Facebook is testing a new feature that means marketers need to be fully prepped to ride the GIF wave, writes Jim West, Digital Account Manager.
Simple, dynamic and eye-catching – the humble GIF is a wonderful thing. Alongside emojis, these bitesize nuggets of moving content are the beating heart of modern online language, enabling instant communication of intricate moods and feelings with a few casual screen taps.
Social media lovers have been picking the fruits of online GIF libraries, trawling Giphy for a classic TV moment and scouring Twitter’s native selection for a masterfully-captured cat reaction for some time.
But despite a wealth of existing do-it-yourself tools, original GIF content has largely been the preserve of Adobe licensees, tech trailblazers and design departments.
Well, not any more. Facebook has revealed it is about to start testing an in-platform GIF-making feature with a handful of iOS users. This signals a potential shift in the way we use these hypnotic moving images and offers a glimpse into the Facebook future.
It could be the moment that snippets from movies take a backseat and original GIF content goes mainstream. Two-second, looping selfie clips may soon be posted as reactions to the slew of Facebook statuses, photos and videos we currently “like” or “love” every day.
In what is the company’s latest attempt to win the attention of Gen Zers and derail Snapchat, Facebook’s GIF maker will even allow users to add effects and frames to their homemade creations.
But what does this mean for brands? With a huge wave of DIY GIFs set to flood users’ news feeds and rejuvenate the Facebook experience, they need to tap into the zeitgeist and stand out from the crowd.
Like Google and all the other major players, Facebook loves it when users play with its shiny, newfangled features. If previous launches like Facebook Live are anything to go by, the company will likely increase the organic reach of GIF posts to encourage their use, so it will be worth being among the early adopters.
Facebook pages with a focus on community-building might consider using the feature in the comments section of posts. Using quickly-produced GIFs will allow them to answer customer service queries or build a rapport with fans in an even more human way.
The opportunities are many, and will further cement the platform’s place at the social media summit.
Pegasus case study – Collection Cosmetics
Pegasus developed a series of animated GIFs to support three summer product launches. The animated GIFs were used across the Collection social channels, in the Collection email newsletter and on the Collection website.
If you are looking for further social media expertise, drop the Pegasus social team a line on firstname.lastname@example.org