Do you want to create more engaging content for your marketing campaigns? Curious whether GIFs are a good choice for your business?
In this article, you'll learn six ways to use attention-grabbing GIFs in your social media campaigns and easy ways to create them.
What Is a Marketing GIF?
A GIF is a visual format that displays a series of sequential images, producing an animated effect. Although they don't feature sound, marketing GIFs can include captions and text overlays, which means they can communicate virtually any message your business aims to promote.
So what separates GIFs from videos and why are these animated creatives so ideal for marketing? GIFs typically last for just a few seconds, making them great fits for fast-paced social media channels. Since most are under 10 seconds, they can capture your audience's attention instantly and convey your brand's messaging efficiently.
For example, the @RalphsGrocery tweet below includes an eye-catching marketing GIF. In just a few seconds, the GIF shows followers how to build a peanut butter and jelly sandwich using several products available at the grocery chain's retail stores.
GIFs are also easy for anyone to share across social media and beyond. Most social channels support GIFs, and some even have built-in GIF search tools. If your marketing GIFs resonate with your audience, fans and customers may use your creatives and spread your message even further.
6 Ways to Use GIFs for Marketing
Wondering how GIFs could improve your company's campaigns? Here are six ways to use GIFs for marketing.
#1: Tutorials and How-To Guides
Because of their animated nature, GIFs are ideal for showing how to do something. Each frame of your animated GIF can reveal a new step, creating a complete mini-tutorial. Since GIFs loop automatically, followers can easily review steps they missed so they can see the whole how-to guide.
In the LinkedIn post below, Airtable uses a GIF that shows how to use the collaborative app's search tool. The GIF illustrates the various search modes, making it clear how the tool can streamline workflows. To learn more, users can tap to read the linked blog post, which includes several how-to GIFs.
#2: Product Spotlights and Uses
Do you want to showcase multiple products in a single social media post? GIFs can display a series of still images, creating an animated slideshow of products. Since they loop automatically, they can be more effective than carousel posts, which require users to interact.
In the @jewelosco tweet below, a GIF reveals several items available in the retail store's garden center. It cycles through a variety of products, effectively illustrating the caption's promise: “…everything you need from seeds, to mulch, to flowers!”
#3: Company and Team Introductions
A great team photo or employee snapshot can be helpful for introducing your company to customers. But whether you create it with a video or a few images, an animated GIF can convey so much more.
For example, the Chili Piper LinkedIn post below includes a branded GIF. The animation shows two company logos joining together to illustrate Chili Piper's partnership with Revenue Pulse. Since the post uses a GIF rather than a video, it plays automatically, allowing it to capture attention and stop the scroll more effectively.
#4: Awards and Accolades
Highlighting the awards and accolades your company has won is a great way to show social proof. Naturally, an award-winning brand can be easier for prospects to trust, which can help you attract more customers. Animated GIFs can make your award posts more engaging, which can help you get the credibility boost you want.
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The @DoolyHQ Facebook post below highlights one of the connected workspace platform's recent awards. The GIF adds confetti to the image, creating a sense of celebration and attracting followers' eyes in a busy Facebook feed.
#5: Sales and Discounts
If you're looking for a new way to alert customers to your company's sales and discounts, GIFs can be a smart choice. In addition to standing out on the timeline, GIFs are great for showcasing your company's unique style.
For instance, the @kroger tweet below uses a GIF with the company's distinctive style to draw attention to a free promotion. Followers who spot the GIF on their timeline are likely to identify the brand right away, which may prompt them to read the caption and take advantage of the offer.
#6: GIF Collections for Customers
Because GIFs are so easy to share, they can develop a life of their own. Along with adding marketing GIFs to campaign posts, you can make these creative assets available for anyone to repurpose. By taking this additional step, you can share your messaging wider and get customers more involved.
In the tweet below, @Publix shows the brand's response to a customer comment. The tweet mentions the grocery chain's #GoodTogether campaign in the caption and includes a branded GIF to reiterate the message. Customers can repurpose this and many other @Publix GIFs by using Twitter's built-in GIF search tool, which can help increase awareness.
How to Create a Marketing GIF on Your Phone
No matter how your team plans to use GIFs, you can easily make them with mobile apps. Let's look at four ways to create marketing GIFs on your phone.
If you want to make an animated GIF from an existing video, GIFs.com makes the process easy. Although this tool does allow you to upload video files directly, it's especially helpful if you've already published your video to YouTube or Instagram.
Start by pasting the video URL and pressing the Continue button. Once the site processes your video, you can trim it to meet campaign specs. Then you can use the editing tools in the top menu to tailor the GIF to your brand or campaign.
For example, you can add text overlays that appear at specific time stamps. You can also choose from the site's stickers or add your own. GIFs.com also has a long list of adjustments you can make such as increasing the saturation or cropping the GIF.
When you're finished editing, click the Create GIF button in the upper-right corner. Give your GIF a title and add tags to make searching simpler. Then click the Next button to finish the process. You can download the GIF file and add it to a social media post right away.
