It may seem surprising, but brands around the world are using GIFs in their marketing tools. From Nike to MailChimp, GIFs have made daily marketing campaigns a remarkable success, and this has led not only to better sales, but also to greater brand awareness.
What is a GIF?
Although pronunciations may vary, the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) (literally “image interchange format”) is a digital image format that allows multiple images to be put into a single file to create short animations played back in a loop. If you search for GIFs on the Internet, you will often see GIF files converted from videos. However, in the case of digital marketing, specialists create GIFs with static backgrounds with a single animated element, such as an object, person or text, to emphasize the movement in the GIF.
The GIF format is almost 30 years old now, with the first one invented by CompuServe in 1987. If something lasts that long, you can be sure that marketers will find a way to use and benefit from it.
So here’s how you can use GIFs in your marketing tools in a smart way to present your message, engage customers and drive conversions.
What do GIFs have to do with marketing?
Today, visual communication dominates on the Web, and that includes GIFs. In fact, GIPHY, one of the world’s most popular platforms for GIFs, announces that its users send one billion GIFs a day.
This tells marketers that Internet users use GIFs on a daily basis and for a variety of reasons:
- Underline a feeling
- Share a reaction
- Rate an event
- And much more!
That’s one of the reasons why companies started experimenting with GIFs in digital marketing, and they discovered that GIFs work whether you’re looking to increase sales or build engagement.
To demonstrate this, let’s look at the example of Dell; the third largest computer manufacturer in the world used a GIF in an email campaign for its Ultrabook XPS 12. Once the campaign was launched and the results achieved, they found that their conversion rate increased by more than 100% and their revenues jumped by almost 110%.
One of the reasons for the success of the campaign was that the GIF demonstrated the versatility of the Ultrabook XPS12 and gave users a better idea of what the product could do.
To achieve these results, however, it is essential to create the GIF that best suits your marketing strategy.
How to use GIFs in your marketing tools?
Tell a story or explain a process
Since images often say more than words, a visual story told in the form of a GIF about your company’s brand will be more compelling and say more than a written story. It is a good way to create enthusiasm, understanding and anticipation with your customers. Powerful emotions motivate people to take action.
Promote a product or service
Despite its brevity, a GIF is an excellent way to highlight the features and benefits of a product or service. As shown in the Dell example, the prospect can focus on each function for longer than with purely textual content. Since a GIF format is a quick and easy format to create, you can design different visuals to highlight the different features you want to display with your product or service.
Add interest to your website
Thanks to their lightness, GIFs do not affect the loading time of your web pages and offer visual interest to your content. GIFs are becoming increasingly popular on websites because they present attractive visual elements that represent the brand and create that emotional bond with the visitor.
Add personality to your social network postings
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social networks support GIF formats, allowing you to attract the attention of your audience. Instagram also offers Boomerang as a way to create loops similar to GIFs.
Spice up your emails
GIFs are also a great way to keep readers’ attention in email marketing. So rather than adding a static image, try incorporating a GIF into your newsletter. This can make your email campaign more effective.
5 steps to use GIFs in your marketing tools
It can be fun to create any kind of GIF, but it’s best to share it with your family and friends. In terms of your marketing strategy, you need to think carefully about how to use GIFs to promote and describe your brand. Whether you’re creating custom GIFs for your blog posts, social network posts or marketing emails, here are the steps to consider:
- Select a visually appealing element of your brand that will be memorable and align it with what you want to promote to your company.
- Determine if your product or service has a feature, or a benefit that meets a need, that could be flaunted with a GIF.
- Assess the feeling or emotion a visitor might experience in the GIF.
- Decide if what you create is something that people would want to share.
- Determine how you will track the results of the use of GIFs, including any analytical tools that might provide data on their impact with your target audience.
Once you have taken these steps into account, you are ready to use and implement GIFs as part of your digital marketing strategy.