How to optimise GIFs for MMS marketing

Animated GIFs tend to be bigger than an image, taking more time to load, and in today’s mobile world, content needs to load quickly.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much are animated GIFs worth? Ten thousand? Done well, they’re as delightful as they are captivating and educational.

But like all things, it has its shortcomings too. Animated GIFs tend to be bigger than an image, taking more time to load, and in today’s mobile world, content needs to load quickly. According to Google, over 50% of mobile traffic bounces if the page takes longer than three seconds to load.

That’s why we put together these tips to help you optimise the size of your animated GIFs. It’ll be beneficial for your MMS marketing campaigns and for all other marketing initiatives.

What is the MMS campaign file size limit?

If you use our MMS marketing services to send campaigns, then your animated GIFs can’t exceed 450 KB.

Note: You might be interested in our MMS design guide. It includes copy and design tips.

How to reduce animated GIF size

The good news is that it’s easy to reduce the size of your file while maintaining its quality (well, most of it). For the following tips, we refer to Adobe Photoshop, but you should still find it useful for other similar tools.

Cut and don’t fade

It’s very common to use fades in presentation slide decks or videos. You can do the same for GIFs, but this effect needs extra colours to help ensure a smooth transition. Instead, use an abrupt cut. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing, but it’ll reduce the file size and still get the message across. Check out the difference:

241 KB GIF 480x720 px - 5 seconds
500 KB GIF 480x720 px - 5 seconds

An abrupt cut reduces the size of this GIF by over 50% (500 KB to 241 KB).

Reduce the frames per second

One easy way to reduce the file size is to reduce the number of frames per second. The animation won’t be as smooth, but fewer frames mean less data for your GIF.

For photos, use a cover overlay

Here’s an example of what we did for an MMS template regarding a networking event. Using a colour overlay dramatically reduces the size of any real imagery that you use.

384 KB GIF 640x640 px - 4 seconds

Use perceptual, selective, or adaptive colour reduction

During export, play around with perceptual, selective, or adaptive colour reduction settings to see which one generates the best results. In most cases, the GIF will look more or less the same, but it’ll drop the size by a few KB.

Experiment with your dither percentage

The dither setting tries to create an effect of a third colour to your eye by using two other colours placed closely together. Lowering the dither percentage typically lowers the file size too.

Reduce the number of colours

By default, the number of colours is set to 256 (highest) during export. Experiment with the lower options available. For some creatives, you can go as low as 16 colours.

Use vector illustrations instead of images

Vector illustrations use fewer colours but appear more colourful. Most people expect graphics like this to have less detail. It’ll still get your message across.

233 KB GIF 480x480 px - 6 seconds

Final Thoughts

While many businesses are anticipating Rich Communication Services, WhatsApp Business Messaging, and Business Messenger services to go mainstream, many choose to use MMS marketing campaigns in the interim.

Contact us to get access to our feature-loaded platform, and see how easy it is to send MMS campaigns with a 14 day free trial. No obligations and no credit card required.