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Can GIFs Help Your Marketing?

by Tom Bowen
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GIF content is becoming increasingly popular for content marketing and is beginning to revolutionize the way people share information. GIFs or Graphic Interchange Format, are a unique type of media file that can be sent through personal messages and can be displayed almost anywhere online to better express emotions and scenarios in an entertaining and interactive way. Gifs can be animated or static image files and first made their appearance in the late 1980’s, but have gone through a number of transformations.

Today GIFs can be found all over the web, from social media platforms to various websites, more importantly, Google has adopted the GIF properties into a number of their web properties and is working towards the possibility of GIF content to be easily read across all of its properties. While in 2010 GIF files were not supported by Google properties this quickly changed when Gchat and Google Hangouts allowed for GIF files which can lead to GIFs being added to Google image searches.

A multitude of businesses and brands have created a Logo Design that incorporates a GIF to enhance the user experience and get a better CTR. That Click Through Rate is a significant factor in the user-friendliness Google looks for. For this reason, businesses hire SEO Experts that can incorporate GIFs as a means of traffic generation.

How Does GIF Content Change Marketing?

GIF files are a rich media type similar to that of a .jpeg or .swf file which means they need to provide text just like any other field. So Google will read, index and also have GIFs comply with WC3 Web Content Accessibility guidelines. But, how does it translate it into marketing?

Just like with most other content you need to provide all the relevant information for alt tags, file names, image captions, associated links and image contexts. These fields should be filled out correctly but should not be overly stuffed with keywords as this might read as spam through Google’s search engine. While GIF can appear more closely related to video files they are actually a series of images and according to Google best practice guidelines should not include on-image text.

Since GIFs are now included in the image results for Google search engines, marketers can use this to their advantage. Getting a GIF to rank higher can result in more traffic to your content, and when your GIF is shared to a wider audience Google rewards that.

However, there is a downside to showcasing GIFs on your website. Since GIFs are considered dynamic content too many of them can significantly slow down your website speed and performance. Web Page speed is a key component in search engine rankings and those that are slow may ultimately rank lower. But, just ranking lower in search engine results is not the only negative effect. Slow loading web pages are a huge turn off to visitors, which means more often than not potential viewers of your page will abandon it before it has even finished loading.

While GIFs have the potential to increase engagement, bring in more views, and expand your reach there needs to be a careful balance to how many you make available on your web page.

With its proper use and application, you can effectively leverage GIF into your marketing strategy.

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