GIF Marketing Strategies for Global Brands

by Andrew Gilbert

9 min read
Last Updated: May 26, 2023

The key to a successful global marketing plan hides in its audience, as it is with most forms of marketing. A foundational element of fantastic global marketing is understanding your audience's needs. Another such element is knowing how to advertise your product in a way that builds the brand.

A global brand usually conducts fresh market research to determine which nations its product might be popular with. This is done before localizing its brand to meet those communities' demands. It's not always necessary to localize, though. Instead, some companies embrace a policy of worldwide uniformity.

The internet, and social media, in particular, have made this worldwide uniformity idea easier than ever. There are numerous factors to take into account when developing a global social media marketing plan. You have to set your goals, discover your brand voice and so much more. But this process doesn’t have to be a nightmare if you plan ahead and use effective strategies along the way. 

Taking advantage of GIF marketing is one of the most effective ways to make your brand stand out - with the GIF being a universal tool anyone can understand. Of course, you will want to use GIFs that either showcase your product or you can turn to reference GIFs that have gained worldwide popularity. Using this strategy, brands all over are taking advantage of GIFs to truly engage their audience and build a modern voice.

Why GIFs?

GIFs have been ruling the social media scene for a while now, with more than 10 billion GIFs shared daily. Tapping into this is a great opportunity to seamlessly begin a conversation with your audience about your product. With the wide array of pre-made GIFs online, and the possibility of creating your own – you can always keep your GIFs applicable to your brand voice.

When using GIFs, you can satisfy the content requirements of your audience and communicate with them in their preferred manner by adding GIFs to your material. As a result, their affection for your brand will keep growing. However, these advantages only begin to scratch the surface.

GIF Marketing Strategies for Global Brands


With so many GIFs being shared daily, you would think that some of the appeal has got to be gone by now. But with today’s fast-paced lifestyle and the short attention span of the masses, catching their eye with a moving image is still your best bet. 

GIFs do not require a lot of time and focus like an elaborate text post might. They also don’t require to be played as videos and ads do. They are simply existing in a constant loop that can last just a few seconds but say so much. The fact that GIFs grab attention effortlessly is undeniable since they simply cannot be ignored. The human eye is drawn to movement – and once a GIF catches their eye, they will want to stay and see what all the fuss is about.

Fun and Relatable 

There is a GIF for every occasion and you can always create another tailored for your brand. However, the common theme to most GIFs is the easygoing impression they bring. You can easily use this to your advantage if your brand has a serious and detached relationship with its audience, as can happen with global brands. Adding a few funny, relatable GIFs here and there that can create a line between that impression and your brand can go a long way to change your audience engagement.

Make sure that you know your target audience and their preferred GIF types. For example, if your target audience is moms with young kids, a GIF of a toddler throwing a tantrum is more likely to make them stressed than amused. 

Break the Monotony

If you already have an elaborate marketing strategy across your websites and social media but you are not getting your audience to engage, it might be time to spice it up with a GIF or two. Digital marketing strategies for the same brand can become repetitive and monotonous to your audience. However, if you use a GIF to showcase your product changes, your audience will not only get a better idea of it but also be drawn to the change in your marketing routine.

GIF Marketing Strategies for Global Brands

Build up SEO

GIF search engine optimization plays by similar rules as basic SEO. Currently, GEO works best for consumer brands due to its success being measured in views and CPMs. However, the keyword structure should remain the same – you need to add keywords that have low competition and a high search volume to your GIF to get it out there. Also, make sure that you’re going for a quality, small-sized GIF to appeal to Google standards. 

In order to do your GEO keyword research, you will want to use Giphy or Tenor. Once you run a specific keyword through their base, you can set on the competitiveness of the word based on the number of results you get. Make sure you are using a single keyword while doing your research since Giphy and Tenor do not make a distinction between phrases and words.

If you are creating your own GIF, upload it into one of the mentioned GIF database websites and add any relevant tags. Your GIF will spread all over the internet, leading back to your brand. This makes your GIF a self-sufficient ad. You do not have to promote it yourself for an extended amount of time. Just make sure you create a quality GIF, pack it with tags and keywords, and put it out for others to see. Once it catches on, your GIF will act as a passive ad – doing the rest for you.

Ways Use GIFs in Your Strategy

We’ve already gone over the reasons why you should use GIFs and a few examples of how they can be beneficial. But what really sells GIFs is the creative range they bring. You can find countless opportunities to use GIFs in, and we listed some below to tickle your mind.

