Have you been thinking about adding video or animated gifs to your email but other priorities are keeping your tests from succeeding? Or maybe it’s cross department budgeting and time management that are holding you back? Lets look at three different solutions that can help ease some of the time needed to carry out and test the effectiveness of video and animated gifs in your email messages.

Here are a few tricks to think about when planning on using video in emails:

1 – Vendors offering video in email – There are lots of pay to play video in email clients in the marketplace offering solutions that will automatically take care of many of the challenges of sending video or animated gif’s via email. Challenges like can video be displayed in this email client, should a gif be displayed or should a static image be chosen for the end users as we all know that not every email client is created equal. Thunderbird plays animated gifs, outlook does not… So choose wisely and test your options when looking at vendors.

2 – Some email clients play videos or animated gifs – Gmail and Google app domains show YouTube videos right in the email client allowing consumers to play the video directly from their inboxes. My limited testing also shows that Outlook.com (Hotmail/MSN/etc…) and AOL also allow for videos to play, but Yahoo does not currently. Many desktop email clients and phone also have troubles with animated gifs and video (Outlook), but not all (Thunderbird, Blackberry and iPhone), so your mileage will vary when trying to use the most simple option of just including links and animated gifs into email messages and having people watch them in their email tools of choice.

3 – Creating animated images is hard – If you are like me doing this would normally be beyond my AV editing abilities, and I would not normally consider doing this on my own. But now thanks to the power of the internet and the people of Reddit (that is where I learned about this) there is a way for anyone to have animated images and here is how.

  • Create your video, and edit as usual, then upload to your YouTube channel
  • Note the url of your video and goto http://www.gifyoutube.com (or cheat like I did and just add gif to the start of the URL).
  • Here you will have the option to edit your gif’s – select start time, length of video loop and add any captions you want
  • Once completed save the gif and upload it to your image hosting solution (good idea if you have a CDN) – or note the URL hosted by gifyoutube.com for use in your emails
  • Now you are ready to start using your gifs as you would any other image in email


Here is a YouTube video of one of my Dragon Boat teams race in 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWOw-vkFjoc. We are in lane 4, the close one, if you end up watching, 3rd place by less than 3/10th of a second in the final heat of the day.

After using gifyoutube.com I have a looping Photo Finish that links to the original video:

Animated gif - Photo Finish.

Now animated gifs are easy to make and use in your marketing campaigns without the help of external vendors and time from your creative/design teams.