When the World Wide Web entered the public consciousness, the only way to show moving images in a web browser was to use animated GIFs. However, they quickly grew tiresome and were often considered primitive and cheesy. By the mid-to-late 1990s, most self-respecting designers, website builders, and marketers refused to use them. You can read more about the history of the animated GIF here.
However, over the past five years or so, animated GIFs made a major comeback and are now fully accepted in online marketing and social media. Here’s why:
- Their movement makes them eye-catching.
- Their artistic potential is well suited to branding imagery.
- GIFs are easy to create.
- They are effortlessly shared across every social media channel.
- Their short, looping nature is the perfect fit for today’s consumers with brief attention spans.
Combine these benefits with the fact that visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. So there’s no mystery as to why animated GIFs are widely used today.
Why should I use animated GIFs on Twitter?
Animated GIFs work great on Twitter because they are an excellent way to get noticed among Twitter’s endless streams of content. The simple fact is when users are rapidly scrolling through long lists of tweets, animated GIFs stand out and tend to catch the user’s eye. The extra second or two of attention is often enough to drive a click to a page, post, or article.
Animated GIFs are far more engaging (and often more entertaining) than static images. In fact, reported metrics claim that tweets with animated GIFs get 167 percent more click-throughs than tweets with static images, and the engagement rate for a post with a GIF increases 20 percent for B2C brands. Also, because animated GIFs are shorter than videos, there’s a much greater chance that users will actually watch until the end.
Beyond increasing engagement, animated GIFs are an effective way to demonstrate your brand’s personality, convey a brief message, or even evoke a smile. If your social media content is generally light-hearted, animated GIFs are a perfect complement to your other content. And if your content is more serious, animated GIFs help your brand look hip and reveal a more fun (or humorous) side.
Furthermore, really good animated GIFs gain some viral traction as users share and forward them to their own networks and followers. Something to shoot for!
These are compelling reasons to begin experimenting with animated GIFs in your Twitter feed.
What are some ways to use animated GIFs on Twitter?
Now that you decided to give animated GIFs a try, here are some ideas for what kinds of animations to create.
- Show off your brand’s personality: Take inspiration from your other content to create a catchy animation that represents your brand.
- Make it relatable: Use a popular meme or a GIF of a famous person to personify a feature or make a product more relatable.
- Entertain: Create a fun, engaging, or funny experience for users to make them smile!
- Product/service promotions: Produce an animation to show off your product or service in a great light.
- How-to/educational: Demonstrate how to do or accomplish something. Think about useful tips to communicate smoothly in this animated format.
- Slideshow: Show a series of images to tell a story or deliver a message.
- Creative text: Animate text to deliver a powerful message in a creative, engaging way.
OK, so how do I make my own animated GIFs?
One of the best parts about animated GIFs is that they are so easy to make by yourself!
Perhaps the most popular way for marketers to make animated GIFs now is the online tool, Giphy. The best part about using Giphy is the tool is so easy to use, allowing you to start from either a series of static images or from an existing video.
Another online option is EZGIF, which also makes animated GIFs from a series of images or a video. This website also contains other GIF tools, such as a resizer and an optimizer.
Prefer a more hands-on approach to have control over the final output? Make animated GIFs using desktop graphics apps. For example, check out illustrated tutorials for creating animated GIFs using Photoshop or GIMP.
How do I post my animated GIF to Twitter?
Easy! Post an animated GIF just like any other image. Click these for your platform.
An important note: to play your animated GIF on Twitter, make sure it is designed to loop endlessly. Non-looping GIFs won’t play on Twitter, even if they are animated GIFs.
However you choose to use animated GIFs on Twitter, and no matter how you make them, start experimenting with them now. We’re confident you’ll find the more appealing, eye-catching presentation animated GIFs provide will increase user engagement and retweets.
One final thought: Even if you fall in love with creating animated GIFs, don’t overdo it. If you post too many animated GIFs on your Twitter feed, your followers might ignore them entirely and even be annoyed by them. Like every useful marketing tool, use animated GIFs when and how they are appropriate.
If you have a website and you’d like to make it easy for visitors to share your GIFs and other images, be sure to install the AddThis
Image Sharing buttons.
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Last modified: March 1st, 2018