GIFographics: The Future Of Visual Content?

Oct 9, 2015 by
GIFographics: The Future Of Visual Content?

Several years ago, it was easy to generate an abundance of backlinks by producing a mediocre infographic and promoting it on the net.

Thanks to the influx of astonishingly bad infographics, this is no longer possible. While the proliferation of bad infographics led some to believe that they were a fad and were no longer relevant in content marketing, this is certainly not true. As with any form of content, so long as an infographic tackles a relevant topic, is excellently executed and provides genuine value to people, infographics can still be incredibly useful as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

As part of a recent trend towards more interactive content, some marketers are now choosing to commission gifographics as a way to stand out from the static infographics in their niche. A gifographic is essentially an infographic (a visual tool for elucidating complex data or illustrating a principle) conveyed as an animated GIF. While it’s easy to see why an animated piece of visual content would be more appealing than a static piece, traditional forms of animated content (such as explainer video) are significantly more expensive than gifographics and are not appropriate for every situation.

Pros and cons

Provided your budget can account for the additional cost, it would seem logical that a gifographic would be more effective than a traditional infographic, but this is not the case. For one, gifographics take longer to load. While this is not a hugely significant issue in the world of high speed internet, a few crucial seconds can be the difference between keeping a person engaged on your landing page and having them click away, so it’s something to consider.

More important is the issue of style versus substance. Just because an infographic can be animated, doesn’t mean that it should. As ever, a poor match between the medium and the message will always distract the user from retaining the information presented.

While some would advocate using gifographics based solely on their eye-catching visual appeal, I believe the true power of the medium is when they’re able to illustrate a principle in a way that wouldn’t be possible with a static infographic. A great example of this is Jacob O’Neal’s “How To Moonwalk In 5 Easy Steps”. It features a slick design and tackles the evergreen topic of Michael Jackson’s notorious yet mystifying dance technique. With clear visual cues, the gifographic demonstrates exactly how to position your feet and move like Jackson himself. Compare this to a traditional infographic with static instructions or a YouTube video where you’re constantly having to rewind the video to get the steps exactly right – a gifographic is clearly the optimal way to present this information.

The increasing popularity of visual content

cambridge-web-marketing-co-blog-content-image-gifographicsIn a world where mobile internet access is rapidly increasing and marketers are constantly looking for new ways to cut through the noise, it’s easy to see why 86% of buyers desire access to visual content on demand. Thus, gifographics are an obvious choice for content marketers looking to expand their outreach.

They are, however, not a magic pill which will automatically generate an abundance of engagement, irrespective of the topic, quality of design or promotional effort. Instead, they are merely another type of visual content which, when designed properly and used in the right circumstances, can be highly effective at illustrating a principle and providing value to people. So long as you carefully consider your audience’s needs and use with caution, gifographics can be yet another powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal.

Writing for the Content Marketing Institute, Alp Mimaroglu implores marketers to seriously consider the value of gifographics as part of their content strategy:

“First, gifographics aren’t hard to make at all (which I’ll explain). Second, they aren’t much more expensive than traditional infographics. Third, gifographics are the latest iteration of visual content, but they won’t be the last. As marketers, we all need to continue learning and offering better content to our audience. If anything, learning how to make gifographics should be a priority.”