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Use More GIFs to Boost Customer Engagement This Year

by Marissa Aydlett  |  
January 22, 2016

GIFs are making a comeback as engaging and fun marketing tools. So this year, be sure to include them in your marketing plans. 

First, let's define a GIF.

Put simply, a GIF (graphics interchange format) is a digital image format similar to JPEGs and PNG files. GIFs can be used for still pictures, but GIFs' popularity stems from their ability to support simple animations.  

GIFs bring the right amount of fun to your content while they enrich your messages. GIFs grab hold of readers' attention, keeping them engaged from the first sentence of your communication to the last.

Moreover, GIFs are particularly helpful in grabbing attention in our over-stimulating digital world, where consumers are regularly drawn in a variety of different directions... and can be easily distracted.


Animated GIFs hold multiple images that automatically appear one after another, creating an effect that blends a picture and video clip. GIFs only feature 256 colors, compared to the millions seen in today's high-definition pictures and video.

Moreover, animated GIFs don't support sound (that's why so many use written text to complement the image), giving them a look and feel that's unique and more than a little retro.

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Marissa Aydlett is vice-president of Marketing at Appboy, a global provider of intelligent CRM for mobile.

LinkedIn: Marissa Aydlett

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  • by Stephan Hovnanian Fri Jan 22, 2016 via web

    GIFs are definitely a communications trend worth jumping on, for all the reasons Marissa states above. Plus, let's just face it: they're fun, and can showcase a different side of the person you're speaking with (like tell you more about their interests based on whether they used a GIF from The Office or Friends).

  • by Brad Fri Jan 22, 2016 via web

    Nice piece, Marissa. GIFs are a great way to make your content a little more lively. On the Ceros blog, we love them (sometimes a little too much – beware of GIF overload!). Adding interactivity can be time consuming, but dropping in a GIF is as simple as uploading a regular image, while providing extra frames to tell a more interesting story. And yes, it definitely improves engagement if you use them sparingly.

  • by Brian Wagner Mon Jan 25, 2016 via web

    While I do agree that there is a place and time for GIFs and to avoid overuse like any other complementary interest drawing element. Plus, consider defensive design strategies.

    However, when considering whether to use a GIF in an email, check your data to confirm the % of your target audience that regularly uses email clients that don't support GIFs such as Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013. If the majority of your audience does use these email clients most often, then you'll lose the effectiveness of the GIF and waste marketing dollars in creating them. If you still plan to use a GIF in your emails and you do have users using these email clients, then ensure that the most important visual of the GIF is in the first image as that is all they would see.

  • by Jane Tue Dec 19, 2017 via web

    GIFs load really slow and makes your page speed get low score on google insights that is why I am not using that much of GIF's on my blogs specially on my own website....

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