Gifs are hugely popular, punctuated videos that are the video equivalent of memes. Memes are images with text that have a tongue-in-cheek view of getting the point across. If you’ve seen a picture of Willy Wonka with a socially charged message or a baby with the fist of victory, you’ve seen a meme.

Understanding memes are important because it sets you up for understanding a gif. A meme can be described as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copies (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.” Your meme might not go viral but it’ll do two things for your email campaign: (1) make it funny and relatable, and (2) increased the chance of it getting shared as a link within the reader’s social network.

Memes are visual communications for a millennial audience. They’re quick, quirky and usually purpose driven. They have the potential to take an image and charge it with your message. You can use either a meme that’s already been created, set up a Pinterest board with your favorite memes to reference as needed, or you can create your own through a meme-generator. However, to get a meme inserted in your email campaign can be a little tricky. There are endless obstacles and steps to ensure recipients are seeing your email marketing. There are also steps you can take to ensure they set up their servers to access those images. Ultimately, though, you’re going to want to rely on a email campaign platform to execute emails with images – and the same goes for videos including gifs.

Gifs – short, partly animated graphics – are the video end of memes. They bring life into you’re email campaign to life in an engaging and impactful way. Email servers are oddly more responsive to gifs (note, gifs and not videos) across most major email servers. Even still, video placement in an email campaign can be tricky; this is where you definitely want to use a campaign tool that guides you on how to insert videos into email.

How you use gifs is another issue. If you’re using gifs, you want to make sure you’re using it to further your email campaign rather than distract from it. For example, it’s a great way to showcase your product or initiate how a client can engage with your brand.

Check out this link for retailers who got it right.

Keep in mind that these examples in the link above all drive the product. Gifs are relatively useless and not so great when you’re using it to essentially distract from product and messaging, in which case it becomes more of a nuisance than a consideration to the reader.

The other point to remember is that gifs and memes are tools to further your message – but they’re not calls to action. No matter how amazing your gif is, you’re still going to need clear calls to action – which means you still need a great copywriter and a designer who can bring that message to life.