The animated GIF: how to use it in your digital communication?

 Shunned for a long time, this image format has come back with a vengeance. In 2019, nearly 69% of consumers use it regularly in their personal communications.

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Dynamic, the animated GIF represents a real opportunity for your marketing strategy.

What is an animated GIF?

Simply put, GIF or Graphic Interchange Format is an animated image format.

It is actually made up of several images that follow one another, like a short video of a few seconds that runs in a loop. Created in 1987, the animated gif was very popular in the 1990s, to the point of making animated logos.

As digital evolved, it was for a while abandoned in favor of other formats. But from the 2010s, it proved to be a real communication tool.

Why integrate the animated GIF in your communication?

The animated GIF is widely used on social networks and on the instant messaging of Internet users.

Often taken from films, series or viral videos, it allows you to quickly express an emotion or a reaction with more precision than a simple emoticon.

The interest of GIFs is that they are, in general, very appreciated by Internet users for their quirky and humorous side, but also because we identify with them quite easily. Animated GIFs indeed refer us to known situations or familiar emotions.

Well used in publications or comments, they often generate a high engagement rate.

For example, at this point you may be thinking...

We have all been perplexed by a situation, an explanation or a concept, etc. So the reaction expressed by this GIF is something we can all relate to.

Moreover, it is a lightweight format.

It is now possible to make animated GIFs of the length you want. It can easily replace a small video (without sound).

However, it is better not to exceed 10 seconds. It is also very easy to create them yourself with online tools, or to obtain them from dedicated image banks.

In what context should animated GIFs be used to communicate?

The idea of ​​the GIF is therefore to hit the bull's eye on situations, problems or desires that Internet users may have experienced.

It will thus either allow you to discreetly present your product or service as the “solution to their needs”. He can even help you put concerns about your products and services into perspective, by apologizing with humor.

Of course the GIF is not to be used on any target.

If it works well on consumers, it is more difficult to use on a professional target. You will then have to adapt it by creating it yourself. In this case, it can become:

  • preventive,
  • didactic,
  • or even demonstrative rather than humorous.

Concretely, there are several uses of the animated gif:

In a publication on social networks (Ex: Facebook, Twitter), usually accompanied by a short caption, it allows you to integrate the Internet user into your communication and build loyalty. This is what the community manager of Disneyland Paris did with this Tweet:

It is also possible to use the GIF to respond to comments in reaction to another post.

GIFs can be integrated into your stories on Instagram or Snapchat, thanks to stickers, in order to react to an ad around the brand or to a positive opinion of a user on your service.

It is also possible to use GIFs in your newsletter, in order to make it more dynamic and to attract the attention of the reader. Netflix, for example, does this very well. You can also illustrate your blog posts with GIFs to pace and animate them.

Where to find your GIFs?

There are several image banks to find “ready-to-use” GIFs:

Giphy: it is the reference in the matter. It presents itself as a search engine. Just type in the reaction or emotion you're looking for to find hundreds, if not thousands, of matching GIFs. You can then copy/paste the web address of the GIF (or its Embed code) directly into your publications, newsletters or blog posts.

Reaction Gifs: Although the interface is relatively simple, this site lists GIFs by “emotion”. Just select the one you are looking for from the drop down menu under “I am feeling”.

Tenor: Like Giphy, Tenor presents itself as a search engine. And for good reason, it was recently acquired by Google. On its home page, it gives you access to the trendiest GIFs of the moment. It is possible to download the application to use it directly on your smartphone.

In addition, be aware that many social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, we integrate a "GIF keyboard" in their functionality.

How to create your own GIFs?

If you want to customize your GIFs, or adapt them to your site, you can easily create them yourself using an online tool.

Giphy and Tenor offer this feature for free on their platforms.

The first remains the most practical: You can submit a series of images, a video from your computer or a YouTube video. You then select when the GIF should start and when it should end. Finally you decorate it with a text, a filter, or even stickers.

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