Higher click-through rates, more views, and higher conversions—these are only a few things marketers can achieve by incorporating GIFs into their content marketing strategy.
A GIF, or graphics interchange format, is a series of images or soundless video that loops continuously without the need to press play. The average GIF length is about five seconds, but it can go on for longer than that depending on the message it was made to convey. GIFs are primarily used for entertainment purposes but have since become a powerful marketing tool used by brands to communicate and attract users to their content.
However, brands must be careful not to use GIFs just for the sake of it. GIFs are only effective when they create value for your audience, if they enhance the story you’re telling, or if they make it easier for audiences to grasp your message. Peppering your content with unnecessary GIFs may only irritate readers or cause them not to take your content seriously.
GIFs can enhance the quality and effectiveness of your content when used to do the following:
GIFs can be very useful in explaining how a product works—either by showing how a particular action must be done to use the product correctly (e.g. a kitchen tool), or by demonstrating how it must be applied (e.g. makeup).
GIFs can also be used to highlight certain features and benefits of a product or service. Its frame-by-frame format allows the viewer to focus on each feature for an adequate amount of time—something that can’t be achieved by a split-second stream in a video where important features can get overlooked. And, since GIFs are pretty low-cost and easy to produce, you can design several visuals to highlight the individual features of your product.
GIFs help summarize information and provide accompanying visual to a somewhat intimidating chunk of text. Much like how infographics help audiences visualize data, GIFs can do the same, or even better. GIFs allow you to demonstrate how data has changed or evolved over time, and can also be used to break down lengthy infographics into more easily digestible parts.
Modern inboxes are often noisy and cluttered, with different brands competing to get noticed within a sea of marketing emails. Using a GIF can be the creative boost you need to make your email stand out and increase conversions. You can use a GIF for all purposes mentioned above, but you can use it especially within an email to draw attention to your call-to-action (CTA) button.
GIFs increase the likelihood of your content being noticed and shared by your followers. Almost all social media channels now support GIFs, as dynamic visual content continues to increase engagement for content posted on Twitter and Facebook.
GIFs are easy to make, and—if you can't be bothered to create one yourself—easy to find online. They are relatively small in size, does more than a static image, and offers video capabilities at a much lower cost.
These fun little moving images may seem silly, but well-placed GIFs can actually increase the engagement on the content you produce—be it an article, an email newsletter, or a social media post.