What Type of GIF Works Best for Your Business?

by Federica Rustico

12 min read
Last Updated: May 26, 2023

Now that you’ve landed in the world of GIFs, it’s time to make some distinctions. If you’re one of those people who think there’s only one type of GIF, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, just like there are various emojis, there are numerous types of GIFs. But the million dollar question is: which GIF should your brand be using? In point of fact, marketers ought to make use of all different kinds of GIFs in order to better enhance their interaction across all platforms with a variety of consumer demographics. If you are just starting out with GIF marketing, you will want to become familiar with the many sorts of GIFs and understand which format will be most helpful to you in achieving your marketing goals. In this post, you will gain an understanding of the various sorts of GIFs as well as how you can use them to reach your customers. Ready, set, go!

Before we get to the different types of GIFs, what is a GIF, anyway? A GIF is a series of images contained in a single file, that allows images to loop sequentially and endlessly. Pretty much any type of content can be saved as a GIF. But for the sake of clarity, we’re going to break GIFs down into five main categories:

Video-based GIFs

Historically speaking, video-based GIFs have been the most common type of GIF format. This GIF format is ideal for the production of humorous memes that may be shared in an almost compulsive manner as well as brief videos that convey feelings. This particular GIF format can be discovered in virtually every area of the internet and has become a favorite among marketers for use in emails, blog posts, website content, and discussion forums. Additionally, regular people use it all the time in message exchanges within the majority of the most popular messaging and social networking platforms. The term "response GIF" refers to a video-based GIF that is frequently used in messaging exchanges.

The production of video-based GIFs can be a pretty straightforward process for marketers. You just need to take the best of your video footage and convert it into a series of brief video snippets that are humorous while still conveying the intended feeling or message. Because of this, the video-based GIF format has the lowest barrier to entry for businesses who already have video material to utilize in GIF marketing. This approach is very useful for promoting television shows, motion pictures, and any other type of business that is focused around video and media.

For example, the popularity of Bridgerton was also measured by the hundreds of millions of views that their reaction GIFs received. 

Go Away GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Friends, one of NBC's most popular and critically acclaimed television sitcoms, inspired the network to develop GIFs. Even though the show hasn't produced any new episodes in over 15 years, its GIFs allow fans of the show to express themselves in messaging conversations by sharing clips of their favorite characters and scenes from the show. These clips can be scenes from the show or scenes from their favorite characters on the show. Additionally, because of this, the show is able to get visibility among younger viewers who have possibly never watched it before. Up to this day, the Friends GIPHY channel has accumulated more than one billion views.

Season 5 Happy Holidays GIF by Friends - Find & Share on GIPHY

You should use video-based GIFs if any of the following apply:

Animation-based GIFs

GIFs that are based on animation are distributed and used in a manner that is similar to that of GIFs that are based on video. The creation of these GIFs typically requires more work than the creation of video-based GIFs, but they provide more creative options for conveying your message in a light-hearted manner.

Chocolate Watching GIF by M&M's UK - Find & Share on GIPHY

Many companies employ animated GIFs to produce visuals that cannot be adequately communicated through the use of video. This GIF style is extremely popular due to the fact that the images are frequently humorous and do not appear "too human." For instance, after only one date, it might be a bit much to send a video-based GIF of two people snuggling together while watching TV. But a GIF that shows a nice smiling M&M saying that they’re ready for movie night comes across as a cuter and more cheerful message to the viewer.

You should use GIFs with animation if any of the following apply:

GIF Stickers

Stickers are very different from GIFs based on video and animation, which some people refer to as "rectangular GIFs." Stickers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sticker GIFs, in contrast to their more symmetrical relatives, are free to assume any form or shape they desire. Because they aren't limited to just messaging chats, they don't have to appear like a typical photo or video that you would share in a messaging app or on social media. This is because they aren't restricted to just messaging conversations. Sticker GIFs can be applied to a variety of different things, just like stickers can in real life. Digital stickers are most commonly superimposed over photos or videos that users publish in the "Story" format on social networking platforms; however, they can also be utilized within messaging applications. GIF stickers have seen a surge in popularity as a result of the expansion of the Stories feature on both Instagram and Snapchat.

When individuals share video and animation-based GIFs with one another, the GIF itself typically does not need any supporting text or images to function properly. The message is conveyed through the GIF itself. Stickers are distinct in that they are added to pictures or videos that already exist as a means of enhancing the existing material with more feeling or further communicating the message being sent by the picture or video. When adding content to their Stories, users of social media platforms frequently employ the utilization of GIF Stickers. This is a one-of-a-kind chance for marketers to capitalize on social media. Your existing customers will be able to share your brand with all of their followers if you create lightly branded GIF Stickers, and you will have the opportunity to get non-customers to have a positive interaction with your brand if they use it in the form of a Sticker to enhance the content that they are already sharing on social media. These benefits can be achieved by creating the GIF Stickers.

