GIFs are gaining momentum in social media marketing.
GIF images, the acronym for “Graphic Interchange Format,” have been around for decades but have taken off in the last five years among younger generations communicating online. In fact, 69 percent of consumers recently reported that they frequently use GIFs in personal communications.
Millennials and the younger, increasingly coveted Generation Z enjoy deploying GIFs—memes or short clips from popular TV shows or movies—to convey emotions and reactions.
The growth of GIFs
The widespread use of GIFs via text messages and other communication apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp has been made simple by GIF platforms such as Tenor and Giphy, which can be integrated directly into the keyboard on a user’s preferred messaging service.
GIFs have migrated from private communications to social media posts. For instance, users can now add GIF “stickers,” to photos they upload to Snapchat and Instagram stories.
As consumer use of GIFs skyrockets, many brand managers incorporate them into tweets, comments and branded communications. Many are exploring ways to create branded GIF stickers that users can add to photos and posts.
For example, Anheuser-Busch launched a series of stickers—available to consumers via search—for Instagram and Snapchat tied to their popular “Dilly Dilly” campaign for Bud Light.
Adding value with GIFs as rewards
Offering branded stickers drives consumer awareness organically. Brand managers can add value to campaigns that target younger generations of social media users by offering exclusive GIF sticker rewards in referral marketing campaigns.
Such campaigns encourage users to share a piece of branded content—either as is or with a personal message added—to a particular number of followers and friends in exchange for a reward. In this case, the reward would be a GIF sticker available only to users who unlock it.
Many referral marketing platforms support a variety of social media networks and communication touchpoints, including text and email. Letting consumers choose where to share the message allows for better targeting and greater trust in the source. Campaign analytics give brand managers a way to track engagement.
GIFs are of minimal cost to the brand, meaning greater ROI. Participants are in control of providing their personal information, easing privacy concerns. Brand managers can retain customer information for future campaigns.
Once consumers have earned the unique GIF sticker, they will probably continue to use it in personal and social media messages, boosting brand visibility for weeks to come, at no additional cost.