Making complex information approachable is a timeless challenge in marketing.
Static infographics are one of the web's favourite tools for tackling this challenge, but they're tricky to get right.
Try to fit too much information into a limited space and you may end up confusing your audience.
Spread out information too much and your audience may click away early, missing critical aspects of your message.
GIFographics are one of the most effective ways to explain complex information or processes
GIFographics (animated infographics) solve both these problems by presenting complex information and data in an easily digestible package: as part of a GIF image. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format; it's the most popular format in the world for storing moving images.
Visual content featuring GIF images and other forms of rich media are also widely believed to be favored over static text by many social media algorithms. Converting written information and data into GIFographics could give your content marketing an algorithmic edge over the competition.
GIFographics are also highly shareable, expanding the reach and impact of visual content, making them an excellent content marketing tool that should be part of every business' content strategy.
Here are five tips to help you and your team create attention-grabbing GIFographics as part of your content marketing strategy.
1. Make your existing static infographics more engaging with simple animations
When scrolling through a sea of static social media posts, moving images immediately stand out. Animating your infographics makes them more engaging than their static competition.
Consider the example GIFographic below, which adds subtle animation to data that could otherwise be presented as a static image. The gradual reveal of data creates suspense, demonstrating how even minimal animation can make your content marketing more compelling and better able to keep people engaged.
Next time you’re working with your designer to create visual content for an email campaign or content marketing post, pause and ask yourself: could I add some scroll-slowing animation to this?
GIFographics are the perfect fit for a wide range of topics
A range of diverse content types can be converted into GIFographics:
- Demonstrating the features of a product
- Showing the manufacturing process used to make your products
- Sharing data about the growth of your brand
- Sharing information about your industry
- Describing a complicated process
- Telling a story
- Sharing “boring but important” type information in an engaging way, such as a returns policy
- Showing change over time, such as a timeline of key milestones
So why aren't GIFographics more common?
One of the most common reasons why companies stick with static infographics rather than more engaging visual content like GIFographics is that animated content creation can be time intensive.
If this is an obstacle for you, consider starting with a static infographic and then adding subtle animations to transform your infographics into GIFographics. Even animations as simple as changing the color or size of an element can have a big impact on your content strategy.
The below GIFographic features subtle animations used to great effect:
2. Start your GIFographics with a bang
Humans are irresistibly drawn to stories.
And when we start a story, we feel compelled to stick around to see how it ends.
Ever found yourself finishing a bad movie, reading a poorly written book until the end, or binging a TV series that jumped the shark a long time ago?
This counter-intuitive behaviour is explained by the compelling power of story to keep us hooked - occasionally against our better judgment. Stories are the most powerful content form, yet they're underutilized by content marketers.
That's why presenting information in the form of a narrative is an inherently scroll-stopping content format, especially when you open your GIFographics with a strong hook.
In storytelling, a hook is a narrative technique to “hook” the reader’s attention as soon as they start reading. To achieve this, writers plunge the reader straight into the middle of the action, or drop them in the midst of a captivating thought, feeling, reaction, or situation. This is what we want to do with our digital marketing efforts, and more specifically, our GIFographics.
Examples of storytelling hooks
To illustrate this concept, here are a few of the most famous first lines in fiction:
- 'I am an invisible man' - Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
- 'Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can't be sure' - The Outsider by Albert Camus (1942)
- 'As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect' - Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)
These first lines work so well because they provoke curiosity. Apply the same approach to your digital marketing GIFographics by leading with your most shocking, unexpected, intriguing, or fascinating information, or your best, most exciting animation.
- Share a shocking statistic
- Start telling an intriguing story
- Zoom in on the most fascinating part of a process
- Repurpose your previous winners: use quotes, statistic and information from your best performing blog and social media posts to open your GIFographic
- Open with a detailed, oversized, or show-stopping animation
GIFographics with a compelling hook
The below sushi-inspired GIFographic demonstrates the “Start with a bang” principle by leading with a clever pun ("Stop chop and roll") and a gorgeous, eye-catching sushi train animation.
