Born in the ’80s, going through a distinctly unfashionable teenage phase around the late ’90s and now bang on trend – the GIF has finally grown up.
A quick Google trends search confirms it: GIFs are more popular than both Vine and Instagram videos.
So why are GIFs still on not widely used by brands? Part of the reason is that they don’t display well on the two main brand platforms in social – Facebook and Twitter. It’s possible to get them to work, but it requires non-native workarounds and still isn’t intuitive.
It may be that brands hold the misconception that a GIF is hard to produce.
But new online tools like GIF Brewery mean that you no longer need a designer with Photoshop skills to make a GIF. Now anybody can produce a GIF in minutes.
There’s no need for brands to rely on searching through Tumblr and Google for pre-existing GIFs.
Another factor holding back brands may be fears of legal issues from using pre-existing GIFs – a brand needs releases from actors, copyright holders and the GIF creator.
There are, however, a handful of brands avoiding this legal problem by making their own GIFs using their own copyrighted materials.
Adidas, for example, has done this well on its Tumblr site.
Here are 10 reasons why brands need to get involved with the GIF trend sooner rather than later.
1. Tumblr is growing. Few brands are on the network and getting to grips with GIFs on this channel means you’ll get ahead of the competition.
2. The medium allows anyone to be creative. GIFs are a democratic medium and can be created as well by your fans as by your marketing (or any other) team thanks to new tools that make it easier to create them.
3. There are new tools that make it easier to create them.
4. GIFs are usually snippets of whatever is current in popular culture – if understood and done correctly; brands can generate topical, shareable content.
5. GIFs can be used as witty responses in customer service.
6. GIFs can spice up a content strategy.
7. GIFs can spice up listicles (like this very one) to produce short-form content that is fun to read.
8. Use GIFs instead of video and imagery to creatively highlight new product features and services.
9. GIFs tend to last longer on the web than tweets or Facebook posts as they’re commonly archived and used as reaction GIFs.
10. The new burst mode on iPhone 5s seems like it was made for GIF making. Perhaps we will see a GIF making feature coming soon to iPhone.