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Jordan Lane Featured in Marketing VOX!

Jordan Lane, from, was featured Marketing VOX! Click here to read the article or see below. 

Repurposing GIFs for Email Marketing

Marketers leery of the pitfalls of video email marketing can get the best of both worlds by repurposing a Web 1.0 technology: GIFs - or Graphics Interchange Format - as a substitute, according to Jordan Lane, at Email Responsibly, a website managed by Experian CheetahMail.

It is a stable alternative for a format that, while promising, is still in early days with glitch-prone technology and oftentimes surprising additional costs.

Viewers' experience can be surprisingly poor with online video, a recent study by video analytics company Tubemogul found.  Rebuffers are commonplace, occurring in 6.84% of all streams. When they happen, viewers navigate away 81.19% of the time rather than wait for the video to re-load.

Still, though, the allure of video marketing is hard to resist - it is seen as a top strategy for 2010, according to SEO; Forrester Research predicts the global online video advertising market will reach $7.2 billion by 2012.

Nostalgic Twenty-Somethings

Animated GIF addresses many of these issues, Lane argues in his post. First, though, an explanation of GIF: it is a compressed file format that can loop static images together to create low tech mini-movies. In 1996, animated GIFs were cutting-edge Web art, but have since been supplanted by flash animation and streaming video.

Recently, though, there has been a resurgence of its use in banners, primarily driven by twenty-something web designers nostalgic for the technology of their teens (via Globe and Mail).

There has also been a recent surge in the use of Animated GIFs in email, according to Email Responsibly.

Technology advances that streamline the conversion of video into highly compressed animated GIFs now keep file size manageable, Lane notes.

There are disadvantages to using animated GIFs as a substitute for true video, on the other hand, starting with lack of player control and the fact that some browsers and email applications process the animation differently.

If marketers do opt for animated GIFs, Lane suggests the following:
  • Make the animation the focal point of the email so subscribers interact with the video - not pass over it.
  • Make sure the first and last frames of the video look particularly good because only the first frame of an Animated GIF will display in Outlook 2007 and if the video is not set to loop infinitely, the last frame of the video will be the "last frame standing" once the animation completes.
  • Keep the size of the animated GIF to a minimum. Reducing the number of colors per frame from 256 to 128 can decrease the size of a video GIF by a quarter without noticeably impacting output quality.

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