How to use GIFs in Your Marketing to Boost Engagement

by Federica Rustico

12 min read
Last Updated: December 30, 2022

Let’s face it, in this day and age, consumers are constantly bombarded by marketing messages across a variety of media. Whether it’s a phone call, a text message, a Whatsapp notification, or branded posts and stories all over our social media feeds, it’s like we can’t get a second to breathe without someone wanting to grab our attention.

And let me speak on behalf of all consumers when I say this—we’ve had enough of it. So much so that we’ve become immune to traditional advertising. So what are brands going to do now? I’ll tell you, they’ll find innovative new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, hoping to get through to their customers. And what’s looking like the next big thing in marketing? GIFs! 

Don’t get me wrong, the use of GIFs is not precisely something that is brand new. But, in recent years, they have emerged as everyone's preferred image format, with more than ten billion GIFs being exchanged around the internet on a daily basis. For this very reason, they present an unexplored possibility for businesses to extend the scope of their marketing efforts, boost engagement, and make their marketing more effective.

GIFs are an excellent method to liven up the content of your marketing efforts and attract more people's attention to them. They lend a dynamic quality to your emails, advertisements, social media feeds, blog entries, and other online content, which boosts the visual appeal and reader participation.

The abbreviation "GIF," which stands for "Graphics Interchange Format," may appear to some people to be a secret web language that describes looping clips of hilarious television shows and movies or an entertaining facial reaction to a comment or post on social media. But GIFs have come a long way since its conception in 1987; they went from being something that mostly teenagers used on Tumblr to becoming a culturally significant part of the web experience. 

The use of GIFs enables us to communicate complicated ideas in a couple of seconds. According to a research that was conducted and published in Time, almost two thirds of Millennials interviewed claimed that GIFs communicated their thoughts and feelings better than words. Because of this, they are an effective tactic for businesses that wish to connect and interact with the people in their target audience over the internet. But enough of the chit chat, how can you use GIFs in your marketing to increase engagement?

1. Become recognizable on social media

If viewers are scrolling through their social media feeds, a simple photo and text post might not attract their attention. However, if you incorporate GIFs in your marketing, you can set yourself apart from the competition. 

Don’t be like everyone else, GIFs are an opportunity to be different—to be yourself! Your individual strategy should not be very difficult to be effective. Utilizing the GIFs that are currently accessible in the GIF library on Facebook and Twitter is one way that your organization may increase the amount of engagement that it receives on social media. Create a post with a funny GIF that is relatable to your audience and relevant to your business, or have some fun in your comment section by reacting to comments from users with a fun "Thank you" GIF, for example. You could also create a post with a funny GIF that is relatable to your audience and relevant to your business.

How to use GIFs in your marketing to boost engagement

It will be easier for members of your audience to connect with your business on a more personal level if you use GIFs in your social media posts. They won't get the impression that they're communicating with a business; rather, it will feel like they're exchanging humorous GIFs with a close buddy.

2. Make an impression on your email subscribers

Email marketing is still one of the most successful ways to communicate with your target audience; yet, customers in today's world are flooded with a large number of emails advertising various products and services. This indicates that you need to do something new to capture their attention and make them want to click on the link you've provided. GIFs are useful for just this purpose. Your marketing emails will become more interactive when you include GIFs, which will, in turn, increase the amount of engagement you receive from your subscribers.

You can highlight a wide variety of products that are sold on your website by incorporating a GIF, or you can just include a humorous text GIF that draws the reader's attention. The inclusion of GIFs in your email messages will provide a welcome distraction for readers who have become accustomed to reading static emails. You’re welcome. 

How to use GIFs in your marketing to boost engagement

3. Bring some life into your blog posts

Everyone knows that blogging is an excellent method for attracting visitors to your website. However, not everyone enjoys reading other people's blog posts. So what’s the solution? By integrating GIFs in your blog entries, you can provide a little bit for everyone. It is highly recommended that you incorporate GIFs into your "how to" blog entries and tutorials.

