Perhaps taking a cue from Tumblr's growing success, Twitter announced on June 18th that the web site, along with the Android and iOS Twitter apps, will now support animated GIFs. The announcement came, of course, via a tweet from Twitter support, and the reaction was an almost unanimous "Finally!". And yes, they can also be set as your avatar. The few dissenters complained that this will bog users down by slowing load times, and that Tweetdeck doesn't support GIFs. Of course Twitter doesn't own Tweetdeck, which in some views has become a dinosaur in the social media dashboard space anyway.
For fans of animated GIFs, this is incredibly welcome news. As I mentioned, Tumblr is growing at a fast pace and is probably the best example of how the tool can be used in expressing thoughts creatively without words. Tumblr is somewhat of an outlier, however, in that it is a haven for creativity. Twitter is better known for news distribution, Facebook is how we check in on our friends and family, LinkedIn is for business networking, and Pinterest is the leading social driver of sales.
But Pinterest already supports animated GIFs, just like Tumblr. So does Google+ for that matter, not to mention the Wordpress and Blogger platforms. When it comes to the heavy hitters of social media, that essentially leaves only one holdout - Facebook - since Linkedin really has no need to adopt the format.
More than Cute
What is the purpose of animated GIFs, anyway? Sure they're cute and funny (most of the time), but they also serve the primary marketing purpose of these sites pretty well, which is of course to garner enough attention so that you'll click through to whatever is being marketed. As of January 2013, over half of online marketers had used animated GIFs in their email campaigns to call attention to calls-to-action or special promotions, according to MarketingProfs. The same study found that 72% of email marketers saw higher transaction-to-click rates when they used animated GIFs in their email campaigns.
There's no question that most tech-savvy users are in favor of the animated GIF, and these days any number of mobile apps will let even the least tech-savvy users create one with little or no effort. Images are king, and the explosion of Vine and Instagram's short video clip services is proof that our attention spans can slow down long enough for a quick clip or animation. The most popular videos on Youtube are also confined to 90 seconds or less. In light of that knowledge, the animated GIF logically becomes a powerhouse for attention-grabbing in terms of announcing a blog post or article on a social site.
The Sendible Advantage
With Twitter's move, it is likely in this writer's view that Facebook will not be far behind. Facebook isn't always (or even usually) the innovator when it comes to adopting new features for it's site, but they also don't like to be outmaneuvered. The Vine/Instagram battle is a prime example, as is the use of hashtags. Facebook tends to let other platforms adopt and then wait for the results. If they work well, you can bet that the largest social network on the planet isn't going to sit by and be left behind.
Sendible's state of the art social media dashboard is the perfect solution for you to coordinate your posting across multiple platforms, letting you simultaneously post your animated GIFs to your blog, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, Tumblr, and eventually Facebook (I assume). The bulk message importer tool makes this task even easier, and our Smart Queues will automate and optimize the posting times for you, even allowing you to recycle posts to the end of the queue for future reposting if desired.This means that soon we may be seeing animated GIFs everywhere we turn, on blogs and social media outlets alike. If you are marketing yourself or your business socially (and if you weren't you probably wouldn't be reading this right now), you'll want to make sure that the tools you use are up to date with the trends. Sendible already supported animated GIFs before this announcement, as well as supporting the sites that accepted them, which means that we already support Twitter's new move.
Unlike most social media dashboards, we try to stay a step ahead of what's happening rather than try to catch up after the fact. If you are using a different dashboard currently, now is the time to take advantage of our 30-day, no-strings free trial and see just what you are missing out on with your current setup. We have even partnered with Twitter to offer all of our new and existing customers a $50 Twitter Advertising Credit for your campaign. Give Sendible a try today and take your company's social media marketing campaigns to the next level. You'll be glad you did.