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Who runs the world? GIFs.

At least when it comes to messaging and marketing.

GIFs can come in the form of a clip from a TV programme, snippets from a movie, or even adverts played on loop. In fact, entire databases of GIFs are readily available due to its popularity. That’s not surprising considering how moving images are more visually appealing compared to static images and convey information faster than written content.

How have GIFs come forward to emerge as one of the Internet’s biggest trends? How have they revolutionised marketing and branding strategies? How have they made messaging tonnes more exciting?

What is a GIF?

GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format”.

It’s an image file format normally used for pictures on the Internet and sprites in software programs.

Similar to PNG or JPEG file formats, the GIF format can also be used to create still images.

Take a look at a GIF we created:

However, unlike the JPEG image format, GIFs uses lossless compression that will not compromise the image quality. This format stores image data using indexed colour, which means that a typical GIF image can contain up to a maximum of 256 colours.

GIFs originated from a CompuServe team led by American computer scientist and software writer Steve Wilhite Wilhite in 1987. Since then, it has been ubiquitous on desktops.

Thanks to significant enhancements in mobile technology, a surge of messaging platforms are incorporating GIFs in a bid to triumph over web forums of old.

Don’t be fooled – GIFs aren’t really videos at all.

If anything, they’re more similar to flipbooks.

They don’t have sound, are capable of compiling multiple images at one go, and if decoded in a certain manner, these images could load sequentially (like a flipbook!)

How GIFs work

Multiple images are displayed in succession within a single GIF file.

Animated GIFs can play once, halting when the final frame or picture is displayed, loop continuously or stop after a couple of sequences.

While JPEG and PNG formats offer better quality images and support a wider range of colours, neither of the two can support animations so animated GIFs remain at the top of the food chain on the Internet.

It has helped to define early GeoCities sites, email chains (aka the dancing baby), MySpace, and remains a huge part of Internet culture.

GIF’s popularity across messaging platforms

Just as mobile phones have opened the doors for emojis, smartphones are pushing GIFs to develop into a more omnipresent form of instant visual messaging.

Its popularity is undeniable.

Social media and online forums like Tumblr and Reddit, along with image hosting service Imgur, have a significant role in providing a mass shared experience with GIFs.

Other sites like Gyfcat and GIPHY also make it extremely easy to share and create GIFs.

They have even been integrated into platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter, making them easy to use alongside stickers and emojis.

The popular blogging website, Tumblr, stated it had 23 million GIFs posted on its site daily.

In March 2015, Facebook started supporting GIFs and with that, over five million were sent every day via its messaging application.

GIF’s widespread acceptance continues to be demonstrated with many other companies like Riffsy, PopKey, and Kanvas, all set on snipping and turning videos into short, ready-to-share GIFs.

Somehow, these simple sequence of images have a way of quickly expressing emotions that people can relate to.

Based on a survey conducted by Nielsen’s Harris Poll, mobile communication has started to become more visual with 71% of mobile phone users stating that they use stickers, GIFs or emojis when texting or using messaging apps.

Adding on, the survey discovered that approximately two-thirds of 18 to 44-year-olds who use visual expressions mentioned GIFs helped to express emotions better than words or emojis alone. 62% of surveyees from that age group also anticipate the use of GIFs more often in the following 12 months than they currently do.

Use GIFs to up your marketing game

GIFs are a versatile tool that can be used across different platforms – from client-to-customer communication on social networking sites to emails.

GIFs possess the power to elevate your digital marketing strategy significantly – they allow you to showcase your company’s personality or brand, tell a story or explain a process in a short span of time.

If you’re not familiar with creating GIFs from scratch – fret not; CraveFX is up to the task.

A prominent player amongst animation production companies in Singapore, we are experienced in creating GIFs and know how to create ones that are in tune with your brand’s objectives.

Aside from GIF creation, we’re also able to offer a full range of animation services, including motion graphics, 2D animation, virtual reality, and so on.

Just drop us a message to get started now!

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