How to Use Animated GIFs to Enhance Your Content Strategy

GIFs: Goofy Internet Fads. Or maybe it’s Genius Inspired Foolhardiness

No, no, we’re only joking. While GIFs are goofy, and originate from the internet, so far, they’re not a fad. GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) have been around since the 1980s, growing in popularity year over year. They really hit their stride for brands, businesses, and social marketing in the last few years. Whether it’s a funny clip used as a form of visual response from your favorite TV show on Twitter or a thoughtful interactive image placed to convey emotion in a blog, we love the use of these visuals. 

Fun fact: We only retain 10 percent of what we hear. However, if an image includes the same information, we retain 65 percent. That’s a huge win for driving messages in the near-polarizing world of social media content development.

Why GIFs?

We established that imagery is good, but why GIFs? Shouldn’t we be using more technologically advanced formats? GIFs are the ideal choice because they are visually appealing and interactive, unlike a static image. They’re cheaper, mobile friendly, and have a small file size, making them preferable over video. They integrate easily with all the major social networks. They’re easy to create, or you can find one that suits your needs from the plethora of existing GIFs.

GIF Best Practices

When you’re looking to enhance your content strategy with GIFs, think about these three tips.

  • Consider across all channels. Use GIFs throughout your content. GIFs are great for animating hard-to-digest data or to add a little humor to guides and how-to blog content. Boost the click-through rate on email marketing campaigns by including an animated GIF. Don’t forget about social media. People are used to seeing visuals in their feeds. They often stop the scroll when one catches their eye. Use them in your posts or when replying to user comments.
  • Be a responsible GIFfer. Everyone knows that one person who grates on your nerves because they always respond to group chats with a GIF even when no response is needed. Don’t be that person. Only use GIFs when they enhance your message. Ask, “Does this GIF create value?”  If not, you’re just adding clutter, which may send your readers running. Additionally, know your audience. The wrong choice could be offensive or just out of place. Some value-added examples of GIF usage include calls to action, new product announcements, landing page graphics, to preview content for new video, or to introduce new written content you’ve created.
  • Customize. While there’s an abundance of GIFs available for usage, think about creating your own, one that matches your brand. Do something witty and creative. Every time that GIF gets shared, your business gains more visibility. Think about creating a customized GIF that shows your company culture. A holiday message, an anniversary, or award recognition are all occasions to add credibility with a customized GIF.

Get Viewers to Feel Something

Think of GIFs as a way to show emotion that would take too many words to express. The emotion stirred up by GIFs should have the objective of moving the viewer to action. Research from Psychology Today found that an emotional response to a brand has more influence on purchase intent than the actual content they’re reading. Influence how your audience makes decisions by strategically stimulating emotional triggers through thoughtful GIF placement.

If you show consideration and restraint in their usage, GIFs are an eye-catching way to spice up your content and create engaging moments with your followers. Now, if only we could settle the argument about how to pronounce GIF

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Amy P
Posted on December 5, 2019

Pronounced with a hard “G”!

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