9 Powerful Ways to Skyrocket Branding and ROI Using GIFs in Content Marketing
GIFs, formally known as Graphics Interchange Format is an innovative and extremely effective way of digital communication and promotion. They are made of multiple pictures or short video clips to produce an animated image that can convey your message better than any written content in a really short span of time.
From its beginning in 1987, GIFs have been an integral part of the internet. But their fame and use have increased recently as popular digital and social media companies like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype have started integrating GIFs into their platform. With the ease with which GIFs can be used and shared across the internet today, they are gaining more and more traction and now GIFs play a significant role in the internet and content marketing.
GIFs are snappy, to the point and they also add an element of humor to the written content. Besides, they are more effective in getting your message across in a shorter amount of time than any written word. With an unlimited cache of GIFs on the internet, finding one based on your requirement is simple. Moreover, if you are feeling creative, then making a custom GIF is also fairly easy with the plethora of tools for creating GIFs are available on the internet nowadays.
GIFs have made their mark in the marketing of products as more and more industry big-wigs like Amazon, Nike, Domino’s, etc. are coming up with their custom GIFs to market their brand, products, and offers. So, if you are a business owner then you may want to adopt this internet-friendly rich media format as a part of your marketing strategy without any further delay.
But before doing that, let’s list all the places where you can use GIFs while marketing your brand.
1. GIFs in Email
Attracting your consumers’ attention to your email in an inbox full of campaigns from other brands is a challenging aspect of email marketing. As an email marketer, you always have to be aware of what draws attention and generates leads, and utilize it completely to get the most out of your emails. Apart from the email design, copy, and images, you can now incorporate GIFs in your campaigns to make your email stands out from your competitors.
GIFs add a sense of meaning and understanding of the context like nothing else. Plus, they are eye-catchy and simple to make. Many marketers have found that adding a GIF to their email campaigns has increased subscriber engagement and potential sales. In 2018, 56.6 percent of email marketers have used GIFs in their campaigns.
A typical campaign with a static image is much less successful than a campaign with an animated GIF image. GIFs are popular, exciting, and capable of generating interest in customers’ minds.
Take Modcloth’s animated email template as an example. It successfully showcases its product, especially how the same clothes can be combined to form a couple of trendy outfits.
Apart from showcasing products, GIFs in emails can also be used in explaining a topic easily without any lengthy written copy. For example, this mail from Code School illustrates how Google drive can be used in different ways.
2. GIFs in Product Illustration
GIFs have taken the product marketing world by storm. The creative and colorful custom GIFs produced by various brands nowadays are perfect for attracting attention to a particular product-feature which is their unique selling point in the market.
Take Vans for example. This company launched its new range of shoes with the key feature being the product available in various colors.
And this GIF is perfect to show off this feature in less than 2 seconds.
Another example of a wonderful and simple GIF effectively doing its job is the new animated GIF of Samsung’s revolutionary Galaxy Fold smartphone.
It’s elegant and eye-catchy while successfully showing the “fold” feature of the smartphone.
Here is a GIF created by the company ‘Print Some’ as a part of their brand marketing.
I don’t think I need to explain what the GIF is conveying. Can you tell what Print Some is all about?
3. GIFs in Sneak Peeks
Behind the scenes and sneak peeks are powerful strategies in the advertising and marketing world. It increases consumers’ interests and ramps up their anticipations for the actual product. And for getting the desired results more attractively, GIFs are the way to go. It’s short and a perfect teaser that will keep your consumers hooked.
Let’s start off with none other than the ‘Queen of POP’. Earlier this year, Beyonce Knowles dropped sneak peeks of her new campaign with Adidas. It shows snippets of her photoshoot with the well-known brand, exciting fans all over the world.
Another simple example of a sneak peek is the following GIF which entices consumers to click and engage.
These following GIF templates showcase how a buzz can be created about a product or a campaign before its launch.
If you want your products or campaign trending even before they are launched in the market, then you have a fantastic way to do so through GIFs. Impressed yet?
4. GIFs in Product Functionalities
With the advent of GIF and its ability to simplify any complex process to make it easy to understand in less time but with more impact, more and more brands are picking them up to demonstrate their product functionalities and new features.
The GIFs explain the working of a product in an animated image in less than 10 seconds which is easier for the consumer to follow rather than going through a written instruction with diagrams or static images.
A screen-capture program called Snagit takes advantage of GIFs for an explainer tutorial. The simple animated GIF is short, simple and to the point.
5. GIFs in Product How-Tos
Representation of a tutorial for an application or a product can be complicated if you do it in the form of written content. The static images are helpful but not entirely successful in conveying their message or being understood.
