Get your GIF on

GIFs in social media
If you’re like me you probably have an attention span that can only be measured in nano-seconds. To grab your attention online, especially on social media, things need to explode and cartwheel about just to stop you scrolling for 5 seconds. That being the case I love GIFs.

Recently, Twitter added animated GIF support to Twitter.com, Android and even the iPhone app without the need to go through a 3rd party service like Giphy. Google Plus has always allowed GIF sharing (and they drive the most engagement, according to quicksprout, 39% more than static images) but that leaves two big players out of the GIF support club; Facebook and Linkedin.

The benefits are as simple as Simple Simon’s simple bits:

  • Animated pictures attract user attention more than static images.
  • GIFs don’t require your browser to have a plugin like Flash animations do.
  • They have lossless compression so file size is not an issue.
  • They are supported by all web browsers. (even IE)
  • They are supported by the vast majority of mobile devices.
  • You can cram more content into the available space.

Granted, on Twitter GIFs won’t play automatically in your stream, instead they have a play button similar to Vines or Instagram Videos but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Stormtroopers Dancing

You might be asking “Big woop, who cares? Why are you shouting?” well I’ll tell you why.

As of January 2013, 52% of online marketers had used animated GIFs in their email campaigns (according to Experian) and social won’t be far behind. The success of Vine and Instagram are key milestones in the revival of the GIF and its application on Social Media.

In 2015 GIFs will drive social engagement, here’s a few tips on how you can use GIFs now:

  1. Make your content stand out against the static images and text white noise with some animated social assets.
  2. Build awareness on new platforms (Vine, Tumblr, Cinemagram, Pinterest)
  3. Post SlideShares directly to Twitter using Gifdeck
  4. Turn your video content into a GIF using Imageflip
  5. Turn Youtube content into a GIF using Giflike
  6. Make GIF content on the go with mobile apps such as Gifboom

That should be more than enough to give you a head start.

Go forth and GIF.

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