The GIF has officially hit the mainstream thanks to Tumblr sites like What Should We Call Me and, here in Chicago, So Yeah Duh. The seemingly inescapable Graph Interchange Format concept was introduced back in 1987 by CompuServe to provide a color image format for file downloading areas. For a more interesting (and of course animated) history of the GIF check out the clip below.
To reflect this growing popularity, on March 19 Google introduced a search function that makes it easier to find GIFs. Under the image search function, simply click Search tools > Any type > Animated.
GIFs in Brand Marketing
Just as there is a time and a place for memes in marketing, a carefully chosen GIF can spruce up the right piece of content. In the age of Facebook and Tumblr, statistics show that imagery drives action more effectively than text, and since since they loop automatically without any action from the user, GIFs have the ability to grab attention in ways that a still image cannot. Contemplating a GIF addition to your next piece of content? Keep these three guideliens in mind:
- Find the right GIF for your brand. It’s important to choose a GIF that matches the tone and personality of your brand and keeps your audience’s sensitivities in mind. Beware the offensive animation.
- Follow the GIF trends. Popular GIF themes come and go faster than most of us can keep up, but do your best to identify the latest and greatest trends to give your content a potential dose of virality.
- Tailor the GIF to your brand or campaign. Since GIFs are inherently shareable you’ll want to include a hint of branding on the animation itself. This could be as simple as watermark or URL in the bottom right corner.