How to make GIFs for MMS Campaigns
Before we begin, let’s address the elephant in the room. Is GIF (Graphic Interlaced Format) pronounced with a hard g sound like the word ‘gift’? Or a soft g like the word “gym”? The answer, according to the creator, is “jiff”.
You’ll likely have seen a GIF in either static or animated form. Animated GIFs appear like videos but are actually image slideshows. GIFs pack a surprising amount of influence that can be leveraged in your MMS marketing. You can use them to incite emotion, tell a story, show off your brand personality, and most importantly, grab attention.
If you’re new to the MMS game, you may wonder how you’re going to create GIFs for each campaign. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create a professional-looking MMS. We’ll show you how to design and make a designer GIF, step-by-step, and for free!
GIF Creation Tools
There are a variety of online tools to make GIFs.
We’ll be using Canva and EzyGIF to create our GIF from scratch. We’ve picked Canva because it’s free, has a large number of templates and unique transition effects. We’ll then show you how to take your Canva GIF and reduce it to under 450Kb using ezGIF. We chose ezGIF because it’s also free and doesn’t require a login. If you require images for your MMS, then Unsplash could be a good option.
Here’s what we’re going to be making:
Adding Animation to Your Images
Step 1: Create a Login to Canva
Create a free Canva account and navigate to “Templates”. You want a template shape that will work well for MMS. Squares are easy, so we’re going to browse Instagram post templates to start.
Customise Your Chosen Template
We’ve chosen a simple End of Season Sale template which comes pre-filled with a placeholder image and text.
- Click the image and press “Delete” on your keyboard to remove this.
- Upload your own background image by clicking the upload icon on the far left
- Click “Upload Media”.
Step 2: Create your slideshow
A GIF requires more than one slideshow frame, so we’re going to click “Add a Page” located underneath to add two more slides. You can add more, however this will increase your file size.
Step 3: Add your own elements
Design is critical to creating a high-impact GIF, but there are a few basics to get you by. Strategically, we recommend choosing the first image as one that can grab the most attention. The next ones should inform your customers on what to do next, like taking advantage of a sale or using a promotion code. Keep text-based images simple and easy to read, and try to refrain from making it too busy.
Here, we’ve uploaded a bright image of a runner.
- Select the text (A toolbar will appear above that allows you to change the colours and alter the font and font size)
- Click the icon as shown to change the colour of your text
- Select your colour
Step 4: Add animation effects (optional)
Add an extra wow-factor to your GIF with Canva’s Animate feature. You’ll find the “Animate” button when you click on an element of your graphic.
Choose your animation style on the panel on the left. The top right corner shows the total time length of your GIF and the “Download” button.
Experiment with adding different transitions and speeds to your elements. You want to ensure you give enough time for a recipient to read the important details but not lose their attention - under 3 seconds is ideal.
We only animated the first “Storewide Sale” slide, as animating all slides can be a sensory overload that will distract the eye from the main message. Ensure any important information, such as promo codes, aren’t lost in the shuffle.
Step 5: Download your GIF
Once you are happy with your GIF, click “Download” from the top right of your screen to export your masterpiece. Select GIF as your format and you’re done. Easy!
Reducing your GIF size with ezGIF
It’s important to note that the file size must not exceed 450KB. Our Canva file is still the size for an Instagram post, so we need to shrink it. Canva’s paid subscription includes resizing tools, however ezGif is free and works well too.
Step 1: Go to ezyGIF.com
Visit Ezygif.com and select “Resize” from the homepage menu.
Step 2. Upload your GIF
Step 3: Change the dimensions
Resize your GIF dimensions to an optimal SMS size. We’ve reduced ours to 450 x 450 pixels and we recommend making your file no smaller than 350 x 350 pixels. Next, click “Resize image!”
Step 4: Check your GIF file size
Our GIF file is now 227Kb - well under our 450Kb goal. We’re now going to click “Save” to download our GIF.
If you weren’t able to reduce your GIF to under 450Kb then you’ll need to try some GIF optimising techniques. You may try:
- Reducing the number of frames and effects
- Reducing the number of colours and/or elements
- Uploading lower resolution or smaller image files to your Canva template
- Optimising your GIF in ezGIF by using the “Optimise” button
With great GIFs comes great responsibility. You’ve put in all this effort, so don’t rush the rest of your MMS steps. Read up on our guide to creating MMS campaigns for inspiring subject lines and tips to compose copy that will drive your bottom line.