30 years of GIF marketing on Social Media

GIF marketing

Then let there be GIFs. And once there were GIFs, there was GIF marketing, and it has been one of the longest and most successful digital marketing trend.

They are halfway between images and videos and the world absolutely loves them! The Graphics Interchange Format, or GIFs as we all know them, turned 30 on June 15th 2017, and Facebook decided to celebrate the beloved moving images by introducing GIFs in Facebook comments.

GIFs have maintained their popularity over the years, being embraced by users and brands alike. Used to tell a more visual and expressive story, these short snippets from movies, cartoons, TV shows and animations have worked wonders.

It’s like having a conversation online and thinking, “Hold on! There’s a GIF for that!” There are a lot of people who share that habit, considering nearly 13 billion GIFs were sent on Messenger alone last year. That’s 25,000 GIFs every minute. Now, something that popular has to have many business application on social media too, right?

Facebook’s launch of GIFs in comments has provided brands with the opportunity to be even more playful, interactive and funnier,if that’s what they are aiming for. GIFs are wonderful! They do not take too long to load, they move, and they are so much better than emojis. I mean why send an angry emoji, when you can actually show this!


Or this?


If you look at the GIFs from a business standpoint, it’s the perfect tool to carry out engaging CRM activities through comments on Facebook, product demonstrations, communicating on Messenger, answering queries or talking to the audience on Twitter and so much more.

or Experiment with such playful GIFs that will delight your audience.

Netflix for instance has mastered the art of using GIFs. Their ingenuity lies in the fact that they actually use GIFs from the vast collection of popular Netflix shows such as House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, and Narcos.


Writing for Forbes back in 2016, John Rampton wrote, “GIFs are attracting attention because they are easy to consume and take very little time to enjoy, offer call-to-action capability, and deliver an emotional impact that can connect your business to your audience.”

Rampton explained that by “easy to consume” he implied “fun to look at.” GIFs also helped avoiding misunderstanding, which usually causes downfall of a campaign.


US based diner chain, Denny’s too is known to be proficient with GIFs, albeit on Tumblr and their audience loves it. In a story published on The Daily Dot, Veronica de Souza, a social media editor says,“It’s not desperate or fake or trying too hard. It’s just simple, great content that gets people thinking about their brand, and more importantly, it makes people want to go to Denny’s.”


The rise of websites created specifically for the webizens to find and share GIFs such as GIPHY, is a testament to the popularity of the format. GIPHY passed 100 million Daily Users back in October 2016!

While brands have been massively using GIFs to react and engage, there can be more ways of blending GIFs in your strategy and communication.

1. Educate: The short time frame of GIF can be challenging to fit a tutorial in, but that exactly is the opportunity here. A quick tutorial can educate your users in a fun manner. Not to mention the chances of consumers dropping out due to the length of a tutorial goes down dramatically.

2. Inform: There is only so much creativity in one creative. Use the GIF to inform your users about an upcoming product or event. It creates intrigue, makes the process fun, and catches more eyeballs.

3. Emote: Consumers no longer connect with brands that have a God voice; it is the more human stuff like Twitter banters and friendly replies – blend GIFs in these and you’re golden!

The looping format of GIFs makes them interesting and fun to view and share with friends, maybe that’s why the use of GIFs on Messenger has tripled in the past year. Could Steve Wilhilte have ever foreseen how big the Graphics Interchange Format would become, 30 years after he created them?

We doubt anyone could have predicted that!