Animated GIFs had a wonderful come-back to the spotlight (remember MySpace glittering animations?) a couple of years ago, especially after the birth of a widely popular “cinemagraph” phenomenon.
Currently, all major social media networks support animated GIFs (all, except for Facebook):
- Tumblr (this one actually relies on animated GIFs. Colorlib has a nice list of themes allowing you to duplicate Tumblr success).
I’ve had lots of fun with animated GIFs on Google Plus:
You could come up with a dozen reasons that GIFs work well for content marketing. But the primary one is the simplest: they are cool.
They Tap Into The Popular Consciousness
Reaction GIFs are so popular that you can see them everywhere. Sites like Tumblr and Reddit have made them an even bigger phenomenon, especially using pop culture references currently relevant to the time. For example, you can’t go anywhere without seeing an animated Big Bang Theory or Archer animated image right now.
While it might feel a little uncomfortable to piggy back on a trend, it is all in the delivery. If you are able to properly relate something in a humorous or honest fashion, you can be forgiven. Because it takes something popular and makes it your own. Which is exactly what your followers are doing.
They Accurately Portray Reactions
Sometimes an image or a line of text just doesn’t cut it. Which one of these has more punch?
“I was like…’What?’”
“I was like…”
Having that GIF gives the viewer a much more accurate portrayal of your reaction. Or at least a more entertaining one that they can connect to and laugh at. That makes a big difference in how they will remember your post.
They Impart Info, Humor or Emotion Quickly
You only have to get a quick glimpse of a GIF to know exactly what emotion or data is supposed to be imparted. This makes it a valuable tool on a platform like Twitter, where you are limited in how much you can share.
A single line of text, or even a hashtag, can be enhanced with a GIF without taking up any other space. Which gets it around the problem that content marketers have always have to bypass or work with: the character limit. Now you can do more than just share links to your primary content.
They Are Very Shareable
Everyone loves GIFs. You might find your posts being share just for the image alone, which improves its chances of being seen by the right people. The right people are those who lead to conversions, or at least to an increase of your engagement in a way that grows your social image.
You would be amazed by how much further an animated image goes versus a static image. Even when it is recycled content.
They Attract Attention
Human beings are hardwired to react to movement. It is a left over remnant of our ancestors, which both helped early man find food and react to danger. Now both are often moot points, but the trigger in our brain is still there.
When we see something moving, we can’t ignore it. Our mind registers it, and the eyes follow. Even if only for a split second, we notice. So GIFs will make an impression, even if the viewer doesn’t intend it, too. That makes it harder to avoid an emotional response. If something resonates, the viewer will reach, and boom! You have engagement.
They Can Make Words Obsolete
There are whole threads of conversations on Tumblr that are nothing but GIF images. Even Buzzfeed often uses GIFs in place of actual content, with nothing but headers that provide a tiny bit of context. Sometimes they don’t even have that, just the initial article title and nothing more.
Bad content strategy? Some might argue so. But then again, have you seen how popular Buzzfeed has become?
Tools For GIF Use In Content Marketing
Now you know why GIF’s are cool. Here are some tools so you can find or make your own!
Login to your Facebook account through their app. From there you can upload GIFs into their gallery to share with users. But the best use for this site is searching the gallery for things to use. There are quite a few categories, such as anime, emotions, decades, adjectives and celebrities. Be sure to check out the #vintage hashtag for some animations you may have seen before.
Make animations from YouTube videos. Just put in the URL, load up the video and drag the cursor to the stop and start point. It is easy to use, quick, and works on any YouTube upload.
Click and drag to record, upload and edit. This is a more professional grade tool for creating GIFs that can be used for anything. Provides features like looping, captions, cropping combining and filters.
Create GIFs from your phone’s gallery using this mobile app. They can be made from videos, photos or existing GIFs spliced together into something new. It is easy to use, and most animations can be made in 60 seconds or less.
You can also make your own using GIMP or Photoshop using these tutorials. It is a more involved process, but it makes them much more original.
Incorporating GIFs into your content strategy is a quick way to boost your marketing, especially on social platforms.
Do you use GIF images to improve your content marketing? Do you use it for anything else? Just have an animation you like and want to share? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks for providing such a detailed post on GIFs. I am intending to use them in a new website that I am building at the moment. Its been never used in this industry before since websites prefer youtube videos over gifs but I am thinking to give it a go after reading your post.