Open the Canva app and get started with a new video design. If you want to create a square GIF, you can use the Facebook or Instagram video preset. Otherwise, choose a custom video design and enter the dimensions you want to use.
Then upload your video file to the app and trim it or add more clips. To add elements like images or text, tap the plus icon. You can add your company's logo, a campaign graphic, or other branded elements.
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When you're finished creating your GIF, tap the save icon in the upper-right corner. Tap the File Type menu and choose GIF. Then download the file to your mobile device and add it to a Twitter or Facebook post.
Although videos are the most common source material for GIFs, you can also use Canva to make GIFs from a still image. Start a new design using the dimensions of your choice, and then use Canva's editing tools. Similar to the video workflow, you can add logos or other branded elements and use filters and other editing tools.
When you're done, tap Animate in the bottom menu. You can choose from a variety of animation styles that affect the image, the text overlays, or both. Then tap the save icon in the upper-right corner and choose GIF as the file type.
Do you want to create GIFs that people can easily find and use in Instagram stories and other media? With Unscreen, you can complete the first step of the process—creating simple GIFs that feature your business.
If you already have a video clip saved, you can upload it to Unscreen right away. Just tap the Upload Clip button and select a video file. Unscreen automatically removes the background from the video and lets you save the edited file as a GIF.
Don't have a video clip ready to go? You can film yourself, your team, or your products with your phone and then upload the clip to Unscreen using the workflow above. Once Unscreen processes your video clip, you can follow the steps below to make your content searchable in standard GIF databases.
Saving marketing GIFs so you can upload them to your social posts is an efficient way to create campaign content. But when you want to create GIFs and make them sharable, an app like Giphy is a better choice.
Open the Giphy app and tap the Create button in the upper-right corner. Next, film the video you want to convert into a GIF or upload a pre-existing video file. Then use Giphy's robust editing tools to get your marketing GIF just right.
You can crop your GIF to specific dimensions or trim the clip to make it shorter.
Giphy also lets you add text overlays in a variety of colors and styles. You can even add zoom and distortion effects to your GIFs.
When you're done editing, tap the arrow icon and choose whether you'd like to save the GIF or upload it to Giphy. You can also share it directly to your social channel of choice. Tap on the GIF, select the channel, and publish a campaign post.
If you want to make your GIF sharable, be sure to upload it to Giphy as well. With a Giphy brand channel, you can essentially distribute your GIFs across many major social media channels. For example, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook stories have built-in Giphy-powered search tools that make your GIFs easy for anyone to find and reuse.
Since some devices and platforms use a Tenor-powered GIF search tool, it's also helpful to create GIFs using Tenor. Go to the Tenor mobile site and tap to upload an image file or video for your GIF. Then add branded hashtags and other relevant, keyword-driven tags to make your GIF easier to find.
You can proceed to upload your GIF as-is. Or tap the pencil icon to access the site's editing tools. You can trim the clip, crop it to fit different dimensions, or add text overlays. After you're done editing, tap the Create button and then tap the Upload to Tenor button.
Once you upload your GIF to Tenor, you can get a direct link or share the content to social media. You can't download from Tenor, however, so think of this app as a sharing tool only.
Where to Host Your Marketing GIFs
For some campaigns, your team may want to maintain ownership over the marketing GIFs you create and publish. In that case, it's typically best to use one of the GIF-making apps above and upgrade to a paid plan.
That way, you can create as many GIFs as you need and eliminate any watermarks included in free plans. Then you can download all of the GIFs you make and publish them to social media or other marketing channels as necessary.
But if you want customers and fans to be able to use your marketing GIFs, it's important to make them both sharable and easy to find. That means you should use either Giphy or Tenor (or both) to host your GIFs and drive discovery.
Hosting GIFs With Giphy
With a standard Giphy account, you can create and share GIFs. But when you want others to find and share your GIFs, you need a Giphy brand account. To get one, use your company account to create at least five GIFs and then apply here for an upgrade.
Once you have a brand account with Giphy, you can distribute your marketing GIFs through the platform's search tools. That means users on Twitter, Facebook, and other channels can easily add your GIFs to their social posts. For instance, users can add your GIFs to their Instagram stories using the Giphy-powered search.
Giphy brand accounts also include analytics so you can track engagement and get a better understanding of the impact of your campaign. With these insights, you can learn what resonates with your audience, find out what helps you reach your goals, and continue to improve your marketing GIF strategy.
Hosting GIFs With Tenor
If you use Tenor to create and share GIFs, your content automatically gets uploaded to the platform's content library. That means Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other channels can quickly find your GIFs and add them to social posts.
To promote your GIFs within Tenor search and other tools, you can apply to partner with the platform. With a Tenor partnership, you can feature your branded GIFs, drive engagement, and reach goals ranging from awareness to conversion.
Whether you want to capture customers' attention or extend the life of your marketing campaigns, GIFs can help. With these use cases and app walkthroughs as guides, you can start creating eye-catching GIFs to incorporate into paid and organic campaigns.
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