When Facebook finally gave users the option to make comments using GIFs, nearly 2 billion people let out a collective, gleeful “Yesssss.”
The often argued about GIF (or JIF?) has been around since 1987, so it’s likely you already know what they are, but history and technology are cool, so here’s a brief summary anyway.
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a bitmap image format supporting animation, up to 256 colors, and a different palette of colors for each frame.
Current web users may not know that popular animated GIFs are the results of an extension applied to the image that allows the frames to become a video.
GIFs can be used for:
1. Slack’s Team GIFs
Slack introduced custom GIFs for teams using the platform independent of GIPHY or other GIF search engines. Check out the 5 Best Slack Hacks and Integrations for more tips on using Slack to enhance your company operations.
2. WhatsApp and GIPHY
WhatsApp has incorporated GIPHY into the platform so that no separate app is required for GIF searching and sending.
Starting in 2016, Twitter rolled out a feature for users wanting to share GIFs via the GIPHY and Riffsy GIF search engines.
Pinterest first started allowing GIFs in 2014 in hopes that it would be easier to illustrate something funny, capture a moment, or just to make a simple how-to image.
Tumblr hosted GIFs long before many other platforms, and before GIPHY’s creation, through its GIF search function.
GIFs are more than just popular social media tools for fun interactions though. Many companies and brands are now considering how to use GIFs as marketing tools.
As HootSuite says in their blog The Ultimate GIF Guide for Social Media Marketers, “Using GIFs can be somewhat of an art. Nailing the perfect tone, image, and timing of a GIF can be a tricky process, where a misstep could affect your brand’s reputation.”
For GIF noobs, here are some quick tips for using GIFs in Content Marketing
1. Dell—Convertible Ultrabook
After Dell released this dynamic GIF in an email advertisement, open rates, and click rates improved, creating a 103% increase in conversion.
2. Denny’s—USA Slam
Denny’s responded to a current event like the USA’s participation in the FIFA World Cup with a custom GIF rooting for the team and promoting their Red, White, and Blue Slam.
3. NASA—Bite-size Education
NASA often uses GIFs to introduce new information or scientific studies to viewers through their social media presence. The GIFs attract attention and draw people into fascinating space science education.
4. Anthropologie—Rug, Rug, Rug
Using a GIF, Anthropologie showcased several new arrivals in their Artistic Foundations collection.
5. Coca-Cola—Taste the Feeling
Coca-Cola used GIFs to engage their customers in an exciting way with their Taste the Feeling campaign that asked customers to create their own Coke GIFs. They increased traffic to their site and involved their audience in their marketing strategy.
6. Starbucks—Celebration Frappe
Starbucks capitalized on holiday marketing with a sparkler stuck in their frappe sparkling against the night sky. The familiar Independence Day image celebrated the anniversary with a patriotic nod and enticed consumers to pick up an iced coffee to stay up late for the fireworks.
7. Kate Spade New York—A Gift Worth Unwrapping
In an email campaign, Kate Spade New York beguiled audiences as they waited for a package to open. The GIF created anticipation and delivered a simple message about gift giving.
8. Bonobos—Take It Off
Another email campaign GIF, this one sent by Bonobos, advertised their limited-edition tear-away pants with a GIF of a man easily tearing off their famous chinos.
9. American Apparel—A New Line
Announcing new lines with GIFs is a wonderful way to get product information to customers, as American Apparel did when they announced their new nail lacquer. Customers can digest the information contained in these GIFs quickly and easily, so they know what to look for the next time they are in the store.
10. GE—Emoji Science
GE makes science and technology look cool with their GIFs that are often educational, fun, and appealing. They even created a website calling emojiscience to promote science among Millennials.
Looking to make a more in-depth advertising tool like an infographic? Check out our guide or contact us to speak to a project manager who can help.
The plethora of GIFs' creation programs on the internet may seem daunting, but there are some truly great options out there. We compiled more than 30 GIF makers that are some of the best on the web. We also reviewed the top 10 to give you some insight into what they have to offer.
Why GIPHY is Great—It is extremely user-friendly and GIPHY is one of the most used GIF search engines out there. If you want to have a chance of getting your GIF on Twitter, Facebook, or any number of other platforms, this is the best place to begin.
What’s Exciting about Ezgif—Upload up to 2,000 pictures in GIF/JPG/PNG/WebP or other images and then manually choose how the end GIF will look with options like “skip frame,” “time delay,” and “loop count.”
Price: Paid (USD 26 with Adobe Cloud)
The Pros of Photoshop—Arguably the best design app available, Photoshop offers detailed GIF creations that will stun customers.
Photoscape’s Powers—This free-to-download tool is a photo editor and GIF creator that is easy to use and offers many dynamic options for creating a vibrant GIF.
The Magic of Makeagif—Sign up for a free account and then you can make a GIF using URLs from YouTube or Facebook in addition to image upload, webcam, or recorded video.
Price: Free with watermark on GIF (Pro service for USD 9.95 monthly)
The Importance of Imgflip—Super-fast platform for GIF creation with a scale for quality for quicker creation.
What’s Grand about Gifmaker.org—Using JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD or BMP images, users can upload up to 2,000 images, then resize them and determine animation speed.
The Fantastic Freegifmaker—Free GIF Maker proclaims themselves as “your favorite online GIF maker,” and with options like GIF from Pictures, YouTube to GIF, GIF Effects, and Reverse GIF, it’s easy to see why this platform is a valuable GIF making tool.
What’s Phenomenal about Picasion—If you need a Flash-free option, Picasion has you covered. You can upload pictures from your computer, Flickr, or Picasa Web and after creation put your GIF on Tumblr, MySpace, Hi5, Facebook, eBay, Orkut, Bebo, Digg, Friendster, and more.
Why Gifmaker is Good—As you make your GIFs, Gifmaker’s preview option shows you what you are constructing. Even better, you can add music to the animation for a highly-creative option.
If you’re feeling brave, want to hone your Photoshop skills, or prefer the platform, here is an excellent walkthrough for creating a GIF on Photoshop.