Brandon Oliver Smith is Research and Insights Analyst at Social Media Group.

Last July, I reviewed a new iOS app called Loopcam. Loopcam made it easy for users to capture GIF images and publish them to a variety of social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Since then, the animated image space has seemingly exploded with a handful of new apps like GifBoom and Gifture, format spin-offs called Cinemagrams and a couple kick-butt examples of how the animated GIF format can be a valuable addition to a brand’s content toolbox.

Opening Ceremony - Pixel Geometry

Opening Ceremony – Pixel Geometry

Not surprisingly, fashion brands have been some of the first to adopt the alternative image format. Movement within images allow shoppers to get a more realistic sense of how wearable items are. Traditionally, this sense of realism is communicated using video which while becoming increasingly commonplace, still suffers from some accessibility, portability and sharability challenges.

Burberry - London Fashion Week 2012

Burberry – London Fashion Week 2012

The small footprint of the GIF format allows it to circumvent some of the challenges encountered with video. GIF files are typically small in size and like standard images, theyƟ can be saved to the desktop with a simple right click save as.

The popularity of GIF blogs have already shown a strong demand for the cheeky format on sites like Tumblr. Taking the audience demographics of Tumblr into consideration, it only makes sense that brands should showcase products using a content format that’s already popular with the target audience.

General Electric Innovation

General Electric Innovation

Animated GIFs are also proving to be valuable content assets for industries far removed from the fashion world. The iconic General Electric recently showed off the epic scale of their manufacturing and design process with GIFs, doing so also cast a light on the company’s ingenuity and dedication to push the boundaries of technology.

The 25-year-old image format is now in the midst of a renaissance. Its endearing qualities are catching the eye of a totally new generation of web user and exploration of it’s applications as a branded content asset are just beginning.


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