GIFs: why are they important?
Chloe, our PR and Marketing Executive, discusses GIFs and how to incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy in our latest blog post.
GIFs (Graphic Interchange Formats) have been around since 1987, they were originally introduced by software writer Steve Wilhite as an innovative way to present images that would load relatively quickly within the constraints of the internet speeds of the time. Quickly adopted by those wishing to share moving images e.g. the banana, they became a favourite feature of online communications.
Millennials started re-embracing the GIF circa 2006-2008, and popular platforms from Twitter to Line are now enabling users to create their own. Brands and media outlets started taking notice and GIFs have now found their way into mainstream marketing strategies. GIFs are a unique way to make your content more engaging; whether that be on social media or in blogs, email marketing or online news articles.
Here are five reasons why GIFs are a great tool to add to your digital marketing strategy:
- If a picture can tell a thousand words, how many does a GIF tell?
Surely it’s inevitable for a moving picture to tell even more… If you are trying to tell a story, GIFs are a perfect way to tell it more quickly. BuzzFeed loves to use GIFs within its articles in order to help users skim a story as quickly as possible whilst managing to capture their attention and provide stepping stones to navigate the content. They can also be used to make a story more engaging. We love this example on The Atlantic of a GIF being used effectively to tell a story about gymnast Jordyn Wieber.
- GIFs are a good way to convey a company’s personality
It’s the 21st century, so companies need to have an online social presence. Globally there are 2.34 billion social media users, so it’s important for companies to be utilising social media in the best way to reach their audiences. To convey an authentic image on social media, GIFs are a great way to keep current and show your company’s personality. We love to use GIFs to accompany our tweets – take a look at one of our posts for inspiration.
Clearly GIFs might not be appropriate for all businesses, so it is important to assess whether they are suitable for your audience.
- Selling something? There’s a GIF for that…
Using a GIF to showcase a product is simple, but genius. Take this Marie Claire tweet for example; why just have an image of a shoe when it can be shown in action? However, GIFs aren’t purely useful for products that can be worn, or that move when used. Chanel used GIFs in its #ILOVECOCO campaign.
GIFs add another dimension to sales that you can’t get with a still image. Consumers are becoming less receptive to traditional advertising, so being creative can capture their attention.
- Email marketing
Want to make people notice your emails? Use a GIF! Inboxes can be chaotic, and in an ocean of emails yours needs to stand out from the crowd; using GIFs can do this. According to a test conducted by BlueFly, emails containing a GIF increased click-through rates and engagement with companies or products. Nike regularly uses GIFs in its email marketing – take their LDN Edit email for example…
GIFs can also be an engaging way to educate! The short moving graphic is a great way to demonstrate something in a simple but appealing way, which is extremely convenient considering this Telegraph article suggests humans only have an eight second attention span. NASA demonstrated this in a fabulous way when they posted a GIF alongside a tweet about black holes!
A few takeaways…
- Keep it relevant – don’t use a GIF if it doesn’t enhance the story you’re telling or if your message would remain unchanged without it.
- Don’t be a copycat – although there haven’t been official, legal decisions made on whether using copyrighted material is infringement, it’s important to remember ‘fair use’ when using someone else’s work!
- Remember your audience – just as you would when creating a new ad, or writing copy, make sure you keep your GIFs tailored to your audience. If your target market is teenagers, your favourite 80s sitcom might not make the right impression!
- Make your own – Giphy.com not only provides over 1 billion GIFs, but the site also has a GIF Maker that allows you to create GIFs from video files or YouTube links. Try it here.1270