Ever visited a primitive cave? If yes, the paintings on the walls must certainly have fascinated you, taking you back in time. Now imagine reading a 1000 page ancient piece of literature on the same topic. Nay, not appealing!

Visuals effectively tell stories; they have done so since ages. And man’s love for communicating through visuals hasn’t changed with time.

Brands have used visual media or ‘Rich Media’ as an effective email marketing tool to connect with their prospects and customers over the years.

Reason: Email marketing MUST be engaging, and rich media efficaciously evokes emotion, drawing greater engagement.

What is rich media?

Rich media is defined as a broad range of interactive digital media that exhibit dynamic motion, taking advantage of enhanced sensory features such as video, audio and animation.

Audio, Static images, GIFs, Cinemagraphs and Videos are email’s ‘Celebrated five’, all with unique individual qualities. And with email clients and
ISPs now helping them sail smoothly, they are taking the email marketing world by storm.


marketers say visual marketing is the most important form of content for their business, second to blogging (38%).

Dell, using animation
in one of their email
campaigns, experienced


increase in
conversion rate.
So, we are keeping brother ‘Audio’ aside to focus on just visual media. And to make it easy to understand how ‘the celebrated four’ can transform a plain text email into an amazing piece of art that is loved by all, Uplers take you through this adventurous journey.

A travel agency, say ‘The Tour Company’, wishes to send a Valentine’s Day promotional email to
Juliet, their email subscriber. Here are the
different approaches they can take,
the advantages and limitations of each,
and how to overcome the limitations.


  • The main advantage of sending text emails is that they reach all your subscribers. Also, subscribers view the exact same copy as you had sent.
  • These emails are very easy to create with no coding complications. All you have to do is write an amazing copy, like this one.


  • With limited formatting options, you are unable to offer different colors and fonts in the email.
  • With no attractive images, the email looks drab; cannot grab the attention of all.
  • Works for subscribers who are looking for a particular holiday or have the time to read all your content.
  • It’s an old practice, won’t be effective at all these days.

GIF in Email


  • Simple animated GIF in email boosts conversions by 49%.
  • They are comparatively easy to create if you have the resources.
  • You can display ample content/images in restricted space.
  • They enjoy good support across browsers and major email clients.
  • They add an element of delight to the campaign, like they do in this email, considerably increasing engagement.
  • Crisp information shared in limited space, allows subscribers to stay focused.


  • GIFs don’t quite work everywhere. Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 do not support GIFs; they display only the first frame of animation.
  • GIFs with many frames may have a huge file size, slowing down the loading time of an email.

Overcoming Limitations

  • Email clients that don‘t support GIFs are likely to show the first frame of the GIF. Make sure all important information, including the CTA, makes it to the first frame (i.e. the fallback image).
  • Large GIF files may be slow to load and cut into subscribers’ data plans. Compress the GIF ; so no compromise in quality.
  • GIFs scale to mobile but just to be on the safer side, it’s better to create a mobile version with a GIF of 320px width.

Embedded Video in Email


  • Videos provide a great UX. Don’t you agree after seeing this video? It’s the perfect way to make your subscribers dream about the vacation.
  • For those looking to build a brand, embedded video can help to showcase company’s personality.
  • Background videos are attractive and they are supported by Apple mail, Chrome and Safari (web versions).


  • HTML5 video is only supported by a few email clients. In fact, you can depend on only Apple mail when it comes to embedded videos.
  • The massive file size can be a turnoff.

Overcoming Limitations

  • Set a fallback image that is relevant to your video and goes well with the rest of the email. Also, don’t forget to add alt text.
  • The heavy size and limited support can be overcome by giving a cinemagraph as a fallback.

Cinemagraph in Email


  • As you can see in this email, seamless looping creates an illusion of a video.
  • The emphasis of cinemagraphs is on aesthetic; making the email attractive.
  • As the focus of animation is on only one element, recipient’s attention is driven to the most important part in the email.
  • As compared to videos, they are easier and cheaper to create and still give the feel of a video.
  • They encourage more engagement as they are ‘nice’ to share.
  • Small file size format offers easy consumption.
  • They enjoy the support of most email clients.


  • Newer versions of Outlook do not support cinemagraphs and may only show first frame as fallback image.
  • File size may be a deterrent.

Overcoming Limitations

  • First frame of your cinemagraph should not only make sense but also convey all the essential information for email clients who don’t support them.
  • Alt tags for the image shall help you convey the message which the missing media couldn’t.
  • There are several tools available that help to compress the file; make sure you do so.

Now you know how rich media adds that pinch of awesomeness to your emails. Good luck with your next

Rich Media Campaign

If the curious cat in you wants to dig deeper into the details, here’s our EBOOK, ‘GIF, Video, or Cinemagraph? Make the Right Choice.’

Download Now

Uplers design and code flawless emails, newsletter templates, landing pages, and digital assets such as banners.
In addition, we also offer email automation and campaign management services.
To know more, email us at contact@uplers.com or visit email.uplers.com