Interactive emails are ushering email marketing campaigns into a new era. You must have noticed small increments in animation in your emails, such as the change in color of the CTA button when you hover your pointer above it. These small changes increase the interactivity of the emails and help retain the attention of the customers. And with the holiday season coming soon, brands will be competing against each other to create the most engaging email to boost their sales and get a piece of that trillion-dollar pie. Below, we have listed the top interactive elements that are used by brands around the world to boost engagement.

5 most used interactive elements by brands for their emails

interactive elements by brands for their emails

  • GIFs

An average email recipient has an attention span of 11 seconds. If your email fails to get their attention in that time frame, it will end up in the trash can. Therefore, your emails should be eye-catching at first glance. In addition to that, they should also be engaging enough to compel the user to click on the CTA button. GIFs are great at drawing the attention of your customers. These looped videos make your email template look quirky and more appealing to the audience.

The email marketers at Rifle Paper Co thought the same and decided to use a GIF to promote their upcoming Christmas sale. Additionally, they have also used a custom GIF to make their emails stand out in the inbox. Only Santa and the snow are animated, while a static image is used for the rest of the template to reduce the size of their emails.

  • Countdown timers

Countdown timers are a great way to create a sense of urgency in your emails. Customers are more likely to engage with an email having a time-bound offer as compared to an email with a simple discount code. The countdown timer can be used to remind the user about the expiry date of their coupon codes or to inform them about an upcoming sale. The countdown timer can also be used with cart abandonment emails to increase sales. HTML countdown timers are preferred over GIF timers as they are real-time and won’t loop back to the original time. You can find free HTML email templates online with built-in countdown timers.

In the following example, Harry’s has used a countdown timer in their holiday campaign email. The HTML countdown timer is the main attraction, and email copy is only present to provide context to the timer. They have also used an image of their gift box to improve the sale of that particular product. Finally, their call to action offers one-day shipping to further incentivize the customer to visit their website.

Countdown timers

  • Gamification

Gamification of an email takes interactivity to the next level. Gamification means using game elements in your emails such as RPG,  action, and reward functions to engage the reader. Customers find gamified emails amusing and entertaining; such emails are not an everyday occurrence. The games in these emails are short and instantly give out rewards to cater to their instant gratification needs.

EmailMonks, now known as Email Uppers, managed to create an extremely interactive game for their email campaign. Such emails are difficult to create and require extensive HTML and CSS coding knowledge. Moreover, emails like this have larger file sizes and might take a while to load on the reader’s device. But emails like this are worth the time and investment.

  • Rollover effect

The Rollover effect, also known as the mouseover effect, is quite prevalent in the eCommerce space. This feature allows the website to show alternate descriptions of the products if you hover your mouse over them. The mouseover effect allows you to pack more information about a product without cluttering a page. Now, the same effect can be coded into your free HTML email templates to make them more effective.

B&H Photo Video uses the rollover effect in their email templates to highlight the holiday deals. Even this little bit of interactivity in your email is more than enough to entice your reader to hang around a little bit longer. In fact, B&H photo video capitalizes on this to showcase their entire product line-up.

Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uppers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email Conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing campaigns. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blogs.

  • Scratch card

Another fun way to extend offers to your customers is to send scratch cards via email. The scratch cards are fun as they stoke the curiosity of the customer and make them interact with the email. Upon scratching the coupons with their mouse pointer, they are instantly rewarded and incentivized to visit the web pages.

goBahamasPlus uses the scratch card effect in their email to make the reader engage more. The virtual cards offer various discounts and coupon codes which can then be redeemed on their website.


Scratch card

Simple text emails are now a thing of the past. Earlier, brands were fighting to gain the customer’s attention; now, brands are competing against each other to retain the attention of their customers. Evolving and adapting your emails to the current trends is the only way to stand out in the inbox of your subscribers. And interactivity helps you do that.

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