What the Gif? 17 tips for super Gif success

What the Gif? 17 tips for super Gif success

It’s been 30 years since the Gif entered our lives with a Dancing Baby, also known as Baby Cha-Cha, which was one of the first viral videos in the late 1990s. Today, Gifs are arguably the language of the web. Every day more than five million Gifs are exchanged on Facebook Messenger, 23 million posted on Tumblr, while 100 million were posted on Twitter in 2015.

A session at SXSW celebrated the format and whether you’re in favour of a hard or soft G, the consensus was that the looping image is here to stay. It’s a powerful tool that attracts engagement like a kitten to a ball of string.

Gifs have a place in serious journalism as well as the ephemeral world of entertainment. They also have a place in marketing and have done since Starbucks gave us lady in glasses in 2000.

They’re so prevalent that Gifs are now the verbs of the web. Engagement rates soar when a Gif is used as either a deeper way to report news or as a conversation starter.

Here are Honey’s 17 tips on how to make and use a Gif successfully:

  1. MAKE IT MOBILE. Yes, obvious but most people make Gifs on big monitors even though the audience often accesses via a mobile device, so beware of small text.
  2. SCREEN IT TOGETHER. Think of Gifs as a team sport. Even if working alone, share data from reporting.  
  3. LOOK FOR SHORT ‘WOW!’ MOMENTS. Attention spans last seconds.
  4. BUDGET FOR CUSTOM GRAPHICS, PHOTOS OR ILLUSTRATIONS. Does it require a video lift, need a storyboard or can it be quick and dirty?
  5. FIND THE SHORT GRIPPING STORY  TO START THE CONVERSATION. In less than 10 seconds the creator must make something clickable and shareable. Ask yourself: can it stand alone?
  6. DON’T BE IRRESPONSIBLE OR OFFENSIVE. If you wouldn’t say it, don’t Gif it.
  7. CONSIDER THE PLATFORM. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr?  One Gif design will not work across every platform. Adapt the core concept to all.
  8. QUOTE A GRAPHIC. Or make a silent soundbite. Don’t copy and paste a quote.
  9. GIF ON THE FLY. This is ideal for press conferences and events. We recommend Gif Cam, GifLab and Giphy are the best tools to make your message stand out.
  10. VISUALISE THE DATA. Use mini headlines or subheads. The Dense material can be brought to life with a Gif and can be an access point into a deeper article.
  11. INVITE ENGAGEMENT. Have a hashtag in the Gif to jumpstart the conversation. #askaboutwomen
  12. TWEET IT. The fast moving content makes it the obvious choice to support your Gif.  
  13. POST IT ON FACEBOOK. Not as friendly for Gifs as we would like it to be. One solution is to export into a .MOV file.
  14. ADD GIFS TO EMAIL CAMPAIGNS. If you’re going to spam people, spam them with character. Studies show there’s a 94% higher click through rate.
  15. BRAND IT OR DON’T BRAND IT? Depends on where you put it. Tumblr says more shares if unbranded. But we think it’s always good to leave your mark, just be creative and subtle about it.
  16. TRACK A CUSTOM URL. eg bit.ly or Google Analytics
  17. SHARE AND SHARE AGAIN. We don’t need to tell you why. 
Mark Terry-Lush
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