Advertise your Product Features

GIFs may provide potential customers and viewers a clear picture of what they'll get if they buy your product. They can be used to announce a new feature or show off how your product will seem following a rebrand.

Many well-known companies have utilized GIFs to advertise their goods, services, or concepts.

Starbucks might be one of the best examples of brands that know how to use GIFs in their campaigns. Even though their product’s best-selling point is taste, they are well aware that the Starbucks coined look is well recognized and will bring in curious new customers. 

Fit in with your Social Audience

GIFs have been a part of internet culture since its inception. Therefore, social media has become another significant location for GIFs, in addition to search engines and websites devoted to GIFs. And since GIFs do not have to include text or language, you do not need to worry about localizing them. 

Even though GIFs can be used in a frivolous way, it is important to get the best out of the amusement that they bring and still find a way that keep them professional in a sense that works for your brand.

However, be careful not to use outdated GIFs. Using memes that originated in 2015 is sure to put you on the map of brands that are trying too hard to be cool, but a fun and effortless reaction GIF or a branded GIF of your own will be sure to get your audience engaged. 

Provide Customer Support

Many brands have taken their customer support to social media with the idea to keep their communication with customers transparent and trustworthy. However, you can use GIFs in your customer support emails as well, as long as the topic of the issue is not too serious. 

Using a GIF with a frustrated customer is not the way to go, but a cute GIF paired with a praise tweet from your customer is a perfect match. 

Participate in Social Events

Surely you do not have to give your brand a political preference and join the election discussions, but joining the conversation for social events such as Pride Month, Black History Month or Women’s Day will be beneficial to your brand voice. 

Using original branded GIFs for these events is an amazing way to spread your brand voice. Many global brands have already jumped on this bandwagon and become amazing with supporting such social events. 

A great example of this is the Skittles brand with their Custom Branded Packs Pride Month Campaign. To add to their campaign, they promoted their custom packs with GIFs via social media which undoubtedly drew attention to their product.

Introduce a Narrative

Telling your audience more about your brand can be greatly beneficial in building a good relationship. However, most customers would not be drawn to an entire text of how your brand developed or how your message has changed over time.

A GIF showing how your product has changed through the decades or years of your brand history is sure to get your oldest customers nostalgic and the newest ones more interested in your brand.

Tips for Using a GIF in your Marketing Strategy

Pay Attention to Positioning

The internet is filled with animated GIFs that may be used for every situation. However, it takes work to create one that successfully communicates your message. Therefore, you want to ensure that you're maximizing it.

Being selective with your positioning is one method to make the most of your GIFs. Keep your GIFs above the fold in your campaigns, whether you're using them in emails or blog posts.

Your subscribers won't have to scroll down the page to see your GIF when you do this. Your GIFs should be intriguing enough to rapidly capture audience attention and spark interest in the remaining material.

Use bold, attention-grabbing GIFs in the main portions of your content block to draw viewers in. 

Smaller animations may be used deeper throughout the campaign to maintain the element of surprise and joy, adding to the visual appeal and encouraging scrolling.

That alone is a fantastic approach to capture the interest of your readers in your press statement or promotional material and excite them over your new product.

Know your Audience

Considering the plethora of GIFs on the internet, you certainly want to leave an impression on your audience or stand out with your message. Don't just choose any Gif from the internet when selecting one for your marketing campaign. You'll need to employ GIFs that resonate with your intended demographic.

You don't want your viewers to avert their eyes or lose interest. This could occur if your audience doesn't understand or connect with your GIF of choice.

Think about your audience's age group, interests, and what is popular with them. If you’re a brand that sells pet accessories, you will never go wrong with a cute puppy or kitten video – but the same might not work with a sports apparel store.

GIF Marketing Strategies for Global Brands

GIFs are a fantastic tool for boosting your advertising. Use GIFs that your audience can connect to, but keep your branding consistent.

In conclusion, make sure your GIF of choice is relevant, popular with your demographic, and sends a message relevant to your brand. Keep attention to the SEO value of your GIF and don’t overuse it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why use GIFs in marketing?

GIFs are an effective tool for marketing as they are visually appealing and often elicit an emotional response. They can be used to draw attention to messages, illustrate instructions, and add humor. GIFs can also help create shareable content which increases engagement and builds brand awareness. By using GIFs, businesses can make content more memorable and stand out from the rest.