Why and How to Use GIFs in Automotive Marketing

Why and How to Use GIFs in Automotive Marketing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth a million.

These super-short “videos,” which you’ve surely seen floating around the Internet (white guy blinking, anyone?), offer more than just a laugh. When placed wisely, the right GIF can actually complement your automotive marketing content by explaining a process, telling a story, or simply getting people’s attention.

Here’s the lowdown on why and how to use GIFs in your digital marketing strategy.

What Is a GIF?

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format — an image file type that compresses frames to reduce transfer time. By combining multiple images within one file, GIFs can display in an animated loop, resembling a brief, repeating video.

Or, as Urban Dictionary would define it: “A word that will cause the next Civil War over how it’s pronounced.”

Whether you call it “giff” or “jiff,” you should know that GIFs are becoming increasingly popular in online content, both for consumers and businesses.

Why Use GIFs in Automotive Marketing?

Using GIFs in automotive content is a savvy way to show your customers you’re “up with the times.” (Using that phrase, however, is not.)

Here are a few reasons you may want to include GIFs in your auto marketing content.

3 Reasons to Use a GIF

  1. To show people how to do something. Instead of writing out, say, how to navigate something on your website, illustrate the process by creating a step-by-step GIF. Your audience will definitely appreciate the visualization.
  2. To spice up your content. Feel like your blog is boring? Think your social media is static? Add visual interest with a relevant GIF. Bonus: thanks to its small file size, a GIF won’t impact your load time, like an embedded video would.
  3. To prove you’re human. Let’s face it: auto dealers aren’t typically known for being “cool.” But you can change that! By using a GIF in an email or social media comment, you become less robotic and more relatable — especially to your younger customers.

How to Include GIFs in Your Auto Content

Okay, so you see the benefit in using GIFs in your dealership’s online content. But how do you actually do it?

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a techie to learn how to find or create an automotive GIF. It’s easy!

But before you do, you should know exactly where your GIF is going to go. Like any digital marketing content, the placement is as important as the content itself.

Here are the three best places to use GIFs in your automotive content, plus the best resources for finding and creating GIFs — and our top tips on GIF-ing responsibly.

Top 3 Places to Use GIFs

  1. Social media. Since social media is the GIF’s natural habitat, it makes sense to meet it there. All major social platforms now support GIFs natively, so you’ll have no trouble sharing your GIFs with your followers. And because people often go to social media for the fun factor, your silly GIF will fit right in.
    1. For example: Create a GIF of someone filling out your online finance application form to show people it really is “quick and easy.”
  2. Blog posts. Blog posts tend to be longer than other forms of content, so it’s easy to lose readers’ attention. But by including a GIF or two throughout your post, you’ll break up those hefty chunks of text and keep readers engaged to the end.
    1. For example: Embed a GIF of people loading stuff into the back of an SUV to show just how much cargo capacity that specific model offers.
  3. Email. We’re all looking for ways to make our emails more exciting — but video files are notorious for rendering poorly in email. Enter the GIF, which takes up way less space than a video and is now supported by most email clients. Plus, Experian has reported that 72% of emails with GIFs got higher click-through rates and more transactions than the same GIF-less emails. You can check out these examples from Really Good Emails on how to effectively use GIFs in your automotive email marketing.
    1. For example: Make a flashy GIF out of custom graphics to promote an upcoming sale or event in a fun, unexpected way.

Where to Find or Make a GIF

  • Tenor. Recently acquired by Google, Tenor is an online GIF search engine and database. You can search on its easy-to-use website or even from your phone or messenger’s GIF-enabled keyboard.
  • Giphy. In addition to offering the largest collection of GIFs online, Giphy allows you to make your own GIFs from video files or YouTube links. Simply select the video clip, duration, and caption you want to use, and Giphy will generate your very own GIF.
  • This list. Jalopnik put together a list of the 10 best automotive GIFs. Whether you agree or not, it’s a good place to get your car-related GIF ideas flowing.

Tips for Using GIFs Responsibly

  • Consider the context. This should be a given for any kind of digital marketing content. Make sure any GIF matches the tone and intention of the content it supports (and of your dealership as a whole).
  • Know what’s legal. While the legality of making a GIF from copyrighted material is still murky, you should always err on the side of caution. Get permission if you can, or at least give credit to the original source to keep your store out of trouble.
  • Don’t go nuts. GIFs are fun and all, but you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too many. By overdoing it, you just look desperate.

Want More Content Marketing Help?

Using GIFs is just one way to make your automotive content more engaging.

To really connect with car buyers online, you need a comprehensive content marketing strategy. And that’s just what we specialize in here at 9 Clouds!

If you’re just getting started with digital marketing, learn why the auto industry should embrace content marketing — and what content marketing even is in the first place.

Then, check out our content marketing services for auto dealers. We know how to find and engage the right customers using awesome online content (GIFs optional).

Wherever you’re trying to take your content strategy, keep fighting the good fight. We applaud you.