The Why, Where, What, and When of the Animated GIF

WHY

Cute kittens and klutzy kids have been using animated GIFs for years to showcase their particular brand of cute. But the animated GIF isn’t all fun and games. Okay, it’s mostly fun and games. But who says marketing can’t be fun every once in awhile?

Because we’re a video company, motion is kind of our thing. So you can bet we love animated GIFs. After all, they handily bridge the gap between a still image and a video.

GIFs are hardly a new frontier. They’re been around since 1987! Marketers have been slow to catch up, but animated GIFs’ popularity as an alternative advertising device has been slowly growing. Used correctly, they can be a great way to get attention, showcase a product, or express your brand’s individuality.

Here are some great examples of GIF usage for inspiration:

This slick GIF by Jakub Antalík showcases the smooth animations and clean interface of the app design.

 

Subway has started using illustrated GIFs to show off their fun side.

Diesel put together a moving fashion shoot for one of their recent marketing campaigns.

Here at Blueforest Studios, we just can’t resist GIFs. We’ve been using them in some of our recent online spot ads to help explain what we do.

WHERE

Some popular sites, like Twitter and Facebook, still don’t allow animated GIFs. Even a few email clients have been slow on the update. So make sure your animated images can also work as a static image and do plenty of testing beforehand.

Some sites, however, go with animated GIFs like jelly on toast. Tumblr in particular is the unofficial kingdom of the GIF, and its platform encourages users to like and reblog posts. Brands that have embraced the motion movement include Coca-Cola, American Apparel, Adidas, Sesame Street, and Disney.

WHAT

Consider your audience and let that guide your content.. Does your GIF have entertainment value? Make people laugh? Show customers how to interact with your product? Illustrate some life truth that resonates with folks? People normally don’t share ads. But people do share good content. And if your ad just so happens to be good content… win win!

WHEN

If you know anything about animated GIFs, you know that they’re best used sparingly (unlike this blog post).

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