From spicing up the group chat on Slack to leveling up your email design, GIFs have permanently changed the game in marketing. 

Seriously, does a day pass when you’re not using a GIF to express yourself in some form or fashion? The answer is likely no.

But before we take a deep dive into all the great benefits of using GIFs in marketing, let’s have a look at where these endlessly looping graphics come from, who created them, and most importantly, why create them today.

The Who, How, and Why of GIFS

The genius behind the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is Stephen E. Wilhite, whose death made headlines in March 2022. 

Wilhite worked at CompuServe in the late 1980s, where he originally had the idea of GIFs being still images. It was there that he was tasked with developing a file format that displayed low-res images in a looping video format. They called it a GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format.

In the nineties, the GIF took on a rather obscure form. It was truly the era of looping images of dancing babies and “Under Construction” banners on newly developed websites. 

Wilhite’s goal for the GIF creation was to make it adaptable, as well as expand its use to others, which is why he made the formula freely accessible to other programmers, rather than being proprietary to CompuServe. 

It wasn’t long after that Netscape, the largest browser in the 1990s made GIFs the standard and by the mid-2000s they were becoming more and more popular.

And of course, today, the GIF is a staple of communication in every form of well… communication. 

We’ve now embraced GIFs as a reaction to things in the group chat, sharing scenes from the Real Housewives, and even using them as a marketing tactic. 

Let’s have a look at the many benefits of using GIFs in your marketing. But first, dancing babies…

6 BENEFITS OF USING GIFS IN MARKETING

1. THEY ENHANCE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That must mean a GIF is worth a million.

Sometimes the only response to a conversation is the use of a GIF, whether on social media when doing your community management for your brand, via internal Slack channels with your marketing team, and of course, group chats.

Plain and simple, GIFs inject some life and creativity into a conversation — which is crucial in marketing.


2. THEY SPICE UP YOUR EMAIL & DIGITAL STRATEGY

Is your email marketing strategy stuck in a rut? GIFs could be the answer.

Not only do they grab users’ attention and help explain complex ideas, but they also can improve your performance. According to The Spot, BlueFly saw a 12% increase in revenue from emails that included an animated GIF.

Using GIFs in your emails is something we can seriously get behind — it’s why we do it in our own monthly newsletter (which you can sign up for in this blog).

A sweet GIF we cooked up for our friends at SAPJACK.

3. THEY BOOST SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

With the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, the importance of having movement in your social media strategy is integral.

Using a GIF as the creative asset for your posts allows for audience retention. Your audience will stick around longer to watch your GIF because it’s visually stimulating and easy to understand.

It’s also a fun way to give your brand some personality! 


4. THEY PERFORM BETTER THAN STATIC

Not only are GIFs engaging and educational, but they also perform better.

According to The Spot, when A/B testing a GIF against a static video screenshot, Dressed Up! saw a 26% higher CTR in their email marketing strategy.

Furthermore, we continually run our own experiments to see how GIFs measure up to static images on organic and paid social media, and we continually find impressive performance metrics. It’s a good idea for your brand to do the same.

A cool Cat GIF we created for our friends at World’s Best Cat Litter®.

5. THEY HELP TELL A BETTER STORY 

In marketing, telling stories is what we’re all about.

By adding a GIF to your digital strategy, you can begin to tell a better story about the products or services you’re marketing.

We’re talking about everything from showing the consumer how to use something, to drawing attention to something important, or to attempting to cram a bunch of messaging into a single piece of content.


6. THEY ARE FUN (and they Scale to mobile)

Bottom line? GIFs are fun!

Whether you need a pop of color in your emails, want to give your audience a tutorial on social media, or just want to inject some personality into your digital marketing, GIFs are a perfect way to show that you get it.

And most importantly, they work great on mobile.

You already know this, but your audience spends most of their time on their phones. And since GIFs were made to be adaptable and easy to load, it’s perfect for mobile.

A fun GIF we created for our own agency marketing efforts.

So there you have it — contrary to popular belief, the GIF isn’t dead. It is in fact very much alive and well, in marketing.

WANT TO MAKE SWEET GIFS TOGETHER?