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Animated GIFs

May 1, 2021 | Trends

Propelled by social media users, animated GIFs (pronounced โ€œgiftโ€ without the โ€œTโ€) have made a big comeback. Who would have thought that a technology developed by CompuServe in 1987 would still be relevant today?

Like memes, GIFs are often humorous takes on a great variety of topics, as GIPHY, the default search engine for GIFs, shows. Hereโ€™s why GIFs have caught on:

  • Simple video โ€“ Unlike videos, GIFs are easy to create, with many new GIF-making tools now available. For the Mac, we like Gifsky a free GIF-making tool authored by the developer of ImageOptim, and GIFS.com, which charges $2/mo. to create two GIFs.
  • Visual humor โ€“ The internet has ushered in a different type of humor, definitely more graphic. As Kate Miltner and Tim Highfield posit in their white paper, โ€œNever Gonna GIF You Up: Analyzing the Cultural Significance of the Animated GIF,โ€ the GIF has become part of the digital cultural landscape in ways that are surprising, unexpected, and arguably delightful.
  • Mainstreaming โ€“ Proving that animated GIFs have sufficiently mainstreamed, 57% of marketers report using animated GIFs at least sometimes in their email campaigns, according to the annual Litmus State of Email survey.

Itโ€™s one of the simplest, animated communication technologies ever developed, which would also make it perfect for advertising, a trend thatโ€™s bound to catch on.

Michael Tchongโ€™s Ubertrends book
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