Love for the GIF seems to have taken a resurgence as of late. Quite a feat for a file format that was born in the ’80s! Animated GIFs are making their way into content marketing emails, blog posts and even e-commerce sites to stand out and add an element of joy.

Litmus explains it well in this article, highlighting Mailchimp’s recent redesign. To introduce Mailchimp’s changes, they sent a series of emails to help explain their new interface and instead of relying on lengthy copy, animated GIFs were sent to show how the app worked. These GIFs were essentially mini “explainer” video, and allowed their customers to visually see the new functionality.

1. Screen Capture Web App Experiences

mailchimp

This type of GIF would be great for introduction emails, instead of static screenshots. Much more dynamic with a professional feel.

Try CloudApp to achieve this look. This little app grabs any action on your display, and you can pre-determe the size range. A shortened link will be created for you or you can download the original GIF file from the app. Upgrade to Pro if you plan on making a lot of GIFs.

Here is an example of us creating one for our new feature: The Queue:

goodbits screenshot

2. Demonstrate Real World Products for E-Commerce

Nobody does GIFs like Photojojo. They plant them in emails, their blog posts and when you visit their e-commerce site and it’s just like GIFneyland! A mix of static images and GIFs all married together to achieve an interactive experience for shoppers. I can only assume there’s a strategic element to this – GIFs for the products they hope to sell more of?

Regardless of the objective, watching inanimate objects come to life on their site keeps me there longer, and inevitably I find something I need to buy.

Photojojo

Do this today with your products:

  1. Find an area to set up your photoshoot
  2. Make sure your lighting remains constant, otherwise your animation will have annoying light variances (see my example of the pens below)
  3. Use a tripod so the frame of the shot doesn’t change
  4. Move your object in small increments and take a picture with every movement
  5. Once you’re happy with the shots of your product, resize the photos to a smaller size (< 100KB)
  6. Once this is done, the easiest way to create a GIF from these photos is by reading this great tutorial by Hubspot

A little Photoshop knowledge can help, but isn’t required. To achieve a customized GIF without restrictions and watermarks, you can use a variety of web tools available out there. Check out GifMaker to bypass needing any Photoshop knowledge and to achieve a similar look.

Pen GIF
Above is my example. Not my finest but you get the gist of how easy it is to create this type of animation. With an iPhone at that!

3. Increase Click Rate on your Content

Derek, of MusicGeeks sends a music discovery newsletter every other day to his subscribers. It includes a curated song, along with his thoughts on the music and the artist.

Included in each email is a dancing GIF he fits with the song he’s recommending. His emails are so clickable because you can’t help but wonder what animation you’re going to see. And the music’s not half bad, either!

blues brothers dancing

Easier Way

If you found a GIF you love on Tumblr, Giphy or Mr. GIF, do this:

  1. Right click on the image (GIF)
  2. “Copy Image URL”
  3. Paste it – in an email (as a picture), to your blog post or to your website

If you have your own video you’d like to make a GIF of, there are a couple of web apps that can help: GifSoup, specifically for YouTube videos, is a free service dedicated to creating GIFs from any YouTube videos and imgflip is great for uploading your own home videos to create GIFs.

The cons to these are limitations of size and watermarks on your final project.

The Harder Way

This way is much more customizable, but harder. Though, Mashable has a Photoshop tutorial that will have you dancing in no time!

Try to make your own GIF now! And I do NOT want to hear this out of your mouth.