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GIF Marketing: How To Use Animations In Your Ads

Have reducing attention spans, content crowding, and the continuing fight for space on the internet left you perplexed?

Are you constantly wondering how to pull your audience towards you? Do you want to understand the secret behind a viral ad that everyone from Gen Z to millennials appreciate?

Before we answer this when you text a friend, do you say okay, or do you find a GIF or sticker for it? Are your Instagram stories stand alone content? Or do you add stickers or GIFs to give them that extra impact? 

Do you understand the secret code now? 

Marketing is the art of cracking your clients’ preferred language to communicate your message. And remember, your customers are people too. They too, talk and interact with their peers in the same way you do.

Including animated content such as GIFs in your marketing efforts has shown tremendous results for brands. When they are used, CTR rates, engagement rates, and open rates all go up. 

This shows that customers cannot have enough GIFs and animated content in their lives and advertising content.

But, what is so special about GIFs? Is it just another internet fad or does the argument for GIFs and animated content in marketing hold merit?

Experts believe it is the latter, and they have some sound reasons backing it up.

So, before we tell you how you can level up your advertisements with GIFs, let’s take a look at what makes them work so well.

The power of Animated Content & GIF Marketing

Animated content is always a crowd favorite. We all love our cartoons, animated movies, and game animations. The smallest of movements brings life to an otherwise static image. Animation exaggerates actions and makes them fun. 

But have you stopped and wondered why you like them so much? Is it just fun, or are there sentiments behind this that extend beyond entertainment?

After combing through audience reactions on scores of animated content such as GIFs and stickers, marketing experts have narrowed it to a few basic motivations.

So, let’s take a look and decode this mystery.

Easy to consume

Call it the creator economy or the boon in content creation. Either way, the internet is currently at its capacity with content, making you fight for your clients’ attention.

Bite-sized, fun, engaging, and informative seems to be the winning formula across platforms today. GIFs fit perfectly into this. They make the scrolling thumb stop – just enough to capture attention and validation without taking up too much space.

GIFs make the perfect content form for attention-deficit internet users. They are easy to consume, interact with, and remember.

A bridge between image and video

Photos are so yesterday, and videos can take more effort than you have time for. To make and enjoy. Enter GIFs – a perfect bridge between images and video. Sometimes your content demands more than just a static image, but less than a video. This includes content like customer reactions, product unveils, and quick demonstrations.

Action speaks louder than words and sometimes images, too. Animated GIF content gives you just that. 

You can go the video way – yes. But is creating a video when you just need a simple animation necessary? Small businesses and marketers stand to gain a lot by choosing GIFs over an image or video. 

Perfect for on-the-move customers 

You must always assume that your customer is busy and scrolling through your content with their mind on something else, too. So, how do you convey information to them without aggressively demanding their attention? 

This is a fine line to toe but essential. Not everyone will stop to read your caption or watch your video. GIFs are perfect for this customer segment. It is quick, interactive, and memorable. 

What’s more – most GIFs are mobile-friendly, perfect for a customer who is always on the move and juggling between apps. 

Shareable 

In our “Making Viral Go Content” blog, we discussed how the key to spread brand awareness and become a talked-of brand is to reduce the friction in sharing your content. Are you looking to create easy-to-share content for your brand? Choose GIFs. 

GIFs solicit a reaction from your customers – a laugh, intrigue, or wonder, motivating them to share it with their peers. You can use GIFs in comments, messages, posts, and even in emails. 

Over one billion GIFs are shared by people of all ages on the internet, making it one of the most shared content forms.

GIF in Ads: Use Cases + Best Practices  

The Graphics Interchange Format or GIF is probably one of the most effective tools you can use to improve your content’s performance. But, are they limited to social media threads alone? 

Actually, no. Many large brands and elite marketing agencies have experimented with GIF marketing in their ads and witnessed a tremendous response. So, there is more to GIF marketing than just making your brand seem more approachable and relatable. 

Now, you must be wondering – GIF ads? How do they work, and are there any examples? 

Don’t worry. We have compiled all the best use cases and best practices for you to make your GIF experiment in advertisements a cakewalk.

Let’s dive right in.

GIF Marketing: Social Media Ads 

If you look at the performance of ads across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube – it is getting harder and harder to achieve good CTRs (click-through rates).

Video content traditionally performs better, owing to its engaging and storytelling format. Shorter videos, specifically, see higher views, and customers view them to completion. 

While videos can take quite a bit of prep, GIFs can be prepared quickly. GIFs are perfect to capture your content in bite-sized animations and use them to improve the reach of your ads. 

GIFs are also versatile and can showcase a range of ideas in Digital Marketing ads such as: 
  1. Unveiling a new product unveiling 
  2. Announcing discounts and offers for an upcoming sale
  3. Repurposing print or text-based content without spending effort on creating a new design – just get the text animated!
  4. Promoting an event by animating details related to the venue, participants, date and time
Best Practices:
  1. With GIF-based ads, you must limit the text and concentrate on images. Social media is extremely visual, and the more imagery you have, the higher chances of customers clicking on your ad. 
  2. High-quality images and animations are vital to creating the right impression on your customers. You don’t want them to judge because of one bad image, do you?
  3. Keep it simple so that the transitions and effects don’t take away the message. 

Kimp Tip: The right file extension and resolution are crucial for an all-platform compatible GIF. You need quality and compatibility without compromising the message. Focus on the CTA and work with your design team to get a concise result.

Making a 10-sec GIF, with just the right animation, can take much more time than you have. And sometimes a stock GIF just won’t do – especially for an important Ad. Choose a professional design team so that you hit the nail on its head every time.

And speaking of professional design teams – at Kimp we offer simple GIF animations (e.g. 3 second animations of text or flashing buttons) as part of our unlimited graphic design subscription, Kimp Graphics. Give it a try with our free trial to see how you can revamp your social media ads with GIFs. 

Need some more complex GIFs and animations? Try Kimp Video instead! Or get the best of both worlds with Kimp Graphics+Video.

GIF Marketing: Newsletter Ads

Your email list and email marketing amplify all your advertising efforts. Newsletters allow you to interact with a group of customers who know you and are interested in your message. This is why email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates across channels. So, there is no time for 50% effort. You must always put your best foot forward here. 

All of this makes a substantial case for using GIFs when you advertise to your email list via newsletters. 

But, the trouble with newsletters is that customers usually get a ton of emails in their list, and you have to capture their attention in the first five seconds to avoid the “Back” or “Delete button”.

GIFs are easy to load and create excitement for the subscriber, willing them to give you a few extra seconds. 

With GIFs’ versatility, you can use them to:
  1. Advertise your product line with showcase GIFs. 
  2. Announce a sale with exclusive discounts and offers. 
  3. Show a product’s usage using animation. This is widely popular for lifestyle and technology products. 
  4. Animate a CTA such as “click here”, “buy now”, and “tap to reveal”. This improves your click rate and brings your customer one step closer to conversion.
But, there are some things to remember when you use GIFs for newsletter advertising: 
  1. First, the size of the GIF is of extreme importance. A large GIF file may be of the best resolution, but won’t open quickly.
  2. Center the GIF in the design with care. The best practice is to open with a GIF to pull them in and include one towards the end to sustain the reader’s attention.
  3. If you are including a GIF ad, ensure that the design is mobile-friendly as most people view emails on mobile rather than a desktop.

Kimp Tip: An overload of GIFs can kill the appeal of your newsletter and drown out the message. Stick to one relevant and well-designed GIF to avoid crowding issues. Too many GIFs in an email or the wrong size GIF can land your email in the Spam folder.

Double-check the size and resolution of your GIF and try sending out some test emails first to make sure it displays as you want it to.

GIF Marketing: Website Banner Ads 

Now, we know banner ads are probably one of the oldest forms of advertising in the digital world. They are tried, trusted and true. And it’s no coincidence that the use of GIFs in banner ads dates back to the 1980s. Launching ads on websites is a great way to connect with your target audience, but the issue is how to get clicks on such ads?

People move away from web pages faster than Flash himself, so getting attention on a banner ad is becoming increasingly difficult. 

GIFs are your best solution for this as they are a fortunate combination of images and video, and bound to bring many eyeballs your way. 

You can improve your click rates on GIF-based ones by following these best practices :

  1. Websites today are a recipe for sensory overload for people. Do not try to do too much and limit your animations to the minimum for a pleasing effect. 
  2. Direct the power of animation towards making the CTA clear and clickable. Any banner ad aims to get the click, so use the GIF for this purpose. 
  3. Find a size compatible with popular banner layouts to avoid redesigning costs. 

Kimp Tips: Banner ads have a higher performance rate when customers recognize the brand. Incorporate your brand color, style, and imagery in the GIFs to leverage the power of brand recall.

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GIF Marketing: Outdoor Digital Ads 

This one is interesting, isn’t it? Can the power of GIFs extend beyond the internet and your device screens? The answer is yes. 

Digital billboards are fast replacing the traditional ones, so it is time to upgrade your advertisements too.

While digital billboards allow you to use images and videos for your advertisements, GIFs are engaging, inexpensive, eye-catching, and easier to create than a video.

It is also perfect for someone waiting at traffic lights or for the bus or train to consume rather than long-form ads. 

Netflix’s GIF-based digital campaign in France propelled their brand awareness and recall to new heights and became one of the most-talked-about campaigns by the brand.

Kimp Tip: The GIF billboard is a great asset for brand awareness and reaches a wider local audience with a higher conversion rate. Just be sure to follow your brand style guide to a tee here so you capitalize on all that awareness.

Download or Create GIFs: What works best for your business?

Okay, now you know why you need GIFs and how you can use them to the maximum for your business. But, there is still a  bigger dilemma to consider. 

With billions of GIFs on the internet, you can download a GIF that suits your purpose from one of the many free GIF sites. It is easy to find one that suits the mood, tone, and audience you want to cater to.

But, is it the right choice for your advertisements?

Not if you want to create custom branded content. And a unique brand experience.

While free GIF sites allow you to explore a variety of easy-to-use GIFs, they are best suited for occasional social media content, customer engagement, and casual conversations on the internet.

GIF marketing has a deeper goal. The aim is to animate your content to make it engaging and easy to consume for your customers. Pre-made GIFs are not the ideal choice to establish credibility and optimize your brand’s value in the market. 

Custom-made GIFs come with many advantages such as:

  1. The option to incorporate branding values and style in them 
  2. Animating unique and proprietary content enabling commercial usage without copyright claims 
  3. Establishing a unique and distinct advertising identity among the consumers 

If you want to stand apart from the crowd and catch the attention of the busy user, custom-made GIFs are the best choice. 

Kimp – Custom-made and Stylish GIFs for your Brand 

Often, brands underestimate the skill and time one needs for creating quality, stylish, and on-point GIFs. As a brand, you always seek to deliver the best content to your customers. And advertisements often lie at the top of that pyramid. So, it only goes to show that you need a professional design team to bring out the best in every GIF-based ad.

GIFs are a perfect substitute for videos when you want to deliver something lighter, more fun, and creative.

Kimp’s expertise in Graphics and Videos has brought out amazing advertisement designs for our clients. We take pride in working with you to make every marketing campaign a success. 

Choose Kimp to get more creative, engaging, and memorable advertising creatives. Our flat-rate design subscriptions ensure you get to work with a dedicated design team at an unbelievable price.

Sign up for the free trial today and prepare yourself for designs that change the face of your campaigns.