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Time To Use GIFs in Social Media Campaigns

GIFs are older than you think but are the latest story-telling medium, but how do you successfully make them a part of your social strategy?

GIFs are older than you think but are the latest story-telling medium, but how do you successfully make them a part of your social strategy?

GIFs are everywhere, and they are out-of-control. Invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite as one of the first ways to animate images with low file sizes, GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are one of the most important aesthetic calling cards of modern Internet culture.



Today, these short animations have garnered a lot of attention. In fact, the name itself has sparked one of the most heated modern-day debates.

Despite their nearly 30-year history, GIFs’ pronunciation is still up for deliberation (although the Wilhite himself seems to have settled disputes, claiming that it’s pronounced ‘jif’ with a soft ‘G’).

There is no debate, however, that GIFs have experienced extraordinary and unexpected growth in recent years.

GIFs “Break the Internet”

Tumblr claims that 23 million GIFs are posted to its site every day, while Giphy, one of the Internet’s most popular GIF databases with a valuation of 80 million dollars, recently announced that it serves up to three billion GIFs each month.
gify 3million gifs-seriously

GIFs even have Mark Zuckerberg swallowing his words. The Facebook founder, who at first was skeptical about the animations because he thought they would disrupt user experience, recently changed his mind.

After more than a decade, Facebook started supporting GIFs in user posts and relaxed its standards to start allowing businesses to post GIFs as ads and page posts.

Even big brands like Google, Starbucks, and Samsung are already boosting their social media communications by leveraging the visual loops. Google, for instance, took things one step further, using a GIF as an official statement, as reported by The Telegraph.


Taking all of this into consideration, it’s time for communication professionals to start taking GIFs seriously as an effective marketing tool, especially for social media.

Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why you should consider GIFs for your next social media campaign:


GIFs are today’s social media landscape

Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and enjoy things that are familiar. It’s science!

In fact, the repetition/expectation effect says we tend to like things we’ve been exposed to before. Things that become familiar are comfortable and predictable.

For example, repetition is often central to music —both internally within a song and then externally any time you hear it on the radio.

Think about when you’re in your car, listening to the radio: the first time you hear a new single, it’s unfamiliar.

The second time, you find yourself tapping your fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the song.

By the third time, the song grabs your attention and you imagine yourself headlining your first concert in front of thousands people.


With GIFs, the same effect happens. The graphics repeat themselves, much like the beat of a song, and repetitive exposure makes them familiar.

Not only that, but they also cater to society’s shortening attention span. Averaging between two to four seconds each, GIFs are the perfect duration to grab the eight-second attention span of today’s digitally savvy person while they scroll their social feeds.


GIFs are great to show off a product

Want to give your audience a closer look of your product via social media? A visual loop can show off the kind of product details and motion that can entice your audience, from new fashions to debut tech products.

During last year’s CES, for example, Samsung leveraged a series of GIFs to show off its new products.


GIFs are perfect for displaying data

GIFs can be a wonderful tool to make data more legible and easier to understand in a blink of an eye, and can help you evolve from infographics to Gifographic.


G3IFs can evoke emotion

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a GIF worth? When words do not suffice to evoke an emotion from your audience, give a GIF a go.


GIFs can tell a story

Earlier this month, the world woke up with the terrible announcement of David Bowie’s death. A few hours later, young artist Helen Green moved everybody with a GIF titled, Time may change me – a wonderful homage to the artist’s story and transformations throughout his career.

millennials_social media_smartphones

These are just a few reasons to consider GIFs for marketing. The social power of GIFs goes on, and in the months to come, we should expect more and more brands participating in this trend.

So, the next time you start planning a social media campaign, ask yourself if GIFs are the right tool to use.


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