By Andrew Greissman
The animated gif is a common feature of the internet, often used in forums and message boards to capture a few frames of a video for use as a reaction image or to illustrate a favorite moment from a tv show or movie. However, despite the gif’s more colloquial usage, it has also been used in the realm of ecommerce and confers several advantages in that realm based on its unique nature as being part still image and part video.
A gif is especially effective for injecting movement into an email without the need for a customer to click a play button.
Since a gif can display a short video sequence through playing a series of still images, it occupies a special realm in the pantheon of online media and is uniquely useful for capturing attention via email marketing. Additionally, gifs are much faster loading than most videos and can be embedded into landing pages or emails without the strain of video’s larger file size and bandwidth requirements.
Gifs can be used in a variety of creative ways to engage via email and social channels.
A gif has a lot of potential to play a part in branding and storytelling related to specific products, and while it lacks the sound element of a video, the visual nature is great for drawing attention to a call to action. While gifs can certainly play their part in email marketing, perhaps where they truly shine the brightest is as a tool for building social media engagement. Gifs are perfectly at home in social settings, where they see a lot of currency as the driving media behind Buzzfeed posts, Tumblr and other sources of what get shared on Facebook, Twitter and G+. A clever gif can greatly energize an otherwise flat social media presence and create a great catalyst for creating engagement and shares from a follower base.
Gifs should be used sparingly, lest they become overdone. That said, a well placed and clever gif is still fresh enough to stand out.
While overdoing it with the gifs is not advisable since it can begin to feel overly gimmicky, when used sparingly and with creativity, they are still uncommon enough to create a strong impression. Use them as catalysts for social sharing, as well as stand-ins for video in email campaigns in order to add some visual engagement without the need for recipients to press play or follow a link.
Andrew Greissman is a digital content manager for WBR Digital. Andrew’s writing background spans genres and formats from poetry and magazine writing to website copy and press releases. When not writing, Andrew enjoys travel, good food and reading books.
Photo Credit: Huffington Post
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