GIFs have — however you pronounce them — taken over the Internet. They serve as pithy (some say lazy) shorthand responses to blog posts and comment trolls. They can be minimalist works of art; they can be slapstick comedy. And, as of this morning, they can double as links in an embedded tweet or Facebook post.
This morning Nike tweeted this from its Pro Training account:
Flexibility for every move. Support for every workout. The Nike Free Hyperfeel TR is available now. https://t.co/GNkOAMhcW8
— Nike Pro Training (@nikeprotraining) May 14, 2014
At first glance, the above appears to be a simple tweet linking back to a brand’s product. But, for the first time, the GIF itself is the link. Normally a tweet such as this would require two links: One for the embedded GIF and a second for the link back to Nike’s product page. But thanks to a new bit of coding by GIF hosting site Giphy, users can create a shortened URL which, when tweeted, shows up as a GIF in the tweet.
“Normally, when you refer people to content, you send them your branded shortened link,” said Giphy’s director of strategy, Adam Leibsohn. “Instead of a link, you could have a GIF do all that work. Now basically you can have a GIF point to anything you want.”
Nike is just the first to partner with Giphy on this, but there are more to come, said James Cooper, head of creative at Betaworks, which is an investor in Giphy.
“We can envisage a future where marketers are doing entire campaigns with GIFs,” said Cooper. “You can expect it to roll out with other folks shortly.”
Anybody who pays the slightest attention to social media knows that the use of GIFs has grown and continues to proliferate. Over the last two years, there were over 2.2 million GIFs shared on Twitter alone, according to social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon.
“The rise of image-based content and the GIF creates new opportunities for marketers to better understand and connect with their customers,” Jehan Hamedi, Crimson Hexagon’s senior manager of strategic market development, wrote in an email to Digiday.
“The challenge, though, will be in applying the right analytics to gain a complete picture of this now multi-layered conversation and in using this information to drive meaningful engagement.”
Nike declined to comment for the story. With just seven retweets in five hours, its GIF’ed-out tweet isn’t exactly viral gold. However, one could easily imagine other campaigns where embeddable, linkable GIFs make sense. Movie studios might tweet out GIFs of their new trailers, for example. Publishers could similarly link to stories from gifs embedded in Facebook posts.
“I personally welcome a multitasking GIF. Anything that helps me convey more information to my followers within the limited confines of Twitter is a huge plus,” Kayla Epstein, social media producer for the Guardian US, wrote in an email to Digiday.
“I think it’s a cool idea,” agreed Meredith Modzelewski, social media director at Behrman Communications, a lifestyle and beauty public relations firm. “Not only does it save actual characters on Twitter where space is a premium, but so many of us communicate visually and via GIF all over the Web at this point — this seems like a natural next step.”
Only fitting, perhaps, that the step would be taken in a shiny new pair of shoes.
Digiday+ Research: Instagram wins over Facebook for role in brands’ holiday marketing
Brands differ on how they use each marketing channel during the holidays -- even when it comes to sibling social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, Digiday+ Research found.
How — and why — Candy Crush is in the midst of a 10th anniversary brand refresh
In the years since Activision Blizzard acquired the Swedish game studio King in 2016, employees at the gaming giant have started to internally refer to their company as “ABK” — that is, Activision Blizzard King. But the corporation’s recent financial reports indicate that “KAB” might be a more accurate abbreviation.
Independent agency Goat invests in influencer strategy for clients as it expands in the U.S.
Everyone is after influencers to up their marketing game. But the secret to success, Goat contends, is in viewing influencers as performance media and using data to deliver clients guaranteed outcomes.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Marketers bring Web3 to the FIFA World Cup with augmented reality, NFTs and virtual worlds
The month-long tournament, which begins this weekend, will be the first World Cup since it took place in Russia in 2018 long before “Web3” entered the global lexicon. Now, official and non-official sponsors are hoping to harness the hype with a range of NFTs, virtual worlds, augmented reality tools and other trendy tech.
U-Haul diversifies its social strategy to tell people it’s more than moving trucks
In recent years, U-Haul's in-house agency has been working to "better leverage social media for brand loyalty."