GIFs. Whether you know it or not, you encounter them all the time—on websites, in your email, in text messages, on social media. They can subtly catch your attention, make you laugh, or even make your head spin. And they’ve become so popular that they’ve taken on a life of their own, making snippets of Kim Kardashian yawning the new way to convey #sleepy!
But for the creative marketer, GIFs are so much more than entertaining clips—that is, if you know how to use them and how to make the most of special properties.
So what is a GIF exactly?
A GIF (which stands for Graphic Interchange Format) uses a series of frames of type, illustrations and/or video to create a single image file. When viewed, it will play those images back in animated sequence.
Why are GIFs so great?
People LOVE video, even when it’s really short. But video formats don’t work in email. You have to embed a static photo and prompt people to click in order to play any videos.
GIFs, on the other hand — with the noted exception of Outlook on a PC — will usually play automatically in emails and on websites. Because they’re treated like regular images, they don’t require any special plug-ins—so no “Flash Player required” messages when you’re watching animation driven by GIFs.
Finally, GIFs can be made from any series of images you have, including frames from video footage, a set of PowerPoint slides or anything you want to play on a loop that repeats.
What are the best ways to use GIFs?
Capture attention in a busy space.
Our favorite use for GIFs is adding movement in places where it is unexpected. Since email is generally static, adding movement there enhances your ability to stand out and capture your audience’s attention. While GIFs don’t display on PCs using Outlook, more than 60% of email is viewed on phones and many people use webmail where GIFs work perfectly. Just make sure the first frame in your GIF makes sense since that is all some of your viewers may see.
Remember, a little bit of glitter goes a long way. Rather than a busy page filled with dancing elves, use GIFs to add a focal point, a pop or a punch line.
This GIF was used in email and social to reveal the theme of Einstein Health Network’s annual gala.
Tell a tiny story.
Beyond simply drawing attention, strategic use of GIFs can tell a short story or a deeper message in a confined space in a way that lots of words or multiple photographs just can’t.
This GIF was used on social sites to kick-off Einstein’s Adopt-a-Patient campaign, sharing all the wonderful reasons to donate a blanket for patients in the hospital on Christmas. The slides were then repurposed as individual posts throughout the campaign.
And when you have too many words and can’t cut…a GIF allows you to pace the content so it can be read and absorbed.
Wrap up your gratitude.
GIFs can be used to attract and to thank. Use images or video clips from an event to thank donors or participants – and then use it next time to show potential sponsors and attendees what they missed!
A special GIF for you.
It will be time to jump into 2019 before you know it. Here’s a little GIF we created for Nonprofit Toolkit to give a boost to Donor Love campaigns. Get your free copy here. https://www.nonprofittoolkit.net/giveaways/give-love-giveaway/
To get your marketing moving for 2019, give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.