Animated GIFs on Twitter – A Bonus for Social Marketers

On June 18, 2014, Twitter hit another milestone by providing users with the ability to share (upload) and view animated GIFs. The announcement was made by the support team through the popular microblogging site along with an animated GIF. Several social networking sites such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and others already provide this facility. But animated GIFs on Twitter are a real bonus to social marketers as this will allow them to create even more attractive marketing campaigns easily within the 140 character limit.

Previously if you want to share animated GIFs on Twitter feed, you had to upload them to a third party website and then share the link. Now you can upload and share them on your feed through the Web or iPhone/Android applications. Even so, they won’t animate automatically in your feed like in Tumblr. By the time a GIF is shown, you can see an overlay of a white play button. To play the animated GIF right in your feed, all you need to do is click on the button.
Animated GIF on Twitter
The importance of visual content on social network is increasing and we can see popular social networking sites including Facebook (for example, bigger images for link share posts), Pinterest, Tumblr and Google Plus focusing on how enhance users’ ability to use better images. Software Advice partnered with Adobe in conducting a Social Media Optimization Survey to understand how organizations are optimizing content on social network and which tactics have brought them success. Early results with 168 responses received from marketers say that using images and photos is the most important tactic when it comes to content optimization on social networks. But what makes animated GIFs better than normal images? Here’s what experts say:

  • Capture Attention Quickly – It is very difficult to capture someone’s attention beyond a minute or two. Online video is therefore a challenging medium though it can tell a story better than other type of content. GIF is a hybrid of an image and a video so that people can engage with it quickly as a still image and extract a message from the highlighted movement as in a video. Thus, GIFs can capture the attention of people very quickly and marketers can communicate their messages to their audience easily. In addition to this, GIFs are short and there are lower barriers to entry.
  • Use as Call-to-Action – An animated GIF can guide the eye of the viewer along a specific path without any interference. Such eye guidance makes it a good call-to-action tool. Social marketers should consider how they capture the attention of their customers in different ways through effective and creative use of calls-to-action.
  • Create Great Emotional Impact – Animated GIFs have the potential to emotionally connect with people which is quite useful for marketers. A great example is Google’s animated GIF doodles that adorn the Google home page each day since the FIFA World Cup matches began in Brazil. The animated doodle for the Netherlands vs Chile match on June 23, 2014 was quite interesting with six letters of ‘Google’ sitting in an office meeting with an LCD panel showing graphs are hard at work while the boss walks by past them. As soon as the boss passes by, the ‘E’ flips the screen to watch the match in progress.

Google Animated GIF
This goes to show how well animated GIFs capture the World Cup fever.

Tips to Use Animated GIFs for Effective Twitter Marketing

  • Use the animated GIF to tell a touching story about your brand which your audience can relate to
  • Show the emotional reaction to your brand using animated GIFs (for example, someone excited by your new offer)
  • Highlight your product or a feature of your product on your animated GIF. Samsung Mobile recently uploaded an animated GIF on Twitter featuring Ultra Power Saving Mode on Samsung Galaxy S5, which is a great example of this tactic
  • Before and after animated GIFs can be very effective for cosmetic and cleaning products
  • Animating text that refers to discounts, freebies and other offers or the time of an online event can prove quite useful to capture the attention of your audience

Skilled web designers can create wonderful animated GIFs using Photoshop that are great for social sharing, email marketing, and for your blogs.

About Monica Barber

Monica Barber

Monica Barber is the Internet Marketing Manager of MOS, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She joined the MOS team in 2013 bringing with her a wealth of experience in SEO, Social Media, web design and Internet Marketing management. She has successfully designed digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 and small to mid-size companies and continues creating new MOS digital strategies to keep up with Google’s everchanging algorithms.