Gay Pride Love Sticker by Adobe for iOS & Android | GIPHY

A social media user could be encouraged to apply this Sticker by Adobe by the light branding and entertaining nature of the "Pride" GIF Sticker that the company offers for Instagram Stories. It's possible that the user in question is aware that they are using an Adobe GIF in their post and did so on purpose in order to complement a photo of Pride month. Or perhaps a user is merely seeking for a "Pride" GIF and decides to use the Adobe despite the fact that the content they are posting has nothing to do with the brand even if they chose to utilize it.

You should use sticker GIFs if any of the following apply:

In due time, you will want to broaden the scope of your GIF presence and make the most of engagement by utilizing all five forms. But if you're just beginning with GIFs as a marketing channel to engage customers in a novel and enjoyable way, you'll want to make sure that you begin with the type of GIF that is appropriate for the objectives you want to achieve with your marketing campaign.


This is the latest GIF format, so read carefully. GIPHY Clips revolutionized the way people communicate and share experiences, by providing real-time, culturally relevant videos with sound to the world. Their goal was to give people the ability to quickly express themselves, and to share these videos with their peers on social media and messaging apps. Adding sound to an experience enhances it in a way that never existed before, and the feedback from the public was unbelievably positive. GIPHY Clips has changed the way people interact and experience the world!

In March 2022, GIPHY and TikTok announced a revolutionary partnership, allowingTikTokers to use the Library feature, allowing users to create more engaging videos with clips from TV series, trailers, music videos and movies. This integration was made possible by GIPHY Clips' integration with TikTok Library.

Creating a GIPHY Clip is much like creating a GIF, but with the added element of sound. When creating your Clip, it should not be longer than necessary, as it should be kept short and sweet. GIPHY encourages users to focus on creating shareable, trending moments that people would want to send to each other. Audio should be relevant to the Clip, and should add value to the experience. Background music without context is not recommended. Here are the best types of GIPHY Clips you can create:

Reaction: users now prefer to respond to events, texts, and other stimuli with GIFs and Clips rather than words. Making a Clip that shows how you feel about something is powerful.

People: the focus is consistently on the people, with special attention paid to the most prominent figures. Everyone has their favorite famous people, influencers, TikTokers, and Youtubers. Be sure to include video clips of them in the text.

Quotes: who doesn't use Whatsapp groups or Instagram stories as a place to share inspirational quotations with their friends? Exactly. An efficient marketing strategy is to use Clips to spread inspirational messages and statements from notable people.

Greetings: GIPHY created a content calendar because there are so many noteworthy dates throughout the year. Avoiding content about holidays that people use social media and messaging applications to celebrate is a bad idea. This includes Christmas, Halloween, Siblings Day, and Earth Day. I'm sure you'll be able to discover a few holidays that work for your brand, though. What a difference a greeting can make! In history, there are a handful of watershed events that changed the course of human events forever. You can count on them being shared if your brand has any to upload.

You should use GIPHY Clips if any of the following apply:

Image-based GIF

Last but not least, we have the standard image GIF. This is the most simple type of GIF to create since it only requires two or more images. It’s the simplest kind of GIF but you know how the saying goes, “less is more”. So, if your pictures and captions are catchy, that’s all you’ll need! 

HARIBO Deutschland GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

You should use standard image GIFs if any of the following apply:

Wrapping up

GIFs can be an effective way to communicate with customers and establish a brand identity. GIFs are a fun and dynamic way to express emotions, reactions and feelings. They are also eye-catching, which can help draw attention to your brand. Video-based GIFs are ideal for conveying more complex ideas or messages. They can also be used to demonstrate how to use products or to show off features and benefits. They are a great way to provide a more immersive experience for customers. Animation-based GIFs are great for conveying simple concepts and ideas quickly. They can also be used to add humor to a message, which can be a great way to engage with customers. Compared to video-based GIFs, animation-based GIFs tend to be more cost-effective. GIF Stickers are perfect for adding a bit of fun to your messages. They can be used to add personality to a message, while also highlighting a brand’s unique style. GIF Stickers are also a great way to engage with customers and encourage them to interact with your brand. GIPHY Clips bring a whole different experience to consumers as they also include sound. Using Clips for short-videos of famed TV series is a great way to incorporate Clips in your strategy. While, for the simplest type of GIF, you can resort to the standard image GIFs, which only require a couple of GIFs to get started! Using different types of GIFs can be a great way to engage with customers and increase brand awareness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of file format is GIF?

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. It is a bitmap image format developed by CompuServe in 1987 and is still widely used today. GIFs are compressed using the Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW) lossless data compression technique which reduces the file size without degrading the visual quality. The file format supports up to 8 bits per pixel, allowing a single image to reference up to 256 different colors chosen from the 24-bit RGB color space. GIFs are widely used on the internet, primarily for small animations and low-resolution images.

What are the 3 types of GIF?

For simplicity sake, the most popular types of GIFs are video-based GIFs, animation-based GIFs, and GIF stickers. Video-based GIFs are ideal for conveying more complex ideas or messages. They can also be used to demonstrate how to use products or to show off features and benefits. Animation-based GIFs are great for conveying simple concepts and ideas quickly. They can also be used to add humor to a message, which can be a great way to engage with customers. GIF Stickers are perfect for adding a bit of fun to your messages. They can be used to add personality to a message, while also highlighting a brand’s unique style.