The internet has introduced all manner of new words and terms into everyday parlance. Nowadays, if your content’s not going ‘viral’ then you could be guilty of producing ‘spam’. And if you don’t know your ‘hashtags’ from your ‘memes’, you might need a little refresh.


One form of content that has taken the online world by storm is the GIF. The term GIF is an acronym of ‘graphics interchange format’, which is a bitmap image format. With so many different forms of content hitting the internet at an alarming speed, content marketers are always on the look out for the next great way to cut through the noise.

Research into the online data explosion reveals that, every minute:

  • Facebook users share nearly 2.5 million pieces of content
  • Twitter users tweet nearly 300,000 times
  • Instagram users post nearly 220,000 new photos
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video content
  • Apple users download nearly 50,000 apps
  • Email users send over 200 million messages

In today’s fast-moving, mobile-centric world, image based content which is easy to understand and eminently shareable can help you make your mark in even the most crowded markets. So, could the image-video hybrid, the GIF, be the next best way to engage your customers and fans?   

Some GIF examples

The good news that as well as paying for GIFs that have been created and licensed for use by third parties, there’s also a decent stockpile of free GIFs you can use courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.  

In today’s age of instant gratification and shortening attention spans, this medium demands more attention than an image, without demanding the commitment of a video. What more do you need? Here’s how a well placed GIF can spruce up your content…

1 Add some personality


The value of a GIF lies in its unique ability to express what can be complex concepts or emotions in just a few seconds. GIFs draw on a tremendously diverse range of cultural references that let your company’s culture shine through. Whether you get creative, be clever, or choose to showcase your fantastic sense of humour, GIFs are an incredibly effective way to inject stale content with a little personality.

2 Bring data to life


Presenting complex data in interesting and engaging ways can be particularly problematic for some online businesses. Brands and news outlets are increasingly turning to the GIF to solve this problem. GIFs can be used to animate maps, concepts and diagrams to make data more digestible and entertaining.

3 Create educational resources


The image-video format of a GIF lends itself perfectly to informative, educational and instructional guides. For example, if you’re producing a guide to explain how to use a new tool or product, what better way than via the GIF? Adding a visual component to the instructions in this way can help deliver information concisely, and keep the audience engaged for longer.

To GIF or not to GIF?

Research has shown that humans process visual information much faster than written content, and are also much more likely to remember it in the long-term. For this reason, a GIF can be the perfect way to bring a little life to your content. As we’ve shown, there are plenty of GIFs you can use completely free of charge, adding value to your content without costing you a penny.

The Cinemagraph


A cinemagraph isn’t your ordinary GIF, think of it more like a living photograph. It is an amalgamation of the still image and animated GIF.


Parts of the image are isolated and can be seen as moving. Conversely, other parts of the image are left static. This stark contrast of movement and static imagery mean that certain features of a cinemagraph can appear as though they are stuck in time. The result? An eye catching piece of media that’s great for social media marketing (if done right!).

How can we help?

Need a little expert assistance incorporating GIFs or Cinemagraphs into your content or digital marketing campaign? Get in touch with our GIF friendly team today.   

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