In the most basic form, a GIF is a series of still images or a short piece of video compiled together into a short animation on a continuous loop that is suitable for online platforms. It was first developed in 1987 but never quite took off until the early 2000’s. So why is the GIF so compelling and mesmerising in this digital era?
In an instant world, we want instant content, instant feedback and instant understanding. A GIF is easy to consume; within a matter of seconds. We can easily punctuate an emotion, highlight a personality or explain a process within a blink of an eye.
Growing increasingly popular on social media and blog posts, the GIF can have a profound impact on your marketing.. The New York times recorded that Tumblr had 23 million GIFs posted to it’s site a day and when Facebook first started to support GIFs within their messaging app 5 million animations were being sent each day.
Here are 5 reasons how you could use a GIF within your marketing
1. Use GIFs to highlight your company’s culture
2. Animate your email marketing
3. Sneaky preview of a video
4. Show off a product or offer
5. Use GIFs as a call to action
- GIFs are simple to make whether you want to use a short video clip or a collection of still images there are various sites online where you can access free software and customise your GIF within a matter of seconds. Some sites we would recommend are gifmaker , giphy and giphy capture.
- Unlike Flash animation, viewers do not need to have special plug-ins on their web browsers, which means that your GIF will simply automatically play and you won’t risk it being blocked via the user’s web browser.
Due to the nature of the GIF it can be compressed without too much distortion allowing you to keep the file size small which allows you to minimise any delay it would have on the page speed.
- They are easy to make, use and to embed on your site as you simply treat them like a still image.
… and the disadvantages
- With everything in life, less is most definitely more so don’t get too carried away and try to cram as many onto one page as you can as it will slow down your page loading speed if you embed large numbers of them whilst making your web pages look cheap and unprofessional.
- GIFs are ideal for social media and webpages but as they are capped by a colour depth of 256 bit they can give a blocky, pixelated, low quality appearance if shown on a high definition screen.
- Dithering is a term which helps to band gradients of colour in a GIF to prevent harsh colour contrasts however, it can restrict compression and make the final file size pretty large, which will ultimately slow down your website.
- It is key to try and work out the right speed and the number of frames you would like to use as if there is not enough frames the GIF can be too jerky and irritating.
Finally a simple note of caution, if you are a company and are wanting to post GIFs regularly be cautious of using copyrighted work on social media. To be safe, we would always recommend you create your own.
So maybe it’s about time you added the GIF to your marketing toolkit.
GIFs Courtesy of Giphy