For the Love of GIF

April 15, 2015 by Sarah Netemeyer

Happy 28th year of virtual life, GIF! Just FYI, GIF was intended to be pronounced as “Jif” with a soft “G” sound. CompuServe employees would often say “Choosy developers choose GIF,” mirroring the peanut butter brand’s memorable TV commercials. Good one, guys.

Thanks to its accessibility and snappiness, the animated GIF has taken on many forms— from art to simple gags.

GIFs provide a hotbed of powerful new visual experiences and storytelling opportunities for eager brands.

Goodness knows that GIFs are nothing new, but how they are being used and passed around has offered up a sort of GIF Renaissance. Throwing in a mesmerizing or surprising GIF into a email campaign certainly can liven things up and grab the attention your intended audience. A well-placed animated GIF is a clever technique to make your emails POP— they also look great on mobile devices!

A 2013 study done by MarketingSherpa revealed that including an animated GIF in emails generate a 12% increase in profit from customers and a 5% increase in click-through rates. Strangley enough, only 11% of email marketers are using GIFs.

Queen Bey thinks that number is tragically low… Don’t let your brand’s GIF euphoria stop at Twitter.

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Bed Bath & Beyond blasted away the boring with this snappy little guy.

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Anthropologie had some fun with this Pinterest push…

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The trendy retailer also used this kick-butt octopus to create interest in its selection of digital greeting cards.

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West Elm had a bright idea… I love lamp. I love lamp sale.

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Animated GIFs can be used for a lot more than just humor and cuteness, this format can also help quickly explain a new product feature or provide a visual guide. The upside to embracing this eye-friendly tool is— GIFs can provide valuable information in a concise manner without the need for translation, etc. As we know, humans are visual creatures.

Sprout Social provides a great example of a short ‘explainer’ GIF.

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Want in on the action? Check out these free tools to create, stockpile, and locate killer GIFs:

Happy storytelling!