The Ultimate GIF Guide!

GIFs are taking over the social media world; everything from the #NationalWineDay to girl power can definitely be expressed through a GIF. And of course they wouldn’t be missing from this year’s CIPR Excellence Awards shortlist announcement!


Did you know that it’s 29 years old? The Graphics Interchange Format (the GIF’s fancy/formal name) has been around for decades—it was introduced by CompuServe way back in 1987 and became one of the first image formats commonly used on the web.

Some interesting stats:

“So much can be expressed with GIFs, and the key is to find just the right one in the moment that quickly and efficiently expresses your emotions,” said David McIntosh, chief executive and co-founder of Riffsy.

GIF your comms

We seem to be in the middle of a GIF renaissance; companies, politicians, and movie studios now work directly with GIPHY to create the right content.

They are now being incorporated into most companies’ messaging and it’s not uncommon to see them even in email marketing. Many brands, including American Apparel and ShoeDazzle, now showcase their products through GIFs, while the results from Dell’s first GIF-centered email campaign showed:

  • 6% increase in open rate
  • 42% increase in click rate
  • 103% increase in conversion rate
  • 109% increase in revenue.

The key difference between a GIF of a baby goat that likely has no value for your business and a GIF that will help your campaigns succeed, is investing in it correctly.

When there’s a GIF on your screen, it’s hard not to look at it; so using them on social media can increase engagement – just take a look at the stats:

  • Adding visuals to your Tweets increases retweets by 35%
  • Facebook posts containing photos accounted for 87% of all network interactions in 2014
  • People only remember 20% of the text they read without visuals.

As with any trend, marketers are trying to find ways to get in on the fun and why not? GIFs can be a great way to engage with your audience and show that your brand has a sense of humour.

5 Brands Rocking Their GIF Game

While there are tons of opportunities to use GIFs online, some brands are just nailing it:

#1 Deliveroo

GIFs can provide the right encouragement for your followers to listen to your message as a discreet call-to-action. As a personal favourite (opinionated writer alert), Deliveroo are doing a great job in creating colourful and fun content.


#2 Nintendo & Vans

GIFs can also be used in social media as a different way of announcing the launch of new products in a more unique and appealing way, in just a few seconds. A perfect example being when Nintendo announced its collaboration with Vans with a GIF through Tumblr.

#3 Paramount Pictures

Paramount is another example of a company with a strong focus on GIFs. According to AdWeek, 31 years after the first Terminator movie, the film studio decided to create GIFs to promote the new Terminator Genisys movie. They took props and scenes from the movie and asked six GIF artists to reimagine the iconic characters and moments leading up to the film’s premiere.

Paramount Pictures animated GIF

#4 Starbucks

Frappucino and iPhones. Last summer, in partnership with Popkey, Starbucks managed to combine the two by creating 21 Frappucino GIFs. Popkey founder Adrian Salamunovic explained “The keyword is ‘subtle’ branding—it’s not in your face, what fails hard in the GIF world is things like watermarks or hashtags.”

Frappuccino animated GIF

#5 Southwest Airlines

Finally, many brands use GIFs to interact with their followers. There are a number of available platforms to help you find the right GIF for every occasion, or even create your own, as Southwest Airlines did to wish a follower happy birthday.


The CIPR Awards’ GIFs

My post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the @CIPR_Awards team.

This year, we were looking for a way to celebrate along with all shortlisted companies and nothing seemed better suited to sharing the joy than a moving image. All of our replies were through GIFs. With just a little extra thought, we managed to extend the social media interaction to a month and the success was obvious – if you don’t believe me, here’s the proof:


Some GIF-using tips:

GIFs don’t work magically so it is important to use them appropriately. Remember:

  • Use GIFs in social media conversations
  • Double check what you’re sharing
  • Go for quality
  • Don’t overdo it.

Is there an easy way to create GIFs?

The truth is you don’t need a Photoshop license or any image editing experience either. You only need is one of these four apps:

Laura Sutherland Chart.PR, FCIPR, Chief, Aura PR also has a favourite tool:

“For a couple of years I’ve been using images and video to make content more consumable and shareable. From using Canva to make visual images to a new app I found last week, Ripl. It uses images, text, a URL and hashtags to develop an animated image, which works across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You set up an account and then link your other platforms. It provides you with notifications of engagement and counts them at the top of the image in your feed.”

Ripl is free to use but if you want to add a custom logo, schedule or open up more design features there is upgraded version for a montly fee.

Need some GIF-spiration?  

Here are 10 GIF artists who will blow your mind.

Personally, my favourite is Jimmy Fallon!

reaction animated GIF

So now all you need to find is a GIF-worthy moment!

Featured image courtesy of pixabay


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