On average we spend over 5 hours every single day looking at our screen and about half of this time is spent on social media where we are surrounded by GIFs. Whether it's Pinterest, work emails or just a late night Google search black hole- we are bombarded with them.
What Are GIFs?
The humble "GIF", an acronym for "Graphics Interchange Format" was first introduced back in 1987 however they reached their peak popularity in the early 2000's thanks to Tumblr.
GIFs are animations that do not contain sound. In a single GIF file, there are multiple images which are displayed in succession to create an animated clip or short movie. GIFs display a sequence of images usually only once, stopping when the last image or frame is displayed.
The word GIF was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2012 and it is clear that they are now securely part of internet culture.
But, how can we use them to our advantage within digital marketing strategies?
Using GIFs For Your Brand
GIFs are often favored by companies as they are cheaper and often faster to create than video. Reaction GIFS are by far the most popular form as they are used as a quick emotional response to a situation when words just won't do and are excellent at creating engagement with your audience.
Today, brands now need to learn how to "speak GIF" if they are to remain relevant and connect to their Generation Y & Z audiences.
Using GIFs in your brand's digital marketing can have a number of benefits.
Lighter and easier to implement than video
Fantastic ways to capture your audience's attention- especially among younger demographics
Great engagement tools as it allows the user to interact instantly
Very shareable- they have a high viral capability
Whether you are creating your own or re-purposing ready-made GIFs, there are a few things to keep in mind. I've narrowed it down to 4 key tips;
1) Use humour wisely
Some of the most successful GIFs are ones that make people laugh.
Before you deep dive into a full blown comedy routine with your GIFs, remember that too much "funny" can easily turn into awkwardness.
Aim for one simple witty concept and stay on top of current trends to keep your GIFs current.
2) Do your research
While GIFs are by nature spontaneous, make sure to do some research before re-posting a GIF. Cultural appropriation or negative connotations are all things that need to be considered before you tag them to your brand.
Another side to this, is conducting some research to see what topics your target audience are interested in. Once you know this, you can easily tailor your GIF-usage appropriately.
3) Keep it fresh
With billions of GIFs out there, you need to create something different to stand out. Stay true to your brand, consider what your audience might find entertaining and add your unique touch.
4) Make it user-friendly & shareable
You've spent all this time creating your GIF and now you want it to spread its' wings and and hopefully go viral. To do this, it needs to be shareable. Here are a few quick style tips;
When it comes to size, its recommended to keep the file small. Aim for no more than 8MB or less and keep to a maximum of 6 seconds.
Keep colours to a minimal- pick a palette and stick to it and don't forget to consult your company's branding guidelines.
For a user friendly experience- add in some text and don't forget to include your brand logo or hashtag.