Engage Your Audience With GIF Images – A Beginner’s Guide

Large GIF images representation graphic

Moving graphics search engine, GIPHY, says their visitors send over a billion GIFs each day. These moving images along with motion backgrounds are taking over many of the world’s top websites. With this spectacular return to online relevance, is it time for your website or blog to start using GIFs as well?

A Brief History

The Graphic Interchange Format or GIF is not new. The original patent is over 30 years old, in fact, and the format almost became obsolete as the web moved towards more interactive animations like Flash. It wiggled its way back, however, into mainstream use in recent years. In fact, after ten years, Facebook has finally supported the playback of GIFs on their website.

Why They WorkAn plentiful array of progress loading GIF images

GIFs are easy to consume. The animation lasts less than five seconds, which jives well with the shrinking attention spans of viewers. In addition, it is so simple to use: there are no play or pause buttons and it completely does away with audio. This makes GIF easily scrollable and perfect for quick viewing.

Engaging

Imagine GIFs as photos that still have a bit of life in them. Movement always catches the eye, so by telling stories in one or two seconds, these GIFs have the potential to appeal to human emotions more than a static photo.

Use at Your Own Risk

GIFs are great for blog posts and some web pages. They are easy to understand, engaging, and relay the message in record time. As it is a relatively old format, however, there are ways it can ruin a website.

The format is notorious for bad compression, for instance. File sizes are enormous, which is why embedding large GIFs on a website will most certainly slow down a page’s loading time. A quick solution comes from the recent adaptation of HTML5. Many GIF-heavy websites can now convert the GIFs to MP4 files. Although they are technically no longer GIFs, the sequence of images still appears and behaves like a GIF.

PNG the New Standard

Portable Network Graphics or PNG is also a raster graphics file format similar to GIF with some major improvements. It supports lossless data compression which is a major leap forward. The PNG format was created to be an improved as well as, a non-patented replacement for GIF. So the game has changed. It’s now the most widely used lossless image compression format being used on the internet today.

As a digital marketing firm, we can help you figure out how to utilize GIFs or PNGs to your advantage and get your brand’s message across. Billions of GIFs travel the web daily to eager audiences with two seconds of attention to offer, after all, so sharing one that stands out and is highly shareable can be your brand’s next breakthrough promo.

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