On beautiful GIFs, and how they make advertising better

“Three to five seconds is the new three to five minutes”, says Riffsy CEO David McIntosh, who created the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) keyboard for mobile. He goes on to elaborate that animated GIFs are the new language people are using everywhere, and it might just be better than text for communication. The format itself has been around for two decades, but there are multiple reasons why it has become the language of the millennials. Facebook understood this and let animated banner ads and posts be a part of its ad-ecosystem, after refusing to do so for a decade. Since then, GIFs have been touted as the future of advertising.

We, at Setu, are particularly fond of this quirky format, and our design team loves to experiment. The static image format traditionally used in digital advertising has been around for quite a while, and with SMM, it tends to get repetitive. As you scroll down a page, these static images appear one after another and blend into each other without any coherent storytelling taking place. Consequently, it’s hard to elicit the consumer’s attention and response with these creatives. At the same time, the video format can be too time consuming and costly to use. So, a GIF becomes a creative, cost-effective and engaging solution for quick storytelling.



Sometimes we use GIFs to better communicate a brand story, as the changing frames supply a more coherent context to the brand message. Here are some examples.



In an age where communication heavily depends on visual expression, GIFs offer just that, with easy integration across platforms, devices and social media. Unlike video, these silent, loopy GIFs play seamlessly with any bandwidth. They take less time to be watched and absorbed, with an equal impact on the audience.

So far, working with this format has been both fun, and challenging for us. A great amount of thought goes into every GIF to firmly root it in the intended message, without making it dull or tedious. After all, GIFs are the visual equivalent of shouting, and it’s best we only shout if the message is worth it.



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