Saturday, 10 May 2014

Making Gif’s Work in Online Marketing

Making Gif’s Work in Online Marketing

For some marketing devices you can put a decade to the campaign by the images they use. 3 color block images – the 50’s, photos of beach with a pink sky filter – the 70’s, heavily photoshopped images – the 90’, but what about today’s online marketing images? When people look back at the Teeny decade they will be able to identify us by … the Graphic Interchange Format. 

If the 21st century has somehow passed you by, a Graphic Interchange Format is also known as a Gif. According to a reliable team of Calgary Web designers, a gif is a series of photos that are strung together in cycle so that it looks like the image is moving, almost like an animation. Remember the ‘flicker books’ you did as a kid where you drew a series of horse pictures on the corner of book then flicked through rapidly to look like your horse was moving? Same thing, only way more technical.
The Gif has swept through popular culture like a plague where it has been used to impress, express and progress stories, life events and new happenings. It seems its part of human nature to be drawn to moving images, especially those that are clever and intriguing. They can be added to signatures, posted on social media and shared around the globe. It is a great way to get noticed. 

A savvy online marketing professional (are we back to that reliable team of Calgary Web designers?) would have to ask themselves – Is there a way to use Gif’s in online marketing that works? The answer to that is: Yes, there is. And BOY! Does it work!

The ecommerce company Blue fly found that by including a Gif in an email campaign drew in 12% more revenue. An LA based evening wear retailer also did a test and sent out two identical emails, except one had a single frame image taken from a Gif, the other had the full moving Gif. There was a 26% increase in click through rate for the animated Gif over the single image. It’s defiantly worth making a Gif and seeing if it works for you. 

Here are some guidelines to help you make a success of your online marketing: 

Small is Beautiful

Try not to make your images exceed 100kb is size. If it’s too large a file to upload people will delete before they even get a chance to see it, and with 48% of emails opened on mobile devices you need to make sure your Gif accommodates mobile limitations and slow networks. Don’t be tempted to save space and have a ‘Download More’ button in your email as it’s unlikely to be clicked through for a Gif and steals the effect. 

The best practise for a Gif enhanced email is to keep it a 40mb in total and use that space to tastefully accentuate your marketing in a subtle manner. You want to impress, not over power. 

File It Right

If you’re looking to keep your Gif small use the HTML format in your email, or JPEGS for a photo. Use a GIF to condense and animated story or a teaser with a call to action.
GIFS are not a small sized image but are preferred over video or Flash as they are smaller to include in an email. Don’t be tempted to make anything too complicated for email marketing, simple graphics involving colours or lines work well and speed up the download in your email. 

Less is More

Be dignified with your Gifs. Choose a one that will lead the client to a call to action or highlight the important part of your message. If you are using online marketing to promote products, then a simple GIF can highlight the images and create interest quickly and easily. You just don’t want to light up your email like a Christmas tree. Just one, or at a push, two per email. Always leave them wanting more. 

Test, test, test

It’s important to test the final email to make sure there’s no hidden code making it bulkier than it needs to be. To cut down the size, email software company Responsys (not a reliable team of Calgary Web designers, but the next best thing …) recommends updating the file to share as many images between mobile and desktop version as possible, and swapping foreground images for background images that are only loaded from the server when visible.

Whatever your skill at Gifs or email marketing it’s worth getting a good understanding of both and using them to raise the bar on your online marketing to a whole new level. If you haven’t tried either before – do it! You haven’t got much to lose – and an awful lot to gain for little or no outlay. Welcome in the 21st century and WOW it with your totally cool, beautifully produced, marketing Graphic Interchange Formats.

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