It’s That Time (Again) to Start Using GIFs

March 20, 2017

Let’s start by getting one thing straight. GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) — Even though the creator of the GIF, Steve Wilhite said in 2013, “It’s pronounced JIF, not GIF.”, I do not pronounce the word “Graphics” as “Jraphics”, so let’s call them GIFs, not JIFs.

After being introduced in 1987, then pronounced dead in the early 2000s, GIFs have been making a huge comeback over the last couple of years, mostly due to memes and what some believe to be a bad case of nostalgia. Either way, we’re learning that people love GIFs.

With the rise of GIFs, many brands are learning that GIFs aren’t just tools to make people laugh though. They can be used to give your audience a better, more interesting experience on several different platforms…

So, why should you start using GIFs in your marketing?

  • The motion from GIFs adds a great deal of interest that quickly grabs the attention of your audience.
  • They don’t require a user to press “play”. Limiting clicks on a web site is one of the best ways to create a better user experience.
  • They’re easy to consume. Most GIFs last for only a few seconds and then repeat infinitely.

Now, how exactly could you be using GIFs with your brand?

  1. Email Marketing – They don’t work with all email clients but they work with most. Using GIFs in email is a great way to delight your audience and give life to an email…
  2. Instructionals – Check out how mailchimp does this. They show step by step instructions on how to change settings in their app. By limiting text and showing short repeating GIFs, their users can quickly digest what it is they need to do before moving on to the next step.
  3. Web Design – You can use GIFs in your web design. Check out how Headscape uses them. Very subtle but just that hint at life goes a really long way with web users.
  4. Social Media – Almost all social media platforms allow GIFs or some other type of short looping video. This is perfect because in social media you have an incredibly short amount of time to be able to grab your audience’s attention.

Even though GIFs are different than video, many of the same rules still apply when creating them for your audience. They make sure they have a purpose — and to really connect with your audience, try to tell a story.

Now get out there and start making JIFs! — I mean GIFs…

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