In the case of tutorials, videos have always been the best choice over any other modes. But the creation of a detailed video is not always easy or cheap. So, the next best thing is GIF. They are easy to create, not long, and can be precise in describing the how-tos.
As I have mentioned earlier, creating a GIF is easy and there are many software that will help you make them. One such software is Adobe Photoshop. If you have ever used Photoshop, you know that it is a comprehensive tool and a tad bit difficult to master. So, this following GIF works perfectly in teaching how to create a GIF in Photoshop without any hassle.
GIFs are great in showing a few numbers of steps in one process. It not only saves your time and effort to list the various steps but also lets your consumers know what exactly to do.
Here is another introduction tutorial of an application using GIF.
If you have a working product and need to create a short how-to for it, then GIF is always the best bet. It takes little space and is always successful in fulfilling the key objective.
6. GIFs in Call-to-Action
If you are a business owner, you know that to get the best results you have to herd your consumers towards the goal. If you don’t specify what you want from them then your consumers will be at a loss and you will lose potential leads and thus miss out on sales and profits.
Call-to-Action is a vital part of any form of internet marketing. It helps you generate leads directing consumers to a specific page or an action that entices them to engage. And what’s better than a normal Call-to-Action is an animated Call-to-Action. GIF adds an element of wonder to the entire process and makes the C-to-A fun and clickable.
This is a simple example of a GIF to add the extra oomph to a basic Call-to-Action.
Another example of an animated Call-to-Action is from the company GetSocial. It is a sort of a teaser for what the company does as well as a definitive Call-to-Action for interested consumers.
If you want your visitors to subscribe to your website or newsletter, this following GIF is a good way to do that.
7. GIFs in Social Media
Today, social media channels are one of the best marketing tools for any brand. Many a time, they draw in more eyeballs than any other method of marketing. Social media marketing has been adopted by almost all businesses nowadays, so you can probably say the competition is pretty high.
So, to stand out in this fierce race for recognition and popularity, you have to do something different to catch customers’ eyes and crush the competition. GIFs can be used in this regard. We already know that netizens love GIFs and engage with them more, so why not use GIFs more and boost your brand.
Here are a few examples of custom GIFs that are created for brand promotion and got viral on social media platforms.
8. GIFs to Run a Contest
Content is the king, but contents created by your customers is the rage right now. And it’s rightfully so. User-Generated Content or UGC not only engages consumers but creates a trend that reaches millions if not billions. All you need to do is let your consumers create content for you based on a theme that will effectively promote your brand. It’s an ingenious idea overall.
Many brands have started to host contests, encouraging viewers to participate by creating content for them. You can do something similar with your campaign. Ask your consumers to create relevant GIFs based on your theme and see the explosion of creative GIFs flooding the internet all for your brand. It’s lazy marketing for sure but shrewd nonetheless.
Here is an ad for a UGC campaign launched by Coca Cola which was hugely successful.
In place of images ask your consumers for innovative GIFs and see the magic unfold.
9. GIFs to Create a Story Series
The main challenge in business is to keep the consumers interested in your brand. You need to keep their attention hooked to you and to do so; many businesses have many strategies in place. One such strategy being the creation of story series. Many behind the scenes, sneak peeks, and advertisements of products are done through this method.
It provides transparency to consumers which in turn helps grow their trust in your brand. GIFs are snazzy and perfect for telling a story to get your views across. Creative GIFs will help you rise customers’ anticipation and also snag interest almost immediately.
One hugely popular and beloved brand to do so is Disney Studio.
They use GIFs to give a little peek behind their out of the world animation movies and we love them for that.
Seeing these beloved characters doing their things always adds an extra charm to everything, and they are smart enough to take advantage of it thoroughly.
Over to You:
There you go folks, all the different ways you can exploit the popularity of GIFs to further your brand. So, that takes care of the “where” and “why” of it, but what about the “how”?
Well, the awesome thing about GIF is that they are readily available in huge quantities for free on the Internet. Sites like Giphy, Tenor, GIFbin, and many more have a huge stock of GIFs for your every need. And if you want to create something new, exclusive for your brand then you can do that using software like Adobe Photoshop, Gimp, MakeAGif easily without any hassle.
GIFs are here to stay. Use them to skyrocket your brand to success. Start incorporating GIF as a part of your content marketing strategy. Let us know your experience of marketing with GIF in the comments below. Feel free to share the trial and error methods of promoting your brand using GIFs and especially how they changed your brand marketing goals and ROI.
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Mentored by Mr. Soumya Roy, the Founder, CEO of PromozSEO Web Marketing Academy.
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Thanks, Soumya, for this excellent article!
Now (january 2020) there is a new site: giff1.com. It provides professional high quality GIFs and videos in vertical (story), horizontal and square formats. Furthermore they are free of rights.
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