Do you use GIFs in your health marketing?  What about with your content marketing?  Do you even know what they are?

We have all seen them in social media and blogs. It makes entertainment sites like Buzzfeed very popular. Why not yours?

A GIF (with the file extension, .gif) is an image file format animated by combining several images into a single file. This is then  encoded as graphics interchange format (better known as GIF). They use a compression algorithm referred to as LZW encoding that does not degrade the image quality. You can then easily store the file in bytes.

The multiple images within a single GIF file are displayed in succession to create an animated clip or a short movie. You have the flexibility of showing image sequences once or as an endless loop.

what is a gif GIFs can be engaging business tools and work the same way as a video would- it commands attention.


What Does a GIF Do?

GIFs are used to:

  • Provide bite-sized entertainment
  • Elicit emotions
  • Provoke curiosity
  • Explain or illustrate concepts
  • Promote services or products in a fun way
  • Make a statement

GIFs now populates the Internet’s lexicon, legitimized by Oxford Dictionary naming it the Word of the Year in 2012.  Remember how people felt when emojis first hit the scene?  Everyone was using them.

GIF art, itself, is legitimized by contemporary art galleries and institutions like the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City that displays the best GIF art pieces by talented young graphics artists.

Abigail Posner, Head of Strategic Planning and Agency Development at Google, writing in Fast Company says animated GIFs and other such visual media like memes

“reconnect us to an essential part of ourselves.”


Business Uses for a GIF

Businesses have embraced the file format and use it to liven up their messages online. The GIF creates the perception of being a fun, likable company. Brands and advertising agencies commonly create GIFs that have commercial messages such as banners and leaderboards. A seamless product 360-rotation demo can also be a highly effective animation. It helps illustrate the product design and generate interest.

The best benefit of a GIF is that its file format is supported by nearly all Web browsers and Apple’s iOS also supports GIF .  A looping GIF perfectly embedded into an article and published digitally can deliver your message in a powerful way.

Several image editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP and Microsoft GIF Animator can be used to create simple animated GIFs that spread short company videos or messages across the Web.

If you’d like to create and share videos longer than a few seconds, however, you might want to use the MPEG format because the GIF format is not as efficient with video clips longer than a few seconds.

Your call to action is more prominent, and attracts much more attention when you use GIFs.

This is one tool that you want to consider as part of your New Year’s content marketing resolutions!

Come back tomorrow to read more about GIFs and ideas on how you can use them.