What’s the big deal about GIFs?

We get it; just when you get used to one thing, something else comes along and you have to start learning all over again. That’s just the nature of social media and keeping a brand’s online content current.


One step forward, two steps back.


You’ve probably heard or read about the term ‘GIF’ (Graphics Interchange Format) before, it’s been around for a while but has only taken the spotlight in the world of social media over the last couple of years. This was mainly due to Twitter, one of the biggest platforms, incorporating and supporting the format in June 2014. Since then, GIFs have superseded images in become the primary source of viral trends.


So what are GIFs? Well, to put simply they’re a looped animation that lasts seconds.


They’re usually used as a way of reacting to a statement, or to illustrate a concept. Here are a few famous brand examples;




As you can see from the examples above, either a snippet of popular culture (tv programmes, films etc) are extracted and looped, or brands create their own basic GIF images.


Why is it worth using GIFs?

There’s tonnes of research out there listing why images are far more successful than plain text when it comes to marketing. This is a similar idea; a GIF is an even more interactive way to retain a consumer’s interest in what you’re saying. They are also infinitely more shareable, something which is becoming increasingly valuable for businesses who want concrete proof their brand is flourishing online. GIFs sourced from popular culture specifically, are more likely to go viral than any other form of online media. This is because they are relatable, and if used correctly, tap into what consumers are feeling, which in turn makes them want to like or share.


We’ll eventually come to some of the most popular GIFs currently in use, but first let’s look at a few facts to sink your teeth into:


65% of people are visual learners

[Source: Ethos3]


We know that people prefer images to text, but did you realise the statistic was quite that high? It may be easier to forgo imagery in favour of text, but are you missing out on an opportunity to showcase your brand to a wider audience by doing this?


Consumers are 39% more likely to share content if it’s delivered via video

[Source: Psychology Today]


If pictures paint a thousand words, then what can a video do? You can say a lot with a little, which is why GIFs and videos tend to be the preferred way of sharing views.


36% more likely to comment, 56% more likely to “like”

[Source: Psychology Today]


When all you need are some black and white figures to show to your boss that yes, the online brand for the business is growing as proven by retweets and likes, you might just require the usage of a few GIFs.


How can I create my own GIFs?

There are lots of paid-for tools that can create branded animations. For example, we use a paid-for version of Canva which though very basic, offers to animate graphics created using the online tool. It doesn’t give many options and is an experimental feature, though this will hopefully change in the near future.


Another way to create your own branded GIF is to upload a series of images to an online tool, such as Imgflip. Again, this is a basic tool but may just give your content the added edge to make it stand out from the crowd.  


How can I find pre-made GIFs?

It’s simple, head to www.giphy.com. Just search for the feeling, reaction, person or object you’re looking for e.g. ‘Happy’, ‘Applause’, ‘Eye Roll’ and choose from the selection.

You can then download the GIF, or, if you want to post on Facebook, copy the link provided (Facebook will then autogenerate the GIF).


And Voila! You’re all set to start posting a GIF along with your posts.









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