“Gifs are easy to digest, quick to see and allow me to continue with the content.”
My co-worker and web designer Erika Balser summed it up best when discussing the appeal of gifs—the compressed image files that play incessantly and look like short video clips. Pronounce gifs as Jif peanut butter or the present you receive. That doesn’t matter as much as how you, the brand or marketer, use them.
What has been the bread and butter of the Tumblr blogosphere has also become accepted by the other major social media outlets. Since the spring, Facebook finally embraced gifs, Twitter kicked off autoplay videos, Vines and gifs, and Pinterest launched motion-controlled, gif-like Cinematic Pins in addition to having already adopted gifs.
Last week, Wendy’s became one of the first brands to test out Facebook gifs by virtually building its Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad. The gif looks good enough to eat. It garnered more than 14,300 likes, 320 shares and 260 comments in just under four days, which seems to be much more interaction than recent static images and videos.
So how can these animated images boost your next campaign? I asked my Pace colleagues to explain why they like gifs to uncover what makes these short looping videos essential to a brand’s marketing mix.
Gifs Allow Brands to Show Off Their Sense of Humor and Personality
“Gifs and memes from funny TV shows or movies are like an inside joke the whole Internet is in on.”
— Submitted by assistant editor Joanna Rutter
Thanks to the abundance of reaction gifs—those that portray a person’s shock, amazement or despair—from popular TV shows and movies, brands can piggyback off pop culture and post responses in real-time to converse with their audiences. If the gifs are good, they elicit an immediate reaction from viewers and help the brand better connect with their followers.
Also, autoplay gifs can’t be stopped or started. So if brands can create the perfect loop, then they’ve struck gold and made the gif a must-see despite the noise on their feeds. The loops seem to have no end, so they quickly catch the eye and mesmerize the viewer.