When you look at great content marketing, almost all have a few things in common. They are engaging (interesting), unique, long-term, and valuable to the reader. That’s why animated product gifs are the next big thing in content marketing. Not long ago, GIFs were just about exclusively used for silly uses, such as cats or 90’s movie scenes, but it’s quickly changing.

What are animated product GIFs

I first discovered animated product gifs as a user of MailChimp, where they feature them on their homepage. They went into more detail in a blog post titled Showing Vs. Telling With GIFs.

Essentially, animated product gifs are looping screen captures in gif form. They can be easily embedded, shared in both social and email in MailChimps example, and easier to consume than video.

Here’s one example from MailChimp:

And another from Google:

If animated GIFs marketing cool factor alone isn’t enough to convince you to pay attention, consider this: Tumblr, which has helped rejuvenate GIFs, hosts 105 million different blogs, sees 300 million monthly unique visitors, 900 posts per second, and has 120,000 signups every day, according to the Yahoo acquisition announcement of Tumblr.

Making your GIF

First, you’ll need to create a video using screen capture software. If you’re on a Mac, QuickTime has built-in screen capture functionality. Screener is also a popular option as it’s web-based so works on any computer and will let you record up to 5 minutes free. There are a few was to create your GIF, but one popular option is the free video to GIF generator by imgflip.

Using on social networks

A key plus for GIFs compared to video’s is that they are more portable around the web, do not require clicking play, and easy to make. As for social networks, ability to use them is mixed.Google+  supports animated GIFs, but neither Twitter or Facebook support them. However with Vine and Instagram, there are decent alternatives to a similar experience, especially now that Instagram videos auto-play. And now that Pinterest supports GIFs, expect to see it’s increased use in marketing, especially in B2C. Many mail programs, such as Gmail also support animated GIFs. It’s all about providing potential customers with a sample, just like Teavana does.

Are you going to start using animated GIFs in your marketing more?