Whenever I talk to new clients or other copywriter friends who don’t specialize in email, one question that keeps coming up is…
Question: When/How often should I use emojis and GIFs in my emails?
Answer: It depends. (I can’t help it! It’s true.)
Define your brand personality
If you’re looking for advice (and statistics to back it up) about using emojis and GIFs in your emails, first think about if and how they fit your brand’s personality.
Brands that are more playful and casual and sell certain types of products tend to have an audience that’s more likely to enjoy seeing emojis & GIFs (and these may drive better results, too).
There’s no hard and fast rule saying you should or shouldn’t use these visual brand awareness builders.
The only way to know what works for your audience is to test it. (You might be surprised what you find 😉.)
To emoji or not to emoji… that is the question.
If you’re looking to increase your email open rates, using an emoji in the subject line might do the trick.
Email on acid found that emojis in the subject line can increase open rates by 60%.
These stats are convincing :
✓ The open rate of emails with emojis in the subject line is 56% higher compared to the plain subject lines. [Experian]
✓ 44% of users are more likely to purchase products advertised using emojis. [Adobe Emoji Trend Report]
✓ Using emojis in the subject line can lead to an increase in unique openings by 29%. [Swiftpage]
✓ Using emojis in the subject line can lead to an increase in unique click rate by 28%. [Swiftpage]
Emojis can attract the eye in the crowded inbox, boosting visibility and awareness of your brand.
Emojis can be used as a modern-day ‘body language,’ creating a tone without using any words at all.
And emojis can become a ‘part of your brand’… like if you use one particular emoji consistently and your audience starts to associate that image with your business.
Emojis are flashy. And flashy isn’t always the message you’re trying to convey. Some readers (and brands) find that emojis can be tacky or unprofessional. The attention they attract isn’t always positive.
With so many brands using emojis in their emails, you might not stand out in a crowded inbox… and instead, you blend in with a trend everyone else is practicing.
Not all operating systems support emojis. And not all emojis are accessible, so your reader might miss your intended message.
Follow these tips if you want to dabble with emojis:
Consider your audience. A study by Braze found that men tend to find emojis more inappropriate than women. Consider age (older generations might not know the meaning behind certain emojis) and geography (some emojis are offensive in certain cultures).
Be strategic! Using less-common emojis will help you stand out. Placing them at the beginning of a subject line will help avoid them getting cut off. Want to be more subtle? Use an emoji in the preview text (not the subject line).
Use emojis sparingly. Emoji overkill is a no-no, no matter what your brand sells.
Test, optimize, and test again. I’m a broken record on testing… but it’s essential to find what works best for your audience using actual data rather than guessing.
GIFs: yay or nay?
I don’t know about you… but I’m a sucker for GIFs in email.
But even though GIFs are trendy in emails right now, the more important question is: do they work?
Annnd… wait for it…
Let’s back up. Maybe you’re not familiar with GIFs.
What’s a GIF, you ask?
Formally, GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It’s an animated image that produces the illusion of motion. (See David above.)
Is it pronounced GIF (like God) or JIF (like peanut butter)?
I don’t really know. And I don’t really care, honestly. (But I say GIF.)
Using GIFs in emails is a great way to grab attention and break up blocks of copy.
GIFs are a way to show what your product does — in action with real people or to display packaging or directions for using certain products.
GIFs are a great way to add humor to an email.
And since embedded videos don’t work in emails, they’re a great alternative to video.
There are downsides to using GIFs, too.
GIFs aren’t always accessible to all readers. The flashing can trigger people with photo sensitivities. Readers who are visually impaired might have difficulty reading or reviewing GIF content.
If you use GIFs, make sure to…
✓ Add alt text
✓ Avoid those with poor background transparency
✓ Keep your file size down, so they load quickly
For my numbers people, Campaign Monitor found that using GIFs in emails boosted clicks and conversion rates by 103%.
Not too shabby!
As always, it’s essential to test with your audience to see if GIFs boost engagement and conversions.
But it’s worth a try, for sure.
Want better email open rates, higher conversions, and more profit in your pocket? Yeah, you do. Learn how to improve your email game in this guide.
Good vibes only, promise.