Visual content: GIFS

Gif Credit:  Giphy

Written by Susi Doherty

Updated: March 2020

The Planet of GIF

What is a GIF?

 All Aconryms notes that there are actually 44 different meanings for GIF – from Global Income Fund to Guniee Airlines to Guaranteed Investment Funds.

So far as visual content is concerned, this is a GIF:

“The Graphics Interchange Format (better known by its acronym GIF /ˈdʒɪf/ JIF or /ˈɡɪf/ GHIF) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 and has since come into widespread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability.”
GIF – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lexico have a nice clear definition and an audio Brucey-bonus.


  • Short clips of moving images – either stitched together images or clips from video (popularly now these are from TV or films)
  • They play over and over on a loop
  • They do not have any sound – often therefore they have text on
  • They can be a fun visual asset in your marketing toolbox but also can be distracting.  Use with caution and more often as snackable content (ie social media).

Some fun Gif facts

The first GIF (arguably as these things often are) is “Dancing Baby,” also called “Baby Cha-Cha,” (remember Ally McBeal?!): you can see it here Burning Pixel

GIFs compress the quality of images to 256 colours, (compare that to 16.7 million colours in a JPEG).

It’s not just dancing babies, cats and bananas!  News outlets use them: The Guardian, Republican Debate

You can make your own GIFS with a range of apps – on desktops or mobile:

gif maker logo

 There are Twitter accounts devoted entirely to GIFs, for example: 

ministry of gifs logo


There are some really funny takes on the GIF here on Ad Week

Giphy have an app that enables users to create and share directly to their social media on their iPhones.  Giphy have apparently been slow to remove offensive content in the past – Snapchat and Instagram have therefore made it more difficult to post from there.

You can post a GIF straight to Twitter by clicking on a GIF button under your Tweet compose box.

There are a massive number of GIFS out there for use free of charge, for instance TUMBLR and my own go to, Giphy.


Using Gifs in marketing

There actually are some interesting uses of GIFs for marketing.  Take a look at these articles:

Business 2 Community


There are a growing number of free gifs in social media channels and messaging apps too.  HERE is a really brilliant article on using GIFs on Facebook.


As well as on your mobiles, you can use desktops to create GIFs, Photoshop have a way and Canva are now offering it.  As all content – use with caution and ensure appropriatness.  In all honestly, I think that dancing banana under here will drive you mad – it is me.  Take it as an example of how not to do things!


Get Seen!

This dancing banana drives me nuts. Sorry, all.

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