The key to any good marketing campaign is engagement with the audience and an effective way of engaging is to convey information as quickly and easily as possible. Adding to your content using images and videos can help with this, but there are drawbacks to using either. An image may not convey enough information whereas a video could take up too much of a users time, ultimately leading to them being overlooked or ignored.

This is where GIFs come in. A GIF (short for Graphics Interchange Format) is a bitmap image file which can play short moving images, ultimately allowing marketers to convey lots of information in a short space of time. Originally developed by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe in 1987, it is a lossless compression format which is designed for web use due to using a small colour palette of 256 colours per frame of animation used.

These limitations mean that file sizes for gifs are perfect for use in marketing campaigns as they can be distributed to any device, whether it’s desktop or mobile and are unlikely to use up data allowances. With multiple services such as Giphy, Tenor and Imgur all providing a wide selection of GIFs for almost any situation and to suit any need, there are so many options out there for content creators to choose from. 


Social Media

GIFs are widely used on multiple social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, therefore if your marketing campaign includes utilising social media, there’s no excuse to not be using the power of GIFs to enhance your campaign and engage with your audience.

Brands such as Disney and Buzzfeed have utilised GIFs on sites such as Tumblr to great effect, whether it’s to allow their audience to simply skim a story or showing how a movie goes from camera to screen, GIFs can mean the difference between your campaign going unnoticed to being one of the most popular brands on a platform.


Promotion and Reception

People are becoming less receptive to advertising in the traditional sense forcing marketers to become more creative in how they engage with their audiences. GIFs can be an easy win in this respect through multiple ways.

A custom GIF can be used to announce a new product or partnership, showcasing the benefits to your audience quickly and effectively without being intrusive on their time. Another good example of brands using GIFs to advertise effectively is Starbucks. If you enter “coffee” as a search term on Instagram for their GIF stickers, there’s a good chance you’ll see 1 or 2 GIFs featuring their logo on, allowing users a fun way to interact with the brand while at the same time.


GIFs in Email Campaigns

GIFs aren’t just useful for Social Media, they can also increase engagement in email campaigns. In 2014, Dell used GIFs in its email campaign with some impressive results. By using GIFs in their campaign, they benefitted from:-

  • 6% increase in open rate
  • 42% increase in click rate
  • 103% increase in conversion rate
  • 109% increase in revenue

Using appropriate GIFs for your campaign can not only be useful but can lead to a more successful campaign and drive revenue for your business.


GIFs and SEO

When using GIFs on your site, it’s important to remember that it can affect your SEO and must be considered carefully. Google has become more and more GIF friendly over the years, but steps must still be taken to ensure that the use of a GIF on your site doesn’t harm your ranking. These are some things to consider when using a GIF on your site…

As with any media, the first thing to remember is to provide the text equivalent for any non-text files. Therefore, you must ensure your site contains metadata for any GIFs used. This doesn’t just help Google, it also helps text readers as well, allowing your site to be more accessible to users, so ensure filenames, alt descriptions and surrounding text all support your GIFs properly to ensure your ranking is boosted.

Another to remember is that while a single GIF in and of itself is a small file and doesn’t require much in the way of resources, loading each page with multiple GIF’s can increase those resource requirements very quickly and can ultimately cause your page to require a lot of data and increase load times for end users, something you want to avoid, particularly if your users access your site over mobile.


Final Thoughts

A well placed GIF can increase traffic, revenue and engagement for your business and your site. Custom GIFs can give your audience a better idea of your brand and its values, while pre-existing GIFs can be used to convey thoughts and ideas to increase engagement with your audience. GIFs allow you to advertise without actually advertising to your audience.

While a picture may be worth 1000 words, as the CEO of Giphy, Alex Chung, once said “since the average GIF contains sixty frames, then they’re capable of conveying 60,000 words – the same as the average novel.” meaning so much can be conveyed using one GIF. They can hook your audience in an instant and can be a powerful tool when marketing to them, just remember to use them carefully when on your main site to not detract from your SEO campaign and page ranking.


So regardless of whether you pronounce it with a hard g or a soft g, remember, the right GIF can make all the difference in driving revenue, brand awareness and engagement.

Get in touch with our experienced Marketing Team today to build your content campaign further.


Sam Manojlovic