I love to attach animated GIFs in text messages to my loved ones. And I am often asked, where I find them. GIFs are appreciated and attention grabbing in personal correspondence. It would only prove to be equally eye catching in digital marketing as well when used appropriately. I say used appropriately because you always want to consider your target market before using GIFs in your digital marketing. If using GIFs to help convey your company’s message, tell a story, or promoting your blog would be enjoyed by your audience, then by all means, start rolling out the GIFs.
Here are some killer ways to use GIFs in your digital marketing:
Tell your company’s story or explain a process. Since images can be worth a thousand words, a visual story told about your company’s brand in the form of an animated GIF will be more compelling than a written story. This also works for a how-to visualization of using a product or explaining a process. Another example, is creating a GIF to help answer your most frequently asked question(s). You can then use it on your website, on your FAQs page, share socially and via email and text.
Show off a product or service. Despite its brevity, an animated GIF is a great way to highlight features and benefits of a product or service. Since it comes across in a frame-by-frame format (like the one above), the viewer can focus on each feature longer than a video. Since a GIF is a quick and easy format to make, you can design different visuals to highlight various features of your product or service.
Add points of interest to your website. Better than Flash or long videos, which can slow down website page loading time, short animated GIFs do not impact loading time and offer visual interest through brief movement. Banner GIFs are becoming popular additions to websites because they can feature stunning photography or visuals that represent the brand and create that emotional connection with the viewer.
Thank someone. If you just received a new newsletter sign up or perhaps received an online order, an animated GIF might promote your company well. These are two perfect ways to make your confirmation letter stand out from other companies and perhaps entice the receiver to share your company’s brand with someone else.
Use on social media channels. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media channels support GIFs so this offers a way to attract your target audience. The rate of re-sharing of GIFs and video are much higher than when text and images alone are used. This will help you gain ground amongst competitors, not using GIFs in your same industry.
Spruce up a presentation. Perhaps you are creating a presentation online, as a webinar or in person. Animated GIFs are great visuals for conveying your message, company, a product, service or otherwise mundane information.
Involve your audience. Since consumers now have the tools to make their own GIFs (MakeAGIF.com), it’s a good idea to get your audience involved in some way with the GIF tactic. Contests can be created for the best user-generated GIF that represents your company’s brand. Then winners can be used in your next marketing campaign.
Be creative! You can use animated GIFs in a number of other arenas as well. Try them out when promoting sneak peeks, highlighting company culture or staff, or perhaps your company’s blog in your latest eBlast (like this one with a cute kitten wearing a St. Patrick’s hat).
Before Creating GIFs for Your Brand, consider this:
Don’t just use animated GIFs because you want to. Again, make sure it is appropriate. When it comes to your business and brand, think carefully about how to use GIFs to promote and describe your brand. Then decide if you want it to be a string of slides in succession (like the above iKANDE GIF) or a snippet of video (like the kitten in St. Pat’s hat). And a great proofing process is to get your boss or colleague involved. Have them review a new GIF to make sure it is 100% appropriate and will help convey your message exactly as intended to your target audience.
Here are some guidelines to help:
Select a visually appealing element of your brand that will be memorable and align that with your company’s promotion.
Determine if your product or service has a special feature or differentiating quality that could be enhanced with a GIF.
Assess the type of value or emotion that you want your consumer to find in the GIF.
Decide if what you make is something that consumers would want to share.
Then track the response to the GIF. Use an analytic tool, such as Google Analytics, that can provide data on how well the GIF is received by your target audience.
How to create a GIF:
Once you have tackled the decisions above, you are ready to start creating and implementing GIFs as part of your digital marketing strategy. You have many options. You can use one of various online free and paid tools (such as MakeAGIF.com). You can also use Photoshop.
How to make a GIF using Photoshop:
1. Upload your images to one Photoshop document.
2. Open up the Timeline window.
3. In the Timeline window, click “Create Frame Animation.
4. Create a new layer for each new frame in your soon to be GIF file.
5. Open the same menu icon on the right, and choose “Make Frames From Layers”.
6. Under each frame, select how long it should appear before switching to the next frame.
7. At the bottom of the toolbar, select how many times you’d like it to loop.
8. Then, preview the GIF by pressing the play icon.
9. Save and Export Your GIF.