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Marketing GIFs: Why Your Brand Needs Them + Design Tips

There was a time when newspaper ads were the only means of marketing. Then came the internet and things changed forever. The internet has changed not just the channels through which you can connect with your customers but also the type of content you can use to do so.

Even in the instances where a single line of text is all it takes to communicate your message, you now have to use visuals – like images and videos. And there is another type of visual that combines the benefits of images and videos – GIFs. In this blog, we are going to talk about marketing GIFs. We’ll tell you why you should use them and then some design tips too. 

Several people communicate through GIFs. So do several brands. Here’s a very popular one that’s been doing the rounds on the internet. And this was shared by Paramount Pictures during the promotion of the movie, Terminator Genisys. 

Source: GIPHY

Other than the fact that big brands love marketing GIFs, there are some more convincing reasons to give them a shot. 

Marketing GIFs – 5 reasons you need them 

“GIF”, “JIF” – there’s a never-ending dispute about the pronunciation of this term. But there is one thing that both team “GIF” and team “JIF” agree upon and that is – GIFs are excellent communication tools. 

Did you know that the first-ever GIF was published more than three decades ago? CompuServe used the GIF format to share images in a compressed form. This was the time when GIFs were still images but in smaller file sizes. Later, in the 1990’s animated GIFs gradually became a trend. Finally, in 2013, GIPHY popularized this idea and the rest is history. So, if you aren’t already using animated marketing GIFs, you should! 

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Source: GIPHY

Before you take the big step and ask your designers to create a few GIFs for you, why don’t we discuss the benefits? 

1. GIFs are attention grabbers 

Are you constantly struggling to attract your customer’s attention in the content overload on social media? GIFs might be an answer. Movement grabs attention and GIFs do exactly that. As your customers scroll through their social media feed filled with images and videos, GIFs stand out. 

What’s more? GIFs help you use animation to provide a new perspective or challenge your customers’ perspectives. This can be by educating them about your service/product or showcasing what makes your brand unique. 

GIF design by Kimp 

In the above GIF, the sequence of images displayed next to the brand name show the kind of services to expect. It helps instantly tell customers that the brand offers comprehensive plans. As you can see from this example, GIFs can grab attention and present your information in a more memorable way. 

2. Anything that’s engaging is good for business 

When you add a visual to support the information you share, it is easier for people to get the message. And with GIFs, the effect is magnified. In addition to the imagery that simplifies the message, you also have animation that sets the idea in motion. The animation also makes it possible to capture the emotion you wish to convey.

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Source: GIPHY

In the above GIF by Starbucks, an image of a snow globe would have been “sufficient” to convey the message. But the animation of shaking the snow globe is what captures the holiday spirit more accurately. To sum it up, GIFs evoke an emotional response and therefore they are more engaging than stationary images. 

3. Social media users love GIFs

We see people use GIFs even while communicating on messaging apps. They are fun and interactive. As a brand, when you share trending content types like GIFs, you are communicating in a language your customers understand. And this makes your brand approachable. In other words, GIFs help humanize your brand. 

Moreover, if you wish to create viral content that grabs more eyeballs and increases the visibility of your brand, you need to go with the trends on social media. Trends that your customers recognize. And GIFs are quite the trend! 

4. GIFs can tell your story 

Visuals are useful aids in storytelling. And GIFs can do it quite effectively. Once you have an image to convey your message, animating portions of it can help shift the viewer’s attention to a particular portion of the visual. Or you can use animation to present information in a particular order so that users do not miss out on any detail. 

In the animation below, for example, at first, you just see the ring. But the animated explanation of the gemstones used adds more depth to the message. 

GIF design by Kimp 
5. They are easily shareable 

Customers who love your content turn into advocates for your brand by sharing your content. GIFs are easy to share. The popularity of the format is one thing. Then comes the fact that GIFs are of a smaller size than similar videos. That makes them easier to share across several social media platforms and communication channels. 

Therefore, when customers share your branded GIFs they are also putting your brand in front of a wider audience. 

Having spoken about the benefits of marketing GIFs let’s now move on to the crux of the matter – designing them. Working with a professional designer is your best choice. Because you need the right transitions, colors, and dimensions to make the most of this content format. And all of this should be planned without compromising the quality of the file. Even when you work with a professional designer, here are a few design aspects you should keep in mind for your marketing GIFs. 

5 design tips to create engaging marketing GIFs 

1. You don’t need too many frames 

With animated GIFs, you have a sequence of images displayed in a loop. The speed at which these frames are changed and the duration for which each frame is displayed are some of the factors that affect the quality of the animation of the GIF. One thing to remember while creating marketing GIFs is to keep the number of frames minimum. 

You cannot miss out on the file quality simply because you want to accommodate several frames. A few frames packed into a high-quality animated GIF is always the better option. Too many frames or a long duration do not particularly justify the purpose of an animated GIF. You have videos for that. Why even with videos short-form videos that are less than 10-seconds long are the most popular these days. 

