In this article, Chad White offers some great tips for those who want to include animation in their emails:
1. Use animated gifs instead of Flash because of email client, support and rendering issues.
2. Animation is a more attractive tool if most of your subscribers have broadband Internet access.
3. Keep image file sizes small (50K or less) in order to minimize hard bounces.
4. Send test creative to email accounts at Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook, Gmail, etc. to ensure delivery. Or better yet, use a rendering testing tool.
5. Make sure that the first frame of the animated gif contains useful information in case the subsequent frames are blocked. Avoid fade-ins. [I'd advise you to pay special attention to the first AND the last frame. I've noticed that some email clients only show the last frame, where others only shows the first frame.]
6. Provide a link to the online version of the email, as some subscribers will have problems viewing any images.
7. Make the animation cycle last at least a few times so readers can catch portions they may have missed the first time. And keep the animation at a good pace.
8. Don't go overboard with animation, as too much can distract the reader.
When would you use animation? Here are 5 strategies that emerged after examining more than 100 retail emails with animation:
1. Animation packs more into limited real estate by demonstrating an assortment of products or features. This strategy is becoming more attractive as more and more email clients adopt preview panes, limiting the viewing area of emails.
2. Animation draws the eye to less visible screen real estate, such as items below the fold.
3. Animation demonstrates critical product features that drive revenue and increase sales.
4. Animation adds visual interest to emails, particularly around holidays.
5. Animation emphasizes certain messages and key copy elements in emails.