GIFs and Digital Marketing

How animated GIFs can benefit your marketing campaigns and break through video clutter.

In the age of social media, video has proven to be a dominant force for marketing, and it is predicted that video will become the content of choice in 2015.

As with any trend, though, savvy marketers find a way to break past the norm and deliver content to users in a new and exciting way.

This is where GIFs come into the picture.

What’s a GIF?

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Technical definition aside, a GIF is simply a collection of image files that can be animated to play in a loop.

For those of you wondering, GIF is pronounced like JIF – yes, like the peanut butter – if you listen to Steve Wilhite, who created the format in 1987.

Unfortunately, creating something does not always give you influence over its pronunciation, and many people, including President Obama, pronounce GIF with a hard G.

The Oxford American Dictionary helped in no way when its representatives named GIF the word of the year in 2012, simply stating that GIF can be pronounced either with a hard or soft G.

If you can get past the pronunciation, GIFs are becoming increasingly popular on social media.


The popularity of GIFs in recent years is often attributed to Tumblr, where GIF is the most popular tag used on the site.

The format has spread to other corners of the digital space, and GIFs provide users with simple, and often clever, animations to supplement content.

GIFs can be found in a variety of places, including:

GIFs are successful in simplicity. Sites do not support GIFs of large file sizes, which limits the number of frames/images one can use when creating a GIF.

All industries can use GIFs in some way to market content in a way that appeals to many.

Make Your Own

There are plenty of free online tools to make your own GIFs. For those of you who prefer complete customization, though, I highly recommend you use Adobe Photoshop.

The steps are fairly simple, and you can make GIFs using videos or photos.

Here are two GIFs I made using my photos from Australia. I used a rapid fire shooting setting on my camera, which is why the later frames are not as smooth. If you create a GIF from a video, though, you can create seamless GIFs.


Rachel and Koala

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for creating beautiful GIFs? Share in the comments below.

GIF Credit: Aleksander Irvin


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