As communication moves online and via text message, people lose social cues such as facial expressions, body language and tone. To compensate, some individuals use emoticons like 🙂 and 🙁 to express emotions. This morphed into emojis through which anyone can express any sort of emotion, allowing icons to substitute for words in their text messages such as “wine” or “sun.”
Digital communication is also growing the phenomenon through online networks and new technology. Apple’s iOS system offers emoji, GIF and Bitmoji keyboards. The increase in usage of smart watches also means an increased popularity of visual communication, according to the New York Times.
GIFs are now large part of digital communication as they can express complex thoughts and feelings not shareable through text alone, photos or emojis. Users can communicate with short looping videos that are easy to consume and evoke a stronger emotional response, especially when a GIF contains a person’s face. This is because a person’s face allows us to gauge their emotion, which in turn, results in an emotional response from the viewer. A person can send their friend a GIF of Jimmy Fallon and Elmo dancing to convey excitement to their friend.
According to the New York Times, Tumblr reports 23 million GIFs posted to its site every day, and Facebook reported five million sent every day through its messaging app.For these reasons, incorporating GIFs into digital marketing is vitally important.
There are plenty of additional advantages to using them:
GIFs make communication more charismatic and engaging, especially when they are relatable to your audience, especially a younger one. They are effective when it comes to building relationships with customers and clients as well as assist in strengthening brand loyalty, according to Digimind.
GIFs are mobile friendly. They have small file size and speak the language of mobile digital communication, according to ClickZ.
GIFs invoke the picture superiority effect, in which people will remember pictures better than words. This is important to a public relations practitioner or marketer to stay relevant in his or her’s target audience’s mind.
The above advantages are exactly why big brands are using them. Below are examples of how they have been used:
- Anthropology used a GIF in their email newsletter. It is eye-catching and entertaining.
- Kate Spade’s website homepage is a GIF. This engages customers and may convert them from interest to loyalty.
- They can also be used to inform. NPR used a GIF to animate a map detailing the rise of the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
GIFs are a creative, engaging and effective content marketing strategy. They speak the Internet language, and can help build loyal customers.
Share some of your favorite GIFs.