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A Planner’s POV: 5 reasons B2B needs to embrace the GIF


GIFs are nothing new.

It may seem to be a brand new phenomenon for many (sorry baby boomers), but it actually first hit the web scene back in 1987 thanks to Steve Wilhite.

GIFs were created to make it easier for people to share animated images across their varying systems. Fast forward to 2018, and the GIF has become our most beloved image format to express ourselves in today digital’s world.

Back in 2015 (which seems a lifetime ago) – The New York Times said that 23 million GIFs pass through Tumblr every day. EVERY DAY!

Imagine how many are shared across the social & dark social channels now 😲

Anyways, bringing it into our B2B Marketing arena…

The presence of GIFs in B2B has dramatically increased over the last few years as brands started to bring them into their social campaigns. Corporate monsters in our tech space such as Samsung, SAP & Intel are among those using GIFs to take their social media marketing to the next level. But why? Because…

GIFs are the best way to tell a story without the time commitment of a video or the restraint of a single image.

It’s really that simple. They get more attention (and that’s what we all want!)

While GIFs are so popular, it’s crucial that us social media marketers make the most of them. If you’re thinking ‘this guy’s crazy, GIFs won’t doing anything for my brand’, here’s my top 5 reasons why GIFs can add value to your social media offering:

1. GIFs act fast.

Attention spans are shorter than ever.

We’re down from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8 seconds in 2018. That is literally less than a goldfish  😂

GIFs are the best way to capture users’ attention and get your message across in a matter of seconds. Since GIFs are short and to the point, there isn’t the same commitment needed as there would be to watch a longer video with the same message. Your audience will be grabbed and get what you’re trying to say before they resume scrolling.


2. GIFs add personality.

One of the biggest advantages of GIFs – in my humble opinion – is they can help ‘lighten the mood’ and let your followers see the true personality of your brand.

Without something to show the more personal side of your brand, you run the risk of your social presence becoming dull and unengaged.

Who’s following and checking back at boring feeds? No-one.


3. GIFs carry emotion.

Along with spreading your message, GIFs are great at portraying emotion.

Scientists say that humans ‘feel first and think second’. When confronted with sensory information, the emotional part of our brain processes information in one-fifth of the time the cognitive section requires.

That certainly helps when our attention span is being beaten by the goldfishes.

Consumers who are emotionally connected to your brand are worth 2x more to your business than your average highly satisfied customer. Let’s make that emotional connection.

This probably explains why the most popular GIF-type is the ‘reaction GIF.’ These do so well at capturing a very specific emotion that nearly everyone can relate to.


4. GIFs are ‘trendy’

Sorry, not that type of trendy (although I guess they are).

We’ve already said that GIFs are taking social by storm. Using them can help your brand appear current and ‘on-trend’, which in turn could lead more people towards your social content in the future.

Using GIFs to react to trending topics, latest news, upcoming events, national-something-day will help your exposure. Providing you do it in a way which is relevant to your business and reflective of your brand personality.

Samsung did really well with this at the World Cup.


5. Above all else… GIFs increase engagement.

As we already know, visual content VASTLY outperforms simple text posts on social media platforms.

Making your posts more attractive, more stimulating, more thought-provoking will ultimately make them much more shareable.

Due to their short length and witty nature, GIFs are an engagement dreamboat. Users share GIFs at an incredible rate: usually at least 2x the likes of a video and 4x the likes of a photo.

Including visual GIFs in your posts will make them more likely to reach a far broader audience through sharing.

You might not go ‘viral’ as much as you’d like – but you should certainly reach more people.


And there you have it. With all the advantages of using GIFs, your social channels can only benefit. If you’re not already using GIFs in your social posts, now is the time to make this media type a prominent part of your B2B social portfolio.


…and that was a planner’s point of view, thanks for reading.


And Happy 30th Birthday GIFs 😊

Mark Brighton

About the author

Planning-team wizard, loving content marketing, customer experience, personalisation and all things creative. Mild jaffa cake addiction.


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