By placing the first paragraph of text at the center of the animation the viewer’s attention is quickly drawn into the narrative. This is highly effective digital marketing created by Lemonly, a studio that produces interactive GIFographics.
The below GIFographic opens with an oversized typographic header in all caps - already attention-grabbing. The addition of animated moonwalking feet in front of the header, which adds additional emphasis to the already oversized text, is irresistably engaging. This is a great example of starting GIFographics with a bang. It's top notch content marketing: high performing content that will appeal to many different users.
3. Use animation to highlight the flow of information in your GIFographics
One of the biggest challenges for infographic designers is providing a clear path for the viewer to progress through a long form infographic. The interactive elements of GIFographics offer the potential to solve this problem.
Many otherwise gorgeous GIFographics have been undermined by the lack of a clear path through the information, leaving viewers feeling lost.
Keep your GIFographics linear
Humans are linear readers, so it’s important to design your GIFographics with a clear reading path in mind and use visuals to convey the correct path to the viewer.
Animation is a powerful content format to aid you here.
Since our eyes are naturally drawn to movement, you can strategically use moving elements to lead viewers through your GIFographics.
But remember: if used carelessly, animation can lead the viewer in unintended directions.
For example, while visually appealing, this GIFographic on how auto insurance works presents no clear path for the viewer to progress through the information. The end result feels more like a ‘brain-dump’ than a clear narrative.
In contrast, the below GIFographic by the same designer has a much clearer flow of information thanks to a few thoughtful visual elements. The numbered sequence creates a linear path for the viewer, while the animation and color-coding serve to make the sequence of steps in the process even clearer. They also add more visual interest to the image.
Use GIFographics to prevent overwhelm by revealing information gradually
The below GIFographic conveys a step-by-step process (bag cleaning) by cleverly using tight framing to ensure that only the current step is shown in the GIFographic.
While the nature of static infographics means that all information must be visible at once, GIFographics have an advantage: they can reveal one piece of information at a time.
The gradual reveal of information helps the target audience to focus, while also keeping them engaged for longer.
In future, we expect to see more GIFographics taking advantage of this highly focused, tightly framed style.
4. Use animation to highlight critical information and key takeaways in your GIFographics
The best GIFographics are designed with this principle in mind: what’s the one thing we want viewers to take away from this?
While changes in color, text formatting, size, and illustration style can all be used to emphasize key points in an infographic, GIFographics give you another tool to achieve this aim: motion.
Use motion to underscore key points in your GIFographics for more effective communication
In the below GIFographic about Tokyo’s future earthquake risk, the most important data is presented in a larger font size than the surrounding data and highlighted in bold red. This colour carries two relevant associations: Japan and danger. Finally, animation adds extra oomph to these key points.
Remember: the more an element is animated, the more important it becomes in the information hierarchy of your GIFographics
For example, take a look at the below GIFographic. Which step in the sequence sticks out to you the most?
If you answered the Dulux visualizer, you’re not alone. By animating this step and leaving the other steps as static illustrations, the designer has (perhaps unintentionally) heightened its importance relative to the other steps.
As a general rule, if elements of your GIFographics are equally important then they should contain similar levels of motion. This prevents undue emphasis being placed on one element over the others.
5. Optimize your GIFographics
GIFographics have lots of advantages over regular infographics: they’re more interesting, more engaging, provide opportunities for a clearer flow of information, and give you additional tools for emphasis.
If you start to create GIFographics, you'll soon discover that their only drawback compared to other formats and content types is potentially longer loading times.
This is a meaningful drawback, because email subscribers typically decide whether to read or delete an email within two seconds of opening it.
On social media, you may have even less time to make an impression before your content disappears with a thumb-swipe. Loading times may be even slower for users on mobile devices.
Making your GIFographic fast is just as important as making it memorable
While we can’t make a memorable GIFographic for you, we can help you make it fast. 🚀
Animately shrinks your GIFs and GIFographics down to their smallest possible file size without sacrificing quality.
Here's an example of Animately in action, optimizing this GIFographic about cheetahs: