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Video vs GIF, What Are The Facts?
Video vs GIF, What Are The Facts?

Playable breaks down video email versus animated GIFs in email.

Anthony Mansour avatar
Written by Anthony Mansour
Updated over a week ago

One of the most asked questions to the Playable team is about Video vs GIF. So here is the breakdown of a few facts that can answer those questions:

1. GIFs are only 256 colors, everything else is in millions of colors!

  • 80% of Playable's video emails are watched in HD (High Definition) or Retina Display quality with formats like HEVC & MP4 instead of a GIF

  • Globally we are already watching videos on devices capable of 4K/8K resolution, connected to high-speed 5G & WiFi networks. Its no surprise that a 256-color GIF in high definition reminds us of a VHS video. ;P

2. Playable optimizes the video to the individual in real time.

  • Animated GIFs are a ‘one-size-fits-all” solution, unable to utilize the capabilities of today's technology to play a higher quality video wherever possible.

  • Playable's unique & patented platform optimizes the video or live streams to the individual in real-time, as the email is opened.

  • We optimize each viewer's video format, frame rate, and resolution depending on the device, email client, and network connection to ensure every viewer enjoys quick loading times and the best viewing experience possible.

3. A few email clients only use GIFs... the rest are HD formats!

The majority of viewers watch HD videos by email. Here is a list of email clients and their supported video formats:

  • Apple Mail: MP4, H.264, HEVC

  • Apple iPhone Mail (iOS12+): MP4, H.264, HEVC

  • Apple iPhone Mail (iOS11 & earlier): PNG

  • Apple iPad Mail: MP4, H.264, HEVC

  • Google Android: WEBP

  • Gmail: GIF

  • Outlook for Mac: MP4, H.264

  • GIF

  • WEBP

  • Outlook 2007-2016 for Windows: Static Image (<2% of consumer campaigns)

  • Samsung Mail: WEBP

  • Yahoo! Mail: GIF

  • Yahoo! Mail (Chrome): WEBP

4. Videos can appear anywhere a GIF does.

  • One of the biggest misconceptions is that Video Email can only play on a few email clients. THIS IS WRONG. As shown in the list above.

  • Video Email will appear everywhere a GIF is supported. Playable uses video GIFs to ensure our GIFs outperform animated GIFs by at least 20%.

5. Compression works better for HD video than GIFs

  • Playable's compression technology delivers HD videos with an average file size of 1.5Mb, and new technology like HEVC continues to see that fall.

  • A GIF with the same video content can be 8 to 10 times the file size with a noticeable difference in the final quality.

6. No payload, or data charges, until the video email is opened

  • Playable's HD Video is only delivered to an email when opened, rather than added to the initial payload like a GIF or other attachments.

  • If the email is not opened, no data is used or charged to the user.

Video Email is about the quality of content, both within the video and how it is consumed. Playable does all the hard lifting to ensure every person gets the best engagement possible.

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