Adding GIFs to your blog posts isn't only for enjoyment either; studies have shown that watching films and animated GIFs is really more effective for learning than reading text. In our article regarding the psychological reasons behind GIF popularity, we discussed how ìthe speed at which our brains process images is approximately 60,000 times faster than the speed at which they process text. Not to mention that a moving image is much more appealing to us than a still one. Therefore, if you have something that you want to teach your audience, you should include some GIFs that are both instructive and engaging.

4. Put your product or service on display

People often claim that a picture is worth a thousand words; therefore, it stands to reason that a GIF must be worth a million words (or more?). Utilizing GIFs will allow you to provide your audience with a more engaging and dynamic look at your products and services, as opposed to merely showcasing them in a static and one-dimensional manner (boring).

Creating a full 360-degree view of your goods with GIFs is another option; this method is more cost-effective than producing a marketing video in high definition. Using a program such as Giphy, it is simple and cost-free to generate your own animated GIFs. Simply upload high-quality images of your goods taken from every conceivable angle, and in a matter of seconds, you will have an amazing GIF of your product to use to impress your audience. Easy peasy!

But don’t forget that your GIFs may be used for more than just having humorous online interactions. GIFs can be used by your company to engage with the members of your target audience online and to make your brand seem more approachable to them. You can do more than just enhance interaction with these suggestions for how to utilize GIFs in your marketing; you can turn complete strangers into some of your most ardent supporters by using the internet. YAY!

5. Create tutorials and step-by-step guides 

Because of the moving nature of GIFs, they are particularly well-suited for demonstrating how to carry out specific tasks. Your animated GIF can be used to create a step-by-step guide, with each frame revealing the next step in the process. Followers have the ability to easily review any steps they may have missed because GIFs loop automatically, allowing them to view the entire how-to instruction.

6. Introduce your company and team

When meeting with potential customers, having a high-quality photo of your team or individual employees to show off can be quite beneficial. An animated GIF, on the other hand, can communicate a great deal more information, regardless of whether it was made from a movie or a few still photographs. Plus, it’s so much more creative. 

How to use GIFs in your marketing to boost engagement

7. Show off awards you’ve received

One of the most effective ways to provide social proof is by elaborating on the honors and distinctions that have been bestowed upon your business. Naturally, prospects may find it simpler to place their trust in a brand that has already received an award, which can help you bring in more customers. Your award posts can be made more interesting by including animated GIFs, which can help you get the increase in credibility that you are looking for.

How to use GIFs in your marketing to boost engagement

8. Let customers know of sales and discounts

GIFs are an excellent option to consider if you are searching for an innovative strategy to inform customers about the deals and discounts that your business offers. GIFs are a terrific way to showcase your company's one-of-a-kind aesthetic, in addition to drawing attention to themselves on the timeline. Whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, end of the season discount or whatever, GIFs work extremely well for this point! 

9. Create Gif collections for your clients to use

Because GIFs are so simple to send to one another, they have the potential to take on a life of their own. You may add marketing GIFs to campaign posts, and you can also make these creative materials available for anyone else to use in any way they see fit. By taking this additional step, you will be able to share your messaging with a bigger audience and obtain more involvement from your customers. It’s word-of-mouth on steroids. 

10. Simplify concepts that are complicated

The fact of the matter is that people do not all process information at the same rate. Animated GIFs, when utilized appropriately and with little thinking, may simplify difficult concepts and make them easier to understand. They make complicated ideas easier to understand while also making them more fun. You can utilize GIFs, for instance, to chunk together data-heavy material like statistics, timelines, numbers, and the like into more manageable pieces. You may quickly create graphics using animated GIFs, or you can demonstrate to your subscribers that things are way simpler than they initially believed they were.

11. Boost learning and retention

A survey found that approximately 65% of adults learn best visually. This makes sense when one considers that the human brain can handle visual information approximately 60,000 times faster than it can process text. These statistics make it abundantly clear why it is of the utmost importance for content providers and marketers to include attention-grabbing graphics such as GIFs in their work. Both the presenter and the student stand to gain a great deal from the use of visuals. In addition to this, it helps in learning as well as the memory of information. 

