Last month, Twitter announced support for animated GIFs on the platform, both on its web version (twitter.com) and on mobile (Android & iPhone). Twitter’s announcement added them to the ranks of Pinterest and Tumblr, both of which already allow for GIF files. But most importantly, it highlights an exciting new possibility for visual content marketing.
Visual content is an important part of any brand’s social media presence. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it can process text, so it’s no wonder that a picture is worth a thousand words — in fact, it’s worth 60 thousand! And a GIF does that even more so, by combining several pictures into one short video.
As Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist at Buzzfeed, says,
“GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions, and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.”
When it comes to your marketing campaign, GIFs are an important weapon in your visual content armory that you should definitely be taking advantage of. The short-form, moving imagery characteristic of GIFs can communicate information in a uniquely clear and succinct manner. Additionally, they are fantastic for conveying concepts to a multilingual audience without requiring any translation whatsoever.
Though the rest of the internet tends to use GIFs for sharing entertaining looped videos and animations such as this one:
For marketers there is a large and often-untapped potential in using GIFs to bolster your brand online. This email newsletter from the popular retail company Anthropology is a great example of a GIF being employed in a more productive, but no less fun, way:
When using GIFs for marketing, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. GIFs should be used in moderation. Going GIF-happy and overdoing it will actually have the opposite effect of the one you desire, and can make your page feel overwhelming to visitors. In this case, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
2. Keep it useful. GIFs that function as how-tos, product demos, or instructional guides are a great way to convey a lot of information efficiently, and can be even better than blog articles or long-form social media posts. Check out this GIF that shows how to make an earbud holder out of two clothespins:
In just a matter of seconds, the above GIF is able to convey a complete instructional how-to that would require at least a half-page of text if written out. What’s more, the GIF version is much more visually appealing, memorable, useful and therefore shareable.
3. Don’t forfeit quality. Just because you are using a GIF, it doesn’t mean your graphic design or images should be any less crisp, well-designed or beautiful. Using low-resolution or poor-quality GIFs can cheapen your brand’s image and undermine your company’s professionalism.
Now that you know the basics of marketing with GIFs, you’re ready to start making your own.
Here are our recommendations for the best tools to create your very own GIFs:
1. GIF Brewery: This Mac-only app can be found in the Mac App Store and will set you back $5, but if you plan to use GIFs fairly often in your marketing campaign, it’s definitely worth it. GIF Brewery allows you to take a video file from your computer and convert it into a GIF, with options to select which part of the video you want to include in your GIF, how large you want the image to be, shrink the file size by reducing the number of colors and frame count, to add text, and a number of other useful features for generating quality GIFs.
2. Recordit: This free software lets you take screencasts from your computer screen. It is perfect for generating instructional GIFs, and even lets you select which part of the screen you want to include in your GIF. It’s well-designed and easy-to-use.
3. Party Party: This iOS app was designed by the bloggers behind A Beautiful Mess, so it specifically caters to creating great visual content. You can easily make GIFs in the form of stop-motion videos from your phone and add a variety of filters, frames, and effects. Check out their description of what the app does for a full list of features. Creating GIFs is one of many great visual-related things it does, but even if you’re just going to make GIFs it’s definitely a worthwhile use of the 99 pennies the app will cost you.
So there you have it! You’re all set to start using GIFs in your businesses marketing campaign — from creating high-quality GIFs yourself to using them to the greatest effect, you can take your visuals to the next level with these eye-catching animations.