Lets start with the basics—what is a GIF? A GIF, or Graphic Interchange Format, is composed of multiple image frames encoded into a single file which are then played in order on a never ending loop. To simplify it, a GIF resembles a movie that’s a few seconds long, or a moving picture that will play continuously. GIFs are becoming more popular not only with online users, but also with many social media and digital marketing platforms.
Over the years, GIFs have transformed from graphics mainly used for practical purposes, to more lighthearted, frivolous uses. Tumblr has made this form of image increasingly popular. One Tumblr community manager is quoted saying, “Humans really like repetition — we feel comfortable with it — and sometimes, just the longer you watch something, the funnier it gets or it will actually change meaning.” This helps explain why a GIF of a cat riding on the back of a turtle, or a man in a snail costume crossing the street can become an Internet sensation!
Multiple social media sites are picking up on this trend and making themselves compatible with GIFs. Pinterest recently launched the capability of pinning GIFs and has tens of millions of GIF pins already on the site. Facebook and Twitter are taking smaller steps toward compatibility with this hot form of media. You can post GIFs to Facebook and Twitter, but only if the GIF is shared directly from the site giphy.com. LinkedIn was not going to be left out of the fun and has now introduced the capability to use a GIF as a banner image.
Marketers need to take note of this up-and-coming form of media. GIFs are easily consumable to users. As the digital marketing world is moving to an increasingly visual field, the GIF is a perfect middle ground between a static picture and a video. For example, when Dog Fish Head was launching it’s new strawberry and honey ale, they took the GIF route to promote it- check it out here! Keep your eyes peeled for an increase in GIFs in your social media newsfeeds, e-mails and landing pages! If you’d like to incorporate GIFs into your social media strategy but don’t have the time to learn all the ins and outs yourself, talk to an expert like GrowthWeaver!