GIFs and Memes: Internet Fads and How To Use Them
In the year 2017, two digital trends are still going strong after emerging across social media in recent years: GIFs and Memes.
The GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is an animated image that resembles a flipbook to produce the illusion of motion. The short snippets of moving photographs are alternatives to longer videos and can be used as a brilliant marketing tool.
A meme is an often-humorous photo, typically with slight variations, that is distributed across digital platforms. The explosion of memes in recent years has been met with much popularity, especially among young audiences that use these photos as a creative form of communication.
Quick and quirky, memes and GIFs are powerful visual communication tools. Both can be used in email marketing campaigns – when and where appropriate – but it’s important to ensure both are embedded properly so your audience can read them.
Despite its recent popularity, the GIF is an old image file format. While most platforms support the mini-videos, services like Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, and Windows Phone 7 only show the first frame of your animated GIF. To ensure your efforts are effective, make sure any key information is in the first frame in case it doesn’t auto play upon opening.
Memes are easy to add to email campaigns, as they are often .jpg or .jpeg formats. The trickiest part of using memes is understanding the cultural context. To avoid embarrassing yourself or your brand, do a little research before using a popular Internet meme to fully understand its background. A smart and thoughtful meme can go a long way, but a misunderstood meme can be incredibly damaging to your brand.
Most importantly, GIFs and memes work best when used sparingly and you should introduce them slowly to your email campaigns. Find savvy and clever ways to incorporate GIFs and memes into your marketing efforts to add an element of surprise and delight to emails.