Animated GIFs got their start back in 1987, but they have come a long way since the dancing banana. Akin to its illustrative cousins—static graphics and video—the GIF allows you to harness the power of visuals. However, the GIF adds a bit of magic with its simplicity and flexibility across platforms. In fact, 33.6 percent of all websites use GIFs and they are shared more than JPEG and PNG formats, according to W3 Techs.
There are several reasons why GIFs should be added to content marketing campaigns, but here are four to get you started:
1. Making it Memorable
Not only does animation help tell a larger story than that of a still image, it makes it more memorable in the minds of viewers. Several studies cite that the use of visuals increases retention more than six times the rate of using text alone. Take for instance, Google Doodles. Today’s Doodle features a nod to Wilder Penfield’s 127th birthday:
It is a simple graphic, but it encapsulates a short story and leaves a smile on your face. It is also a greater mental trigger than reading the description alone.
2. Simplifying the Complex
On average, a GIF is a series of 60 frames. So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a GIF can get you 60,000, right? Even with squishy PR math, there is no denying that GIFs give you more space to communicate the complex. Whether it is describing a new product, tax policy or #TGIF, GIFs can expand the conversation past a static image. Why not just use video you ask? Well, besides the fact that GIFs are much more economical to produce, continue on to reason number three.
3. Performing Across Platforms
Over the past few years, GIFs have been well-integrated into mobile platforms and email marketing campaigns. Companies like Dell have reported a 6 percent increase in open rates and 42 percent increase in clicks when using animated GIFs in email marketing efforts.
In 2016, Twitter added a GIF button to its lineup and Apple followed suit in 2017 with its iOS 11 iMessage update. GIFs also play automatically on websites, in PowerPoint presentations and don’t require you to download software or update a plugin. Due to their small file size, auto loop and cross-platform compatibility, GIFs are a seamless solution across many digital divides.
4. Getting GIPHY with It
Don’t have the time or resources to create your own GIF? Not to worry, countless GIFs are uploaded to GIF repositories like GIPHY and are ready to re-post. Just today I received a congratulatory Carlton happy dance GIF — priceless. That was one in over a billion GIFs that are sent each day on GIPHY alone. In a matter of seconds, you can have the perfect animated response to share on Twitter, text, email or your favorite digital platform.
For the more hands-on GIF creators, Photoshop is a great tool to help easily create your own GIF and have it ready for auto loop primetime. Hubspot has an easy tutorial if you want to test out your skills.
Still not convinced? Try it out yourself.