No matter what kind of audience a brand is attempting to connect with, if they have appealing images, they will be able to communicate their ideas and message more successfully. The succession of striking moving visuals resonates with your audience and keeps their senses more activated, which causes them to care more deeply about the message you are trying to convey to them. In addition to this, the use of GIFs has been shown to increase the likelihood of information retention by a factor of six. GIFs can be used, for instance, to create reminders for occasions such as product debuts or to call attention to time-limited sales offers.

12. Leverage the fact that they're mobile-friendly

The use of GIFs on mobile devices is quite convenient. GIFs with mobile devices are a match made in heaven. GIFs were designed from the beginning to give moving visuals on the web and mobile devices while maintaining a smaller overall file size. Because more than 80%of people currently access social media via their mobile devices, the utilization of a GIF is a win-win situation. Why not use a GIF to rapidly grab your audience rather than employing a video that loads slowly and risking losing their attention in the process? The most exciting part? When you load a GIF on your mobile device, it will either start playing immediately or loop automatically. Videos, on the other hand, will open in a separate app or window. In addition, the average length of a GIF is only a few seconds, and the associated file size is often rather modest, making it both simple and quick to upload. If you include them in your content, you will generate more video engagement than ever before without the need for a significant bandwidth.

13. Highlight numbers and statistics

Do you want your material to include supplementary information such as statistics, charts, and graphs, but you don't know how to do so in an interesting and effective way that won’t make your readers bored to death? The good news is that data can be brought to life with motion and given an added dose of excitement with the use of GIFs. GIFs have the ability to deliver the ideal interactive focus that you require, regardless of whether you are presenting the data on your blog post, website, or social media. Your data will be easier to distinguish from a sea of text or images that are still if you utilize these since they move in a continuous loop.

14. Make sure to offer customer support

Do you recall one of the previous points where I said that using GIFs to explain complicated processes or to communicate with your audience about how to perform a certain task is a great idea? They might also prove useful when it comes to providing customer care and support. Sadly, this particular application for GIFs is frequently overlooked. Utilizing fascinating GIFs, on the other hand, can assist even the most perplexed customers in understanding your product and getting the most out of it. In addition, you can save a lot of time or minimize costs on employing a huge support team by developing animated bite-sized instructions that are easy to follow. Some examples of these kind of instructions include:

Wrapping up

Our ability to focus for long periods of time is at an all-time low. But thanks to their easy-to-consume nature and simple presentation formats, GIFs are an immensely helpful tool for getting anybody's attention in today's world. Since GIFs operate on their own and communicate the information rapidly, when a person sees a GIF, they’re automatically engaged without having to take any action on their end. Not to mention, your engagement with your users will become more engaging and more human when you incorporate GIFs. You have the option of either creating your own branded GIFs in order to communicate with your users or using ready-made GIFs from various websites. Don’t forget to use popular culture references in order to show off your business’s personality. If these reasons weren’t enough to get you to start using GIFs in your marketing, don’t forget that the vast majority of people do not spend the necessary time to optimize their images for search engines. If you publish and optimize your GIFs in marketing content on a regular basis, you should see an increase in the amount of organic traffic that you receive. Be careful to provide a descriptive title and ALT text that is pertinent to the image! Check out our GIF SEO guidelines to start soaring on search engines!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do GIFs increase engagement rate?

GIFs are a great way to increase engagement rates on social media and other online platforms. A study by the University of Missouri found that posts featuring GIFs had higher engagement rates than those without. GIFs are visually appealing and often elicit an emotional response, making them effective for posts related to brands, products, and services. Incorporating GIFs into social media posts can help to increase engagement rates and make posts more memorable.

How do businesses use GIFs?

1. To showcase products and services
2. To promote special offers and discounts
3. To create humorous content
4. To advertise campaigns and events
5. To create interactive content
6. To announce new products and updates
7. To engage with customers and followers
8. To draw attention to important messages
9. To provide instructional content
10. To create shareable content