Fewer frames also mean a smaller file size. You will find 100MB GIFs and several that are just a few kilobytes. Stick with smaller file sizes wherever possible. Smaller files are more likely to get shared. Moreover, when the file size is less, you can easily repurpose it on multiple social media platforms, even on platforms like Tumblr where the compressed GIF file size limit is 5MB. 

With too many frames in the GIF, you might have to compress the file too much to keep up with the file size restrictions. And this might lead to quality issues like grainy visuals or lags in the animation. Both of these can hamper the impact of your marketing GIFs. 

GIF design by Kimp 
2. Design with the platform and the device in mind 

Just like Tumblr’s restriction on the file size for animated GIFs, every platform has a different set of requirements. This includes the resolution and file size. Be mindful of these restrictions when you design your animated marketing GIFs. Otherwise, the platform might compress the file for you and the effect might not be the same. 

The other consideration will be the device on which the animated GIF plays. In this case, both resolution and file size come to play. Smaller files load faster on mobile devices. Another reason to stick with fewer frames. The role of a GIF is to grab attention – but if your animated GIF takes a long time to load, your customer might skim through the email and leave before the GIF loads. The purpose of including GIFs in emails is lost there. Furthermore, if you are using GIFs on websites and if the loading time is more, your overall web page loading time is more. And this can be bad for your SEO. 

Now, about the resolution of your animated GIFs – square GIFs of a higher resolution are perfect for use as social media posts. These appear similar on both mobile and desktop. But if you are using a smaller resolution, pay attention to the text and animated elements on your GIF. If these are not noticeable on a mobile device then the GIF would not make much of an impact. 

3. Go light on the animation 

Motion graphics has become an essential component in marketing content because it has the power to pull a user’s attention away from whatever they are currently looking at and take notice of what you have to say. 

We bet the animated flame in the below GIF will make it hard to ignore the GIF as you read this paragraph! That’s precisely why you should go light on the animation in your GIFs. in every design there are several elements. There could be several objects within the frame and there could be text too. If you choose to animate multiple elements, there would be too many things fighting for the viewer’s attention. As a result, the viewer might feel distracted and lose the message. 

GIF design by Kimp 

Therefore, the secret sauce for an impactful GIF is minimal transition. In the above example, only the flame is animated but the GIF still has your attention. Apparently, simple animations go a long way in making your GIF engaging. 

Kimp Tip: Confused about choosing the element to animate in your design? Identify the one that makes the most impact. Or the one that deserves maximum attention. For example, the CTA button or a sale announcement, or accents that set the mood of the design. 

And if there are multiple elements that need to be animated, fix the direction of animation. If all the elements converge towards a point or diverge away from a point the design still looks harmonious and the purpose is still clear. 

4. Create a free-flowing transition 

In graphic design, hierarchy is a principle that you simply cannot ignore. Hierarchy directs customers in the right direction and creates a smooth flow in the design. Similarly, when it comes to animated marketing GIFs, your transitions, visual weights of elements as well as the orientation of specific elements can be used to create a clear visual flow in the design. 

GIF designs without direction look like an endless loop with no clear purpose. Such loops are good for entertainment purposes but if your GIFs are meant to convey a message, there should be a strategy to guide your users through the design. 

GIF design by Kimp 

With an animated GIF like the one above, your viewer’s eyes automatically move from one product to the next. They visually interact with the design and that is how you create an impact on them. 

Kimp Tip: Marketing GIFs are mostly designed to not just convey the brand’s message but also to get users to take action. Therefore, a CTA adds so much more value to the GIF. If all the transitions in your design point towards the CTA or if the CTA button happens to be the sole animated object in the design, then it becomes a hard-to-miss entity of your GIF. 

GIF design by Kimp 

The animated CTA in the above design ensures that the viewer gets a hint about where to go next. 

Want to create simple interactive marketing GIFs like this one? Get in touch with the Kimp team today. 

5. Stick with a brief copy 

Animated marketing GIFs can be designed with and without text, depending on the purpose of the GIF. But most of them contain text since there is a product feature to highlight or a sale to announce or a brand detail to present. Text helps customers understand the animation better and vice versa. But that does not mean that you need to overload the text content in a GIF. 

Remember that GIFs are not videos. Users might pause a video and take a moment to process the information. But GIFs are meant to be quick bites of information or entertainment where you can also squeeze in your brand message. So, keep the text to the bare minimum. Adjust the frame playback speed in such a way that the frames with text stay slightly longer. 

Kimp Tip: If you are finding it tough to keep the copy short, as in the case of email design, you can always keep the text field stationary and animate any other element that feels relevant.

GIF design by Kimp 

Choose Kimp and start incorporating marketing GIFs 

Creating marketing GIFs can be challenging. But creating high-quality marketing GIFs that are aligned with your brand’s visual style and suitable for use across multiple platforms can be even more challenging. That’s why leaving it to a professional design team like Kimp can save you a lot of time and effort. Why wait? Give Kimp subscriptions a try by signing up for our free trial today.