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And That's The GIF of It

by Josh Cox | 04.09.14

I think we all know what an animated GIF is. They’ve been popular since the early 90’s, especially in the world of online memes. Of course, once something becomes popular and experimented with long enough, it will be used as a marketing tool. The advent of Web 2.0 did see a drop in their use, but animated GIFs quickly regained their footing once social networking became common.

In the past few years, several companies have launched social media video platforms. These include Twitter’s Vine, Socialcam, and Viddy. Pinterest most recently included animated GIF support on their website. This is due to the huge rise in consumer electronics over the past decade, giving most of us the ability to shoot high-definition video and share it socially on demand. The small file size of animated GIFs made the transition from sharing video to them quite easy. This trend is becoming more common throughout all social media. With websites like Facebook and Twitter already experimenting with different content types, it is only a matter of time before they accept animated GIFs.

In the world of marketing, GIFs can enrich the user experience and encourage sharing socially. Visual examples of how your product works could be spread rapidly through social networks just like word-of-mouth. The fast pace of social media makes it hard to capture someone’s attention span for much longer than a few moments, which gives an advantage to quick loading animations. As photographer Jamie Beck of Cinemagraph put it, “an animated GIF is a photograph that is still alive.”

Gap uses GIFs to show newly released styles.


For businesses that operate online, it is important to not seem out of date. Having a strong presence in social media can give a personal touch to your product or service. Being able to connect with people emotionally should be a major concern. A product demonstration that inspires people, or at least makes them laugh, can greatly extend its reach.

“People scroll past hundreds of images daily on the internet without batting an eyelid. Animated elements go a long way to bring ideas to life, turning ordinary images into the extraordinary. GIFs help us trim the fat and highlight the core emotional truth behind an idea.” This sentiment was stated by Will Herring, Senior Creative at Buzzfeed, and addresses the reality of marketing through video. Embracing this format lets you connect with consumers in a fast-paced social media world.




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