Do GIFs have a place on social media for businesses?

Delivering interesting and fun social media content across a number of platforms can often be a challenge, but with lots of ways to contribute to your social media channel such as video, GIFs and other visuals there are ways in which you can increase the interest on your sites.

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and was developed by a team at the bulletin board service provider CompuServe on June 15, 1987. Who knew that once the internet became so big, GIFs would be used around the world to create funny, endearing social media content that would be used as a marketing tool within most businesses?


You may also know GIFs for the good old days in ICT lessons where PowerPoint provided you with a series of GIF images which seemed like an innovative tool at the time – little did we know how the GIF would transform.

So, has the GIF had its day, or is it just getting started?


To GIF or not to GIF?


So, let’s look into the pros and cons of GIFs.



  • They are short and snappy
  • Can be as good as using video to draw in your audience
  • It can give your content personality
  • Delivers key messages without you having to write them
  • You can easily create your own for free
  • If you don’t want to create your own there are thousands of images accessible to you for free
  • Animated visuals will generate more insights
  • GIFs work on all types of systems without the