Constant Content Conversation: The Value of Gifs

Finally. After hours of slaving away trying to get it right, I was finally able to add an animated gif to the “index” of my bands website…this was in 2002. It’s now almost 2015, and gifs are back in a way I could’ve never imagined. Whether we need to show the sheer awesomeness of snowboarding on a mountain ridge, or how awkward my date was, gifs have become a way of communication.

Though, as a brand…gifs may be a frightening concept. They’re short, hard to track, you can’t serve ads on them or monetize…and this is exactly why they’re so successful with millennials. The most bite-sized, least time consuming way to get visually stimulating content. So where’s the value for your brand? YouTube just announced they will be slowly rolling out the ability to clip and gif segments of videos to promote them. Why? because they’re a great way to curate your content, entice your audience, and get the views you want. Think of it like a preview.

I decided to run an experiment and created several gifs from my videos, each had little to no branding, and shared them on a few places across the web. Before I posted them, our referral traffic from external sites was less than 5%…and after? We saw a bump to 15%. But if I’m posting gifs with no branding, how are they ending up on our videos? Organically. If the gif is a great piece of content and is served to the correct audience, 99% of the time someone will ask for the source.

The gif above received over 60k views and 23 comments, and not only renewed interest in a year old video…but it also spawned additional conversations on other parts of the web, causing users to create their own versions of the content:

While these gifs may seem short lived pieces of referral traffic, you must remember the internet has quite a short attention span. The gif above has popped up numerous times as reposts on many different parts of the site, and almost every time someone wants to know the source. The audience for this type of organic content marketing is there, in fact there’s almost half a million subscribers to a subreddit devoted to reaction gifs, so don’t be slow to react and join the conversation.


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