How to Use GIFs in Your Ad Campaigns

Chuck Forbes - March 1, 2017

Lately quite a few people have been asking about other advertising capabilities on social media beyond images or videos. This question brought me to GIFs, an animated type advertisement that some brands and companies have had recent success with. Facebook started allowing advertisers to use GIFs in their ads by uploading them via the Ads Manager tool. This is exciting news, as it gives advertisers another option to try and capture users – possibly bridging that decision gap between using a photo or a video. Now you can engage your audience with a GIF!

Let’s quickly recap the functionality of a GIF and why these types of files are widely popular today. As stated above, a GIF can bridge the gap between a photo and a video as this file format supports both animated and static images to form a short looping scene to grab your attention. In this age of instant gratification, GIFs have hit home with pretty much every demographic, but especially younger generations. Even recent mobile device updates now give users the ability to choose from a library of GIFs to send in a text conversation.

So, how can you use GIFs to potentially boost your Facebook campaigns? Success when using GIFs in your social advertisements starts with strategy. What is important to remember during your GIF creation is that you are connecting emotionally with your audience and doing so very quickly (as GIF loops only last a few seconds). Unlike an image where you try and capture the best scene, or a video that may take a lot longer to get to the point of your ad – a GIF will always get directly to the point while stimulating the user’s mind in much the same way a video ad would. Here are some specific examples of how GIFs could be used for your product or service:

  • Restaurant: Want to try and drive more sales? Perhaps promoting a special entrée on the menu? GIFs can be used to show how that entrée is made by re-creating the chef’s process. You could start with an empty plate and quickly pile on the ingredients / toppings until completion. A user will get to see your entrée come to life in seconds, and if it looks good enough – you could be serving them that same dish in-person!
  • Retailers / Ecommerce: One of the biggest disconnects between shopping in-person and buying online is the inability to hold and see the product for yourself. With GIFs, you could take retail items like shoes, watches, t-shirts, etc. and rotate them for a 360 view, show multiple consumers sporting the items in their wardrobe or even show the same product in different colors as your GIF moves. Regardless of your approach, you have a media source available that can immerse the user into understanding the product better without being their physically.
  • App / Tech Companies: Have a new feature or service rolling? GIFs can be useful when showcasing steps that you’d like a user to take. For example if you have a new feature on your app that just got released that lets people enjoy new filters with updated editing tools as they take photos – GIFs could be a clean, easy way to highlight the new features and/or steps the user can take on your app to find these new items.

Ultimately, GIFs are a great test to try in Facebook or in another platform if you never have before. They bridge that gap while new photos are being taken and videos are being edited, to still showcase something unique to your audience. Create a strategy, implement your GIF ads and keep a close eye on performance to see if these could be a permanent ad strategy for your business.

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