GIFs are the new emoji. GIFs are also the video form of the meme. You can mock, cajole, amuse, or comfort through a GIF.
GIFs typically include some sort of cultural reference. And the medium thrives on instant pop culture recognition.
But how in the world is a GIF even useful in marketing?
When I first heard of the concept, I was like, “Riiiiiight.” But as I did my research, I realized that GIFs are actually a brilliant marketing strategy.
And if you utilize them correctly, you’ll see a massive impact on your conversion rates and income.
1. What Is In a GIF?
A GIF is a Graphical Interface Format. And it’s old.
How old? Like 1987 old.
And the question ever since has been “How do you pronounce it?”
Fortunately, the FAQ section of the original program that used GIFs tells us it’s pronounced “JIF.” But the debate still rages on despite.
The program that originally used the .gif format was called CompuShow made by CompuServe. And it was meant to help users create short graphical videos.
And while GIFs have been around for a long time, it wasn’t until recently that they became easily shareable. Companies like Giphy have both created a way to make GIFs and index them.
You can search their entire database of moving memes and then quickly share them on any digital media platform. Companies like Facebook and Twitter offer ways to connect Giphy to a user’s account for even quicker access.
Thus it is said that GIFs (a 1987 invention) broke the internet in 2017. Now that’s irony if I’ve ever seen it.
2. How Then Do You Market With GIFs?
GIFs aren’t just an amusing toy. They are a series of images. And when images are involved, they evoke emotion.
Using a GIF as a marketing tool is akin to using a comic as satire. A comic can be both funny and meaningful. So can a GIF.
And GIFs are much easier to consume than a full-length video. And much shorter than a page of content.
Your Website Could Benefit
Flash is the bane of fast websites today. Almost nobody uses flash animation anymore because it slows a website down to snail speed.
But GIFs are small files. They load quickly. And they’re visually interesting.
And if you’re afraid that the common looping GIF will be distracting, use a Cinemagraphic GIF instead. These are high-quality photographic GIFs that play only once or at intervals.
They won’t distract from the rest of your content, and they’ll add movement to an otherwise static website.
GIFs Tell a Story
Alex Chung, the CEO of Giphy once joked that since a picture is worth a thousand words, the sixty frames in a GIF are worth 60,000 words. The same number as a short novel.
While this isn’t exactly a true statement, the GIF really can tell a story.
And it will be more compelling than words.
GIFs don’t have to be nearly as short as you think. While the average GIF includes 60 frames, they can be short videos (sans sound).
Do you have a product that needs an explanation? Why not create a long GIF?
You can enumerate a short tutorial through GIFs as well. Each step including images and directions.
And if you think about it, most TV commercials are essentially GIFs with sound. You hardly see anything in a commercial than images intended to evoke emotions.
And a GIF could be as effective, if not more so, as a TV commercial.
Promote Products or Services With GIFs
Like I said, a GIF is as good as a commercial. And you can focus on products even longer in a GIF than in a commercial.
Why? Because a GIF needs no soundtrack or distracting dialogue. It’s all images all the time.
Thus, your product or service sits in the limelight the entire time. And it’s easier and cheaper to produce than a video.
You only need a decent camera and a computer. That’s it. No sound equipment needed. No expensive video production software.
Use ’em with the trends Midas Marketing mentions in this post and you’re sure to score a win.
GIFs Are Cross Platform Play
Your GIFs don’t have to be confined to your website. They can play anywhere you want them to.
Platforms like Giphy have made it insanely easy to share and utilize GIFs. And almost every social platform now connects directly to Giphy.
So, once you set up your GIF, it’s extremely easy to post it to almost any social media platform.
And outside of Giphy, Instagram includes a “Boomerang” feature that allows a similar loop feature to GIFs. While these “Instagram GIFs” aren’t as customizable, they are useful for a quick looping picture.
Why would you want to use GIFs over traditional media on social media? Simple: they’re catchy.
You want anything you post on social media to be shareable. And the moving picture is the most shareable thing on the net.
It’s almost guaranteed that a GIF will be shared over a static image. And you get to say more in less time than a video.
Audience Involvement is the Ultimate Perk
Don’t make your GIFs. Have your audience make GIFs for you.
How? Simply start a contest.
Competition is the best way to get customers involved in your brand. And you’ll get some incredible GIFs to boot.
But be sure to create a list of rules or you’ll end up with some pretty nasty memes. If you’re using a Facebook page, be sure to moderate the posting of GIFs heavily.
Remember, your brand reputation is on the line and if you allow anything onto your social media platforms counter to your brand message, you’ll be sorry.
Conclusion: Before You Create a GIF
Always do your research. Are other people in your niche using GIFs? What seems to work for them and what doesn’t?
Also, make sure you pass a GIF before a second pair of eyes before you post on a website or social media platform. You need to know that your own bias isn’t getting in the way of seeing a problem.
But as long as your GIF speaks directly to your audience, you’ll see a massive return on your investment.
If you’ve enjoyed this marketing article, check out our “What Internet Marketers Can Learn From X” series.