Anything that has motion catches most users’ attention. Despite the fact that there are amazing photos and well-written contents online, it’s still not enough to immediately snatch the users’ interest and to keep them glued to your site. To increase their dwell time, most companies are incorporating videos in their articles. But since creating videos require a different level of commitment and dedication, it may not be convenient all the time. Good thing, GIFs are invented.
Introduced back in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, GIFs, or an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, is a concept of merging a little bit of still images and a little bit of video – it’s a moving image, basically. Simply put, it’s like the framed photos in the Harry Potter movie series. Instead of just a plain image representing the idea of your content, GIFs moves and it expresses emotion. It conveys the information in a quicker, more entertaining way. But using GIFs is no easy-peasy. It’s an art. It can make or break the reputation of your brand. You have to nail the perfect tone, image, and timing of a GIF.
Apart from the obvious reason that people dig whatever is on the current trend, what are other reasons why using GIFs can enhance your content marketing instead of just plain photos?
Why not just use still photos?
Using GIFs guarantees entertainment value. It somehow highlights the information that we want to tell our users, in an entertaining way. It adds context to your short messages like Facebook status and Tweets. More than that, using GIFs tone down the serious, businessy image of your brand. It makes your target market realize that you have a fun side too. Here are some of the reasons why GIFs are at the advantage:
1. It’s easily understandable and it’s effective.
Including GIFs on your posts makes it more attractive to users while you’re meeting your brands’ needs. Twitter reported that people shared more than 100 million GIFs in a year through tweets and direct messages, and the number has been increasing since 2015.
With the use of GIFs, your brand can boost encouragement for a user to listen to your message. It will serve as your call to action.
2. It’s cheaper than video but it’s as efficient.
Like mentioned earlier, creating a video content is a tedious task. Videos are engaging and informative, indeed. It can grab the users’ attention in just a matter of seconds. No doubt on that. But thinking about the process of creating a video, – shooting, editing, and reviewing – will make you choose using photos instead.
Also, not everyone is skilled to create videos. Unlike with GIFs, anyone can go online and can create their own. Most of the online GIF creators are free too! In a way, you are saving money while adding value on your content.
3. Mobile and Internet Friendly
As mentioned above, GIFs have lower specs so it has lower requirements for it to work. And in this mobile-centric era, it’s a huge factor that your content will work on all types of mobile devices. Good thing, though, GIFs work on mobile platforms effectively. Also, it’s just a small illustration loop that doesn’t need too much internet bandwidth. So there’s no need to wait longer time for it to completely load.
Because of that, GIFs are also usable on all platforms. This makes it more shareable and it is more convenient to include on your web content, blogs, and social media posts.
4. A good break from reading long texts
For blogs that has heavy texts in it, it’s a good breathing space to include GIFs instead of just photos. Simply because, people don’t really look and analyze the still images that you incorporate on your articles. They will just scan it for about 2 seconds then scroll through the texts again. So why not use that 2 seconds with more value?
In 2 seconds, you can already tell a story using GIFs. In a short span of time, you can already build a connection and relationship with your audience in a more authentic way. You can make it more emotionally-appealing. After all, emotional marketing can get you loyal customers.
5. It will test your team’s creativity
Since using GIFs requires careful analysis, it can trigger your marketing team’s creativity in capturing the attention of the users. You can collaborate with different animation studios, so you can legally use their content or you can have them create unique GIFs for your brand using their signature styles.
For instance, Nintendo partnered with Vans through Twitter and Tumblr to create a GIF for their marketing announcement. This is one of the perfect examples of how GIFs are utilized in marketing and advertising communication.
6. You will never run out of GIFs
There will always be sources everywhere! Surely, you have an option to create your own GIFs to use for your marketing content. But, when the odds is not in your favor, or when it’s an urgent task, or simply when your creative juices have dried out, there is still a huge GIF stock online that you can use.
Many brands are using, and promoting, GIF stock libraries such as Giphy, Imgur, GifBin, and more. There’s always a GIF available for all types of occasion. These libraries are also updated on the current trend, so if you are looking for something current, they sure to have a GIF for it.
The most controversial of all: GIF or JIF?
Many articles online have already settled this debate, but since we are at it, let’s discuss it as well. Is it pronounced as a hard G like in “gift” or a soft G like in “gin”?
Despite the fact that most people tend to pronounce it with a hard G, Wilhite clarified that the correct pronunciation is with a soft G. The idea of the name came from the American peanut butter brand, Jif.
It’s not really new, but there’s always something new.
It’s been in the World Wide Web for a long time. We are all well-aware of that. From the plain, moving graphics, it has emerged to cartoon clips up to quoting famous movie scenes. Most GIFs nowadays are also combine with captions or quotes, which makes it more captivating. It’s a matter of utilizing whatever is available in the market.
Through time, GIFs have become more popular that social media platforms have incorporated it in their features. During the old times, you have to have an additional app to be able to comment or post GIFs on your social media profile. Now, Facebook and Twitter have included this feature on their comment and status options – making the social media engagement more creative.
One of the living testament that the online world keeps on evolving is the GIFs. It follows the trend, and you will be left with no choice but to catch up. It’s time for you to take advantage of it. Utilize GIFs as much as applicable. Make it a staple part of your content and improve your marketing reach.
Keep still photos, and your business may also be stagnant. Keep moving, use images with motion.