic GIFs can be used to enhance the design of your internal emails, but we suggest refraining from using them in important internal communications like crisis communications and leadership communications.

Adding GIFs to Outlook Emails Using ContactMonkey

How do you send a GIF in email quickly and easily? With ContactMonkey’s email design software, you can easily add GIFs into your emails.

Create a new email template within ConactMonkey’s email template builder. You can either start from scratch or choose a pre-made template from our library of professionally-designed email templates.

Once you’ve selected the template you’d like, add your email content and determine where you’d like to place your GIF. Your GIF placement will depend on what kind of GIF you’d like to feature.

When you know where you want to place your GIF, create a space within the row for it, or add a new row. Then simply drag the GIF content block from the sidebar onto where you want it to appear on your email template:

Screenshot of animated GIF tile embedded into an email template using ContactMonkey's email template builder.

From there, you’ll have the option to search GIPHY’s massive library of GIFs to find the one you’d like to use:

Image of GIPHY library within ContactMonkey's email template builder

You can search and embed GIFs in seconds wherever you’d like. Once you’ve picked the GIF you’d like to use, you can view how it looks within your template:

Remember: adding an animated GIF to your email or email newsletter should add to your content, distract from it. Always choose a GIF that accentuates your internal communication.

Want to try ContactMonkey yourself? Book a free demo to see our email template builder in action.

How to Create GIFs in Email

There are several different approaches for how to a create GIF for email, and the best method will depend on your goal.

Finding GIFs for your internal communications

If you’re sending out an email to a couple of friends, then you probably don’t need a custom GIF. There are plenty of great resources that provide millions of free GIFs. Websites like GIPHY, Tenor, and Reddit, are all great sources for those wanting to send GIFs in your emails.

As we mentioned before, you can easily browse GIPHY’s library of animated GIFs directly from ContactMonkey’s email template builder.

Create video GIFs for personalized email design

Creating video GIFs is pretty easy! Simply find a piece of video you’d like to turn into a GIF and save it on your computer as an MP4: this format is compatible with nearly every GIF creation software and is easy to edit.

Using Quicktime or any similar software, trim your video clip so that just the part you want to loop remains.

Pro-tip: GIFs that loop seamlessly look best. Try to ensure the final frame of your video looks similar to the first frame.

Once you’re finished trimming your MP4, upload it to any number of GIF creation websites. Our favourite is EzGif. Simply follow the onscreen instructions to convert your MP4 file into GIF format.

Design graphic GIFs to boost your internal branding

Not all GIFs are taken from video files. For those designing email newsletters or other mass email communications, GIFs can serve to accentuate content rather than exist as content itself.

Notice their use of GIFs: not videos, but rather just two alternating frames, to give the effect of lamps turning on and off. This small detail makes a big difference in making your email content stand out.

Creating this type of GIF takes more work than video GIFs, because it has to be custom and match the rest of your content.

We recommend designing the rest of your email content and then determining which aspects of your email you’d like animated. This is the most effective way for how to embed a GIF in an Outlook email.

Once you’ve determined what you’d like to design, import your content into a photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop you can design and combine a series of frames that will play consecutively, creating the illusion of motion.

Photoshop lets you export your GIFs in varying quality, which is perfect for inserting an animated GIF in HTML and not surpassing the size limits. Pick the most appropriate image quality so you can insert your GIF into Outlook emails without any issues or slowdowns.

Measure GIFs Effectiveness

Now that you know how to send a GIF in an email, how can you measure if it’s a hit?

Track in-depth email analytics with metrics like Open Rate, Click Through Rate, Opens by device and location, and more with our campaign dashboard. This can help you gauge how your employees are engaging with emails featuring GIFs.

Click maps give you a detailed look at what parts of your emails are being engaged with by your recipients:

Screenshot of ContactMonkey's click maps feature.

If you find that your recipients are drawn to animated GIFs, consider adding a GIF to your Outlook email adjacent to important information in order to draw their attention.

Want more qualitative feedback? Pinpoint exactly what content is being engaged with and cater your email newsletter to your audience by receiving anonymous feedback from your recipients based on pointed questions:

Screenshot of employee survey results with anonymous employee feedback within ContactMonkey's campaign overview dashboard.

Creating your best content doesn’t have to be a guessing game; with ContactMonkey you can deploy a data-driven approach to your email content to find the best places to embed animated GIFs into your Outlook emails.

If your organization has internal or external regulations around email privacy, try using ContactMonkey’s anonymous email tracking and anonymous employee comments to gather email metrics and feedback while maintaining your employees’ privacy.

Whip up emails your employees want to open

GIFs Make Your Content Better

You get out of your emails what you put in. Learning how to insert GIFs in Outlook emails is a surefire way to increase engagement. Working with remote teams? Combine GIFs with your remote teams communication tools to increase engagement with your remote and hybrid workforce.

Think about the content your recipients likely consume on a daily basis. Doesn’t it make sense to try and sync up the content you’re sending to people with the content they’re actively seeking out? Videos, GIFs, and virtual reality for corporate communications all give your employees an engaging communications experience.

Learn exactly what your recipients want to see, and easily deliver it to them, with ContactMonkey. Equipped with a powerful drag-and-drop email template builder and advanced email tracking metrics, you’ll see a spike in interest in your email content after embedding animated GIFs into your Outlook emails.

…and it’s pronounced “Giff”, not “Jiff”.

Want to take your email newsletter content to the next level with ContactMonkey? Book a free demo with one of our experts to find out how to boost employee engagement with great email content and in-depth tracking.