The use of GIFs in Marketing has become second nature to us. We use them in messaging, emails, blogs, social media and more.
In this post, we take a look at what types of GIFs you can use, how to use GIFs in marketing and how to make GIFs.
The fun team at Visme have created one of the most engaging infographics I’ve seen in a while. It’s all about our love of GIFs in Marketing. So I decided to share it with you (with their permission).
As you probably know, I love GIFs and I’ve recently had my own GIPHY Brand Channel approved, which means that my GIFs are now searchable on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Messaging apps.
Pretty cool, right?
But for now, I wanted to share with you some of the cool features of Visme’s infographic with you. The infographic also dives into:
- The types of GIFs and where to use them
- Different Ways to use GIFs in your marketing
- How to Make GIFs (and I have some bonus tools for you too!)
What is a GIF and why should I care?
I wrote about GIFs here. GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” which basically means it’s a file that’s compressed to reduce transfer time (Or…. I like to call them looping animated video snippets).
And we need to address the elephant in the room… nobody can agree on how to pronounce the term GIF, so just run with whatever feels comfortable for you.
I like the definition from Digital Trends where they described GIFs as “animated silent loops”. They also said that “GIFs have become the emotional currency on the web, allowing people to react in ways that words just don’t allow”.
It’s true – we can say with GIFs what we sometimes can’t say with words. And they have many applications.
The Infographic – Everything you need to know about GIF Marketing
Before we jump into more things GIF, let’s take a look at the cool infographic from the team at Visme, then we’ll break it down:
Created with Visme
Types of GIFs
A number of GIF types are featured on the infographic. Let’s break them down, with a few extras:
- Reaction GIFs – these are the GIFs we mostly see on social and messaging apps. We use them to comment and react to posts.
- Illustration and Cartoon GIFs – these GIFs were illustrated by an artist and then turned into a GIF. Some amazing art is featured on Giphy.
- Illusion GIFs – these can be quite amazing to look at but don’t look too long or you’ll go cross-eyed. Use in moderation.
- Cinemegraphs – these are (still) photos with one animated section – it could be the river that is flowing or the subject’s hair bloging in the wind. They can be quite beautiful and relaxing to view and have a lot of potential for advertising.
- Branded GIFs – these are GIFs that are more overtly branded, with logos, or product releases or sale items. Used sparingly they can be great for advertising. Most savvy brands who create GIFs are realising that if they can create shareable content that is not necessarily super branded, it often gets shared and used more.
I have a bunch of reaction GIFs on my Giphy Channel (feel free to use them) and I love using them to reply to tweets, Facebook posts and comments, like this:
And of course many of the GIFs we see in comments are snippets of movies and usually pretty hilarious! Here’s a classic “I’m just here to see the comments” GIF.
If you’re searching for a novel reaction GIF then just head to the top of Giphy.com and choose the category “Reactions”. There are also sections for entertainment, sports, stickers and artists. So much potential for creators!
How can you use Gifs in Marketing?
There are a number of ways you can use GIFs in your marketing. It’s a versatile tool and more and more people are discovering the power of GIFs!
- Add GIFs to your newsletter.– Just one GIF can really catch attention and draw people in to read your content. And they are great for adding humour!
- Use GIFs as replies and comments – As above, using GIFs as reactions can really bring out your brand voice – whether it’s cheeky, funny or just helpful!
- GIF-ify your branding assets – As featured on the infographic above, you can turn your logo into a GIF or other brand assets, images and taglines. These can then be shared across social media.
- Show your products with GIFs – You can showcase a series of products or styles with GIFs so that they scroll through the examples.
- Run a contest – there are many ways you can run a GIF contest. You can do it in a simple way by asking your audience to share the best GIF for X, Y, Z or you can ask them to get creative and create a GIF around a particular topic. Use the GIF tools listed below.
- Include GIFs in your infographic just like the one in this post. . Most infographics are static so it can stan out with animation. Even just animating the title or one section can be enough to catch attention and get people to read your infographic and share it.
- Share GIF Stickers in your stories on Instagram and Snapchat. Since Instagram (and then Snapchat) opened up search for GIF stickers on their stories, it’s opened up a world of fun and creativity. Use GIf stickers on our story posts to add interest and humour.
- Use GIFs to show how to do something – It’s not just funny and entertaining GIFs that work. You can also use GIFs to show processes or step-by-step procedures.
Anything that goes through a series of steps can be captured in a GIF! Here’s and example of a clever step-by-step GIF by Gary Vaynerchuk on his Giphy Channel showing you how to find his GIFs on Instagram Stories:
Tools for Making GIFs
There are some super easy tools available to help you create GIFs and to use GIFs in marketing. Here are just a few of them:
#1. Giphy’s GIF Maker
Giphy is the big daddy of GIFs so it makes sense that they are not just a search engine. You can create GIFs too. Let’s take a look at the simplest way to make a GIF on Giphy… a GIF Slideshow.
This is essentially a series of images looped together to make a moving image. It’s as simple as opening up the CREATE section by clicking “Create” at the top of the home page on Giphy. Then, simply upload or drag in your photos or images on to this screen below:
Then choose your speed. In the imaeg below, slide the purple bar all the way to the left for super fast GIF creation and all the way to the right for the slowest speed. Your GIF will be created in seconds once you hit publish.
You can then download and share it in all the places on social media!
PS you can also create GIFs from video footage (just make sure you own the rights to do so).
Easil has a GIF Maker that allows you to convert your designs into GIF format. It’s easy to use and you can save your GIFs in 3 speeds (slow, medium, fast). Here’s a GIF I created with Easil’s GIF Maker:
Gifs.com is a tool that I am playing with as it has a number of features … all about making GIFs. I particularly love that they have a tool for creating GIF Stickers in Beta!
There are a bunch of other tools listed in this post, including apps for creating GIFs.
Are you excited about the potential of GIFs? Use these examples and make some of your own!
And if you want to create something super branded and professional you can also engage a designer to create one for you.
And some final Tips for using GIFs in Marketing:
- When posting GIFs to Instagram, you can’t just simply post a GIF. You need to convert it to a video or Mp4 format. Two tools that help with this are:
- Giphy which converts GIFs to video and their app is handy for doing this on your phone and
- Planoly which is a planning tool for Instagram with the ability to plan and schedule Instagram stories. When you upload a GIF into Planoly it automatically converts it to video format so you can post it to Instagram.
- Ensure your GIF consists of enough frames to pass the 3 second mark for sites like Instagram where your videos need to be at least 3 seconds long.
- Start a Giphy Channel to share some of your GIFs.
Over to You
Tell me what you want to know about GIF creation and using GIFs in marketing?
Is there anything that you’ve found challenging or successful when sharing GIFs?
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, winner of Best Business Blog in Australia 2014 and a Top 10 Social Media Blog for Social Media Examiner, 2015-2017. She helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.