How to Use GIFs in Your Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing

How to Use GIFs in Your Marketing Strategy

GIFs aren't just a way to display images. They have become a way to convey feelings, ideas, and information. Used correctly as a marketing tool, they can boost the bottom line of your business


12/05/2022 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Even if you don’t know what the acronym GIF stands for—it’s short for Graphics Interchange Format bitmap image—some GIF at some time has captured your attention, so you spent more time on a web page.

A GIF is an image. Like JPG and PNG files, a GIF can capture a still image. A GIF can also be used to create an animated image without sound. They add movement to ads, emails, social media, and blog posts.

GIFs aren’t exactly new. They first appeared on Compuserve in 1987. GIFs aren’t rare, either. New Atlas estimates that GIFs are viewed 10 billion times a day.

However, GIFs are still a great way to add interest to your marketing content, broaden your reach, and turbocharge the visual appeal of your site.

If you are ready to add GIFs to your tool kit for marketing engagement, you have come to the right place: Here you’ll get the knowledge on how to create GIFs and use them for better engagement.

What does a GIF do? 

GIFs play animated visuals on a continuous loop. They create an optical illusion, something like a flipbook. They display a series of images in rapid succession to generate an animated effect.

Each GIF stores multiple image files. The collection of images is stored in a file with a .gif extension. The format is compatible with all major browsers. You can add GIFs to any web page. There is a GIF button on Twitter, and Apple has added a GIF search feature to its iOS apps.

GIFs aren’t just a way to display images. They have become a way to convey feelings, ideas, and information. Used correctly as a marketing tool, they can boost the bottom line of companies that employ them in ad campaigns.

How do GIFs make a difference in marketing? 

As a marketer, you have content the public needs. GIFs help you convey that information in a way that captures the public’s attention.

GIFs hold audience attention 

Modern consumers are bombarded with information 24/7. Not only are consumers receiving information all the time, but advertising information is also coming at all of us more and more densely packed. This information overload has shortened attention spans.

What does this mean for marketers?

Tweets that were once noticed for 24 hours now stay at their top ranking for just 12 hours, a Nature Communication study found. The more information is produced, the more exhausted it makes the recipients. However, GIFs help marketers focus consumers’ attention on a single message, directing them to take a desired action, such as continuing to scroll through the entire message.

Moving GIFs capture your audience’s wandering attention. Think of them as tiny shots of adrenaline that give your audience the energy to power through your presentation. They energize the brain, so your site visitor can process complex information.

GIFs make complex ideas simple 

Not everyone processes information from a flat screen at the same speed. GIFs can make information digestible. They can be used to explain, simplify, and even beautify numbers, statistics, and outlines. They break down heavy chunks of data into bite-sized bits of information.

GIFs improve learning and retention 

A study sponsored by a law professor found that 65 percent of people learn visually, rather than by processing text. That’s not hard to understand once you know people process images 62,000 times faster than text. The human brain is wired to respond to visual marketing. It’s critical for creators of learning materials and marketers of all kinds of products to integrate GIFs into their content.

Here’s one more statistic: Microsoft has found that visuals increase information retention by 600 percent. You can use GIFs to create more memorable reminders about dates of product launches and sales.

GIFs look good on mobile devices 

An overwhelming majority of Americans—about 80 percent—access social media through their mobile devices. They will click past a slow-loading video, but they will watch a fast-loading GIF.

GIFs are just a few seconds long, so they come in much smaller files. They automatically replay, giving your audience as many opportunities as they need to take in your message.

GIFs are entertaining 

When you choose a GIF as your medium, you have free rein to be quirky, funny, and interesting. Consumers are increasingly critical of video for both production values and creativity. With GIFs, they get the joke, take in the message, or remember the product without investing a lot of mental energy into criticizing your production.

GIFs get great marketing results. Now, let’s look at ways to incorporate them into your online content.

9 ways to integrate GIFs into your marketing strategy 

GIFs are popular, shareable, and effective. They can extend your reach on social media channels and increase your marketing strategy’s clout. They aren’t hard to integrate into your online content.

1. Use GIFs for storytelling 

Breathe life into your content by telling stories. GIFs are a form of visual storytelling. They enable you to give your audience a nudge to look at your information in more depth, interacting with you to form deeper and more authentic relationships.

How do you use GIFs to tell a story? Here are some ideas.

  • Restate or elaborate on key points in your article or press release.
  • Showcase before and after images of your product or service.
  • Explain how your product is made or the unique features of your service.
  • Visualize compelling statistics.

Do you need an example of how it’s done? Look for any Disney feature GIF on Tumblr.

2. Explain complicated processes 

Technical writing is an important skill. Technical writers explain complex processes in precise language, including all important details and matching dense text to simple line drawings.

Technical reading, however, is not something you can expect from prospective customers. Your prospects want more than just your say-so to know you have mastered a complex, ingenious process or created a sophisticated solution—but they want you to tell them about it with pictures, not words.

GIFs can explain a large number of steps in a process or parts of a product in a visual way to understand. The pictures in your GIF also overcome language barriers, helping prospective customers whose first language is not yours feel comfortable with what you are trying to sell.

In just a few seconds, a GIF can explain how your product works. Or your GIF can illustrate how to use a product feature. Your GIF can be a testimonial to the great results your product gets. And you can use your GIF as a call to action that everyone can understand.

Do you need a visual example of what we are talking about? Consider these GIFs of how a key works and a happy customer eating a sandwich.

3. Use GIFs to promote Your product or service 

When promoting a new product or service, you can learn how to create GIFs to give your customers a good idea what they will be getting after they make their purchase.

You can also use GIFs to show your customers what your product or service will be like after a new edition, a new model, or rebranding.

Use GIF slides to show what a new product will look like, as it is used by your customers. Then tweet your new price point.

4. Use GIFs to attract new email subscribers and increase email engagement 

GIFs and emails go together like hot dogs and mustard. Adding GIFs to your emails is a proven way to add some spice and interest to your emails and newsletters. They capture your readers’ attention. Then they convey your message visually and quickly, amplifying your call to action.

Artfully designed GIFs increase time on page. Many email servers will use this metric to display your next email as important communication, sending it to the top of your customer’s inbox.

GIFs will also make it more likely your customers will open the next email you send them in another way. Most people just won’t bother to read a text-heavy email message. But they will open an email if they anticipate it containing an entertaining, informative, actionable GIF.

Beautifully designed GIFs warm hearts and win customers.

5. Add interest to your blog posts with GIFs 

Blog posts can be, well, wordy. Nearly every blog post is heavy on text. Static images can make heavy text seem even heavier.

GIFs offer something more. They capture fleeting moments described in your text. They break up long texts, so a customer could even take a break from reading and come back later. A series of GIFs can keep readers scrolling down the page, so they see all your key points and arrive at your call to action.

Page loading speed is critical to blog post performance. If your post loads too slowly, Google will penalize it in search results. Your readers may lose patience with the downloading process and simply click away.

GIFs solve this problem. GIFs are small files that won’t reduce download speed.

You don’t have to limit yourself to using GIFs on your blog pages. You can also add them to landing pages, product pages, forum pages, and even 404 redirect pages. Use GIFs that show different angles of your product in different places. Give your site visitors interesting and valuable information even when they land on the wrong page.

6. Use GIFs to engage your audience on social media 

Consider these statistics:

  • Slack reports over 2 million GIF integrations occur on their platform every month.
  • Facebook says over 5 million GIFs are shared on its pages every day, and over 22 million GIFs are sent over Facebook messenger every day. (These figures come from 2020, so they are probably low.)
  • Tumblr says over 23 million GIFs are posted on its pages every day.

People love seeing GIFs, and marketers love the results they get from GIFs. Your objective on social media pages may be sparking a conversation. Or you may be seeking to increase brand recognition or show off the fun side of your brand. You can achieve all three objectives with GIFs.

GIFs help you reach across barriers of location and language. They extend your reach to audiences you may not have even known you could serve.

How much of a difference do GIFs make in social engagement?

Sprout Social reports that tweets including GIFs get 56 percent more click-throughs than tweets without them. Tweets with animated GIFs get 168 percent more click-throughs than tweets with static images.

7. Use GIFs to animate atatistics 

Do you get lost reading line charts? Do tables of statistics leave you cold?

With the help of a GIF, you can even follow economic data from Harvard University. Because GIFs run in a continuous loop, your readers have multiple opportunities to follow complex topics and understand data.

8. Provide product instructions with GIFs 

If you have ever stayed up all night trying to assemble a bicycle or a playset for a child’s birthday, you know it can be difficult to follow written instructions with just words and diagrams. However, an animated GIF can show you what you need to do over and over again until you understand it well enough to get it right.

Integrate GIFs into product tutorials. Use GIFs to demonstrate product upgrades and new features. Use GIFs in the answers to your customer FAQs. Explain the challenging aspects of your products with GIFs.

9. Educate your audience with GIFs 

GIFs are a terrific tool for conveying facts. NASA, for example, used GIFs to increase engagement for its 50th question-and-answer session. You can use GIFs to increase the effectiveness of distance education lessons.

The easy part: How to Create GIFs

The good news about GIFs is that you don’t need to be a software engineer to make your own. Make GIFs from videos stored on your phone with WhatsApp.

Create a GIF from any video you find on the web with the Google Chrome extension GIF Me. Check out GIF template libraries on Promo or Canva. Or make an easy GIF with Ezgif.

And now that you know all about GIFS and engagement, how about focusing on the second part and learning more about communities? Take your customers’ engagement to a new level with social media communities