GIFs are little audio-less seconds-long loops of video intended to be a more expressive means to reacting and sharing emotion on the internet. GIFs aren’t a new technology; GIF, an acronym for the Graphics Interchange Format, was developed in the late 1980s and, until recently, GIFs have remained relatively dormant in the blogosphere.
GIFs made their “resurgence” during the 2016 Presidential Election as a way for people to describe their feelings about the political candidates through visual reaction and story-telling. Due to this, you should consider using GIFs in your digital marketing strategy.
Really? GIFs for marketing?
GIFs are fun to look at and draw the attention of a reader instantly with quick and flashy bits of animation. They help to prevent potential misinterpretation of text by showing a reaction or other relevant footage. John Rampton in Forbes points out that this disconnect between text and emotion “has been the downfall of some marketing campaigns.”
Companies like Giphy also make creating and accessing several types of GIFs for use accessible for even the most “out-of-touch” marketer. People can use their footage and photos to create GIFs and put them in newsletters and on blogs, using Giphy’s GIF Maker to create custom bite-sized animations that speak reflect your brand’s message.
Most email service providers like Mailchimp and virtually all major social media outlets now support GIFs in one capacity or another.
Consider these ideas if you use GIFs for your marketing
- GIFs can explain complex topics: Using a GIF for a campaign email or a social media post can be useful. For example, you can use a GIF that displays anger at an opponent, a particular policy, or another issue that fits your platform.
- Attractive website design option: Cinemagraphic GIFs are high-quality video loops that can be used on a website to show an interactive display of visuals that represent corporate culture, a candidate’s issue platform, or a documentation of a person or groups history.
- Social media posts: GIFs have been proven to engage target audiences on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
- Email marketing campaigns: Inserting GIFs into your call to action emails could bring to life a flat, text-heavy email and could improve open and click rates.
Know your limits
GIFs are great at setting the tone for any campaign. Rather than constant text and emojis, the change of media keeps topics fresh and digestible.
However, you do need to know the appropriate times and marketing verticals to use GIFs. You also need to measure whether your content can be used for educational or entertainment purposes. This goes double for using GIFs that are hard to understand. Simply put, something that you may find entertaining might not have the same reaction with your audience.
All of this can be resolved through testing to determine which approach works best, as does any new element to a marketing strategy.