How to Convert Video to GIF and Why You Want to Do It
A big part of marketing is effective communication. HubSpot reveals that upon hearing information, your audience is only going to remember 10% of it three days later. But once it gets paired with relevant imagery, people retain 65% of that information.
So, visuals play a big role here as you want your message to stick with your audience for as long as it possibly can. In this post we will be talking about GIFs as they help marketers express complex ideas and messages in a matter of a few seconds.
GIFs help marketers express complex ideas and messages in a matter of a few seconds.
If you only think of GIFs as fun visual communication tools, you are in the wrong. They can be a part of a powerful strategy for companies aiming to build strong connections and engagement with their target audience online.
Many big brands are already incorporating GIFs into their content marketing strategy. But we want to encourage smaller brands to consider GIFs as part of their marketing mix – after all, GIFs can often be more appealing than images, but also cheaper (and easier) to create.
This post will show you how smaller brands can jump on this trend and use it to its fullest potential.
Step-by-step guide on how to convert video to GIF included.
What is a GIF
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is something in-between a video and a still image. It is essentially an animated clip or a series of still images placed within a single file that “mimics” videos without actually being one. GIFs are normally only a few-seconds-long and are incredibly eye-catching.
Note: you can convert video into a GIF as well but more on this later.
P.S. With so many ways to mispronounce the term, we want to stress that it should be pronounced as “JIF”, according to its creator.
Basically, anywhere you place a message there’s a chance to place a GIF. But why use them on top of the rest of your marketing efforts?
There are so many benefits to GIFs for a brand that it can take an entire guide to go through all the points. But, essentially, all the advantages boil down to the following factors.
Animated GIFs are mobile-friendly
This is extremely important in our Mobile First era: they only last a few seconds, they weigh much less and get uploaded much faster than a video, and the auto loop just makes your message more sticky. GIFs are easily integrated across many social platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr are among the most popular ones. But they can also be placed on blogs, websites, and even within ads.
GIFs are easy to consume
GIFs aren’t just fun and appealing, they can actually enhance a brand’s message through their visual appeal.
With every marketer trying to get their share within the attention economy, the audience’s attention span is notoriously short. In fact, it’s hard to capture anyone’s curiosity for more than 10 seconds.
Image from Wyzowl
Online video, indeed, is a great medium to master – it has a storytelling power that provokes curiosity but it requires people to spend some time consuming them. While GIFs actually possess similar qualities to video, the entry barrier is much lower. So, they can actually solve marketers’ puzzle – to deliver a story and message in an instant manner.
GIFs can be efficient calls-to-action
Animated GIFs, thanks to their looping nature, guide the viewer’s eye through a specific path without being intrusive. So, if you zoom in within the GIF on a particular moment – say, a call-to-action (CTA) – you can emphasize this moment and draw your audience’s attention to it.
With GIFs, you can capture people’s attention with efficient yet creative use of CTA. They will look fresh and more unusual, thus, having the potential to get you more clicks and conversions.
GIFs can provoke an emotional impact
With marketing communications, your job as a marketer is to build a connection with your brand. GIFs’ potential to connect with your audience on an emotional level is tremendous. Humor, inspiration, sincerity hold great appeal and value to the user, extending the reach and impact of your message.
Now when you know that GIFs aren’t just a fun way to communicate (although they are), they also resonate with your audience and serve as a way to connect with and capture their attention. So, once you have that attention, you have to really understand where you can drive it towards. From educational to storytelling purposes, GIFs can be used in a variety of ways.
#1. Engage and delight your audience
GIFs are so engaging, it’s hard to resist not sending a GIF-reply in return or share a funny one with friends. And your brand can make use of that irresistible communication trait.
If anyone mentions your brand across social media, sending a thank-you-GIF in return will be appreciated. This will express courtesy and personality.
Some brands even create GIF contests encouraging their customers to create a GIF featuring the brand, their product, or themselves using the product. This can create a lot of traction and engagement from your social media followers, especially if you promise to feature and credit the user-generated-GIF-arts across your social accounts.
#2. Offer a sneak peek and create teasers
If you have an MVP of an upcoming product, a big announcement, or some upcoming event, GIF can serve as the perfect teaser that you can share across your social accounts, within emails, on your site’s homepage – basically, everywhere.
#3. Show off your product
If a picture is worth a thousand words, GIFs are worth…well, a few thousand (all the shots combined). And it’s not just useful for fashion brands that use GIFs to display the range of products they have instead of making customers go through page to page in search of the perfect item.
Other brands can use the power of GIFs to demo the strengths of their product or service – be it the ease of set up of their software, the comprehensiveness of their solution, or a cool feature they have just rolled out. And instead of showing something in a static, one-dimensional way or investing in creating a lengthy, sometimes boring video, you can just create a short easy-to-consume GIF.
#4. Humanize your brand
Authenticity and humanization are the rising trends across marketing communications. GIFs can help build a more deep and special relationship with your customers as they will show who you are as a brand: you may be fun, society/environmentally-conscious, weird, etc. And your audience will connect with your personality just as humans are more likely to stay connected to humans.
— Wave.video (@wave_video) December 20, 2019
#5. Tell a story
Good content marketing is based on storytelling. And GIFs can be especially effective for delivering whatever story you are willing to tell. Whether it’s a success story about a customer, a story of a cause your brand supports, or even your brand’s story.
New York Times underlined the power of their long-standing brand by creating a GIF that reflected how the news site had evolved throughout the years, getting lots of shares and provoking conversations around their brand.
#6. Turn how-to into a GIF
How-tos are a big part of almost every brand’s content plan. But explaining a process can take many words people might not just want to go through. Plus, a visual representation will facilitate your customers’ job of setting up your tool or successfully checking out of your ecommerce store. So, GIFs can also be handy for showing a process and illustrating your how-to.
#7. Animate/promote your other content
Chances are, you spend a lot of time creating blog posts, fetching up research, customer surveys, etc. GIFs can be great ways to spread your content around social media or just liven up your existing content (just add them to your blog posts, for instance).
Displaying some highlights from your content within a GIF will draw your target audience’s attention to other pieces of content you are producing. Media outlets are great at mastering the art of GIFs for these purposes. So why should you stay behind and miss out on using the same tactic?
— CIR (@CIRonline) August 12, 2015
Pro tip: you can also add a GIF to your email newsletter to draw extra attention to the key piece you want your subscribers to notice. Dell got impressive results by creating a GIF-centered email campaign. They were promoting their XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook and received some incredible results: the conversion rate skyrocketed by more than 100% and their revenue more than doubled.
#8. Animate infographics and data
Many companies invest a lot into creating some amazing designs for illustrating data and placing their content within an infographic. GIFs can once again be really effective in turning this data into an immersive experience.
#9. Promote and advertise your product/service
Instagram is now very big on advertising products using the GIF format. But you can use GIFs for promoting your business across various other platforms. Once again, GIFs entail all the features that are necessary for a successful ad – they attract attention, effectively deliver your message, are mobile-friendly, and have an emotional impact.
Certainly, there are many GIFs out there already. But for marketing purposes, you’d want a custom-made one that features your product. So, the easiest way to create such a GIF is to convert a video into a GIF yourself.
There are quite many services and applications that you can use to convert a video to GIF. For in-depth instructions on how to use Giphy, Animatron Studio, and Photoshop for creating GIFs from videos, you can read up another post from our blog. This time around, we’d like you to try something fresh and brand new.
Convert video to GIF with Ezgif.com
This tool is my go-to place when I need to turn a piece of video into a GIF.
Besides reformatting, it offers a bunch of very useful features. You can crop the visual, add text or a .png on top of it, get rid of the unwanted frames, or optimize the size of the output file.
- Choose the Video to GIF tab within the interface.
- Upload a video from your computer (max. file size is 100 MB)or add the video’s URL. Ezgif supports mp4, avi, WebM, flv, wmv and other popular types of video and rich media formats.
- Once the video gets uploaded, select the part of the video you want to cut by entering the start and end time. By default, the converter takes the first five seconds of the clip to create a GIF.
- You can change the GIF dimensions or crop out a part of the video after finishing the conversion.
- Download the GIF. You can add some effects to it by uploading the GIF onto another tab called “Effects” where you can add overlays, use color filters, reverse/rotate, and adjust the GIF’s speed.
All in all, the interface is quite straightforward.
The most useful tool in this kit is the Optimize feature that I’d like to have a closer look at. As you see from the example, the output image weighs way more than the source .mp4 file.
Ezgif offers a range of options to compress the GIF and optimize its size. Usually, I go for the Lossy GIF compression that reduces the file size at a cost of some dithering/noise.
When you convert videos to GIFs, the output files either weigh too much, or you need to sacrifice the quality. Look at the difference:
This issue becomes critical when you want to share a quick tutorial or a product demo. Such content requires better quality and legibility. For this, you can convert a video in a GIF look-alike file.
Technically it won’t be a GIF per se. It is a short muted looped clip that auto-plays on the page.
- Upload a short video to Wave.video or trim the one you already have in there.
- Go to the Dashboard and fine-tune the settings as shown on the screenshot.
Keep in mind that your video should be MUTED.
- Start video = autoplay
- End video = loop
- Disable all player controls
Be sure to keep your video/GIF down to 10-15 seconds as people don’t like long videos that they can’t pause or fast-forward.
Over to you
Hopefully, now you’re fully convinced that GIFs aren’t just funny images you share online. Your business can truly benefit from using GIFs to engage with your target audience online and build a strong connection to your brand.
By knowing how to use GIFs for your marketing strategy and how to convert videos into GIFs, you can not only boost engagement, you can actually turn complete strangers online into your loyal audience.
Please, share in the comments below your GIF success stories and let us know how else your brand is using GIFs in its marketing communications.