Images sell. It’s something that can easily be forgotten in the age of SEO, with its focus on keywords, and PPC ads with their mountains of metrics. But the truth is that when people surf the web and check social media, images and video capture their attention far more effectively than text ever can.
That’s why it’s surprising that relatively few businesses use custom GIFs to promote their products. These quirky, eye-catching visual devices might be a common site on Reddit or Facebook, but they aren’t used routinely by marketers. That’s a shame because custom GIFs can do things that other marketing techniques can’t. Here’s why you need to incorporate them into your online marketing strategy.
Add Humor to Your Marketing Campaign
Think about the last time you saw a custom GIF. Given the quantity of animated memes around, it was probably quite recently. Why do you click on so many of these little critters when you look for interesting content? Is it because they are informative or beautiful?
Not really. GIFs are ubiquitous because they amuse people. They can distil a joke or sketch into a couple of seconds of animation, and add a little character to text-based posts. That’s why they are everywhere on the web.
It’s likely that most of your customers watch GIFs on a regular basis. They know the most common varieties and will understand what you mean if you use them in your Twitter feed, on your website or your Facebook postings. So why not use them to add some charisma to your ads?
For example, imagine that you run a business selling something incredibly dull, like stationery. How can you promote packs of printer paper to your customers? Well, when you tell people about your offers, a couple of GIFs showing exaggerated amazement could work really well. Customers will get the joke. It’s printer paper, and not amazing in itself, but the prices are.
Tell a Story
Creating your own GIFs is a great way to lead customers through a brand narrative until they reach the point where the end of the story is a purchase.
Even a couple of seconds of animation can tell a story. If you offer luxury travel packages to sports events, you could show people riding a flying football to the Superbowl, or walking straight from the office onto the golf course. If you sell food, you can show the process of vegetables growing, being picked, cooked and served.
These micro-narratives can be combined with your corporate logo in a corner of the GIF, making clear what the animation is promoting. It all adds up to a highly effective way to spread your brand across social media, at very little cost.
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Capture the Attention of Modern Customers
It’s fair to say that today’s online consumer tends to have a short attention span. Even five minute YouTube videos or short demonstration videos on Twitter can be too demanding for them to sit through. But where longer video content fails, very short GIFs can thrive.
Watching a GIF hardly takes any time at all, but in those few seconds, skillful content creators can pack in a burst of branded information. It’s the perfect way to connect with people who reach for a new link every 30 seconds.
GIFs are also silent, which might seem like a problem for some marketers, but is actually not negative at all. It means that people can watch them safely at work, and are more likely to click them on the bus or train ride home as well.
Well made GIFs also have a hypnotic quality to them. That’s because they are designed to loop endlessly, repeating until the user leaves the page. Marketers can capitalize on this property by drawing the attention of users with lower concentration spans.
GIFs are Cheaper than Video and Just as Effective
You might be wondering why custom GIFs are preferable to conventional video. After all, with video you can create high definition, precise footage that displays your products and explains what you have to offer customers. That’s true, but this comes at a price.
Creating GIFs is a relatively cheap process. If you want to create GIFs from video files, you can do so in seconds using tools like Giphy (which also make it simple to share your GIFs on social media). There are also tools that capture GIFs from webcam footage, and apps like CloudApp that capture them from your desktop screen (a good option for anyone making technical tutorials or selling software).
If you want a professionally-produced animated GIF, producing it yourself may not be an option, but you can source your content from freelance graphic designers with GIF-making skills at sites like Upwork. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can buy an attractive custom GIF that will set your social media marketing efforts apart from the crowd.
Stand Out From the Competition
Marketers are always looking for creative ways to attract attention and differentiate themselves from competitors. Using visual tools like GIFs is an excellent way to do so, allowing businesses to create a humorous, charismatic brand identity, tell stories about their products and connect with modern consumers. What’s more, you can do without spending tens of thousands on a video marketing budget.
With so many positives and an infinite number of ways to use them, giving custom GIFs a try is simply a no-brainer.