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Animation in Email: 3 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Fall For

Litmus Live Replay
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Earlier this year, we identified animation as one of the top email design trends for 2019. Email marketers everywhere are looking to create dynamic, engaging emails with the help of animations—whether that’s through the use of animated GIFs or code-driven CSS animations.

But to truly take advantage of the power of animations, you have to use them the right way, said Evan Diaz from Lucky Red Pixel in his talk at Litmus Live Boston this year. Unfortunately, marketers don’t always do that. If you’re considering adding animations to your next campaign, make sure you don’t fall for these common mistakes:

1. Animations are too distracting

In most cases, animations are thought to enhance your email design to make it more appealing. But it’s surprisingly easy to cross the line from a helpful animation to one that distracts from your email’s goal and is annoying for your subscribers.

An animation that’s done well should grab your reader’s attention, but also allow them to let go and move on to what you really want them to do: reading the content or clicking a CTA. Using too many animations in one email—or using one that’s too flashy or too prominent—might catch your reader’s eye, but it won’t help make your emails more effective.

Learn the simple tricks to helpful animations →

2. Image files are too large (and take too long to load)

Animated GIFs are prone to excessive file sizes. In an increasingly mobile world, file size can play an important part in any email program. Extremely large GIFs cut into subscribers’ data plans and can be slow to load and play—both of which are frustrations that no subscriber should have to deal with.

Keep your image file sizes between 1MB and 3MB to ensure your animations load quickly and don’t use too much data. How do you do that, you ask? Watch Evan’s talk to learn how you can reduce file sizes for your animated GIFs.

3. Animations bloat up production time (and budgets)

Animations take longer to produce than simple imagery. The more complex your animation is, the more it will impact your production times—and your budget, too. Set realistic expectations with your team when you map out design work for a campaign that includes animations.

Is an advanced animation that takes days of design work for a single email really worth the extra effort? Less is often more, especially when you’re just starting to use animations in your campaigns. Adding subtle animation with a few frames using existing imagery as a base can be just as powerful as brand new, fancy animations your team needs to create from scratch. Start with that.

Check out Evan’s talk to see some great examples of animations that make an impact without eating up your design resources.

Avoid the biggest mistakes and master the art of animation in email

But how do you create animations that support your email’s goal and delight your subscribers—all while keeping file sizes low and production times short?

Watch Evan’s full Litmus Live talk and learn how to master the art of animation in email marketing.


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Bettina Specht

Bettina Specht

Bettina Specht was the Senior Content & Lifecycle Campaigns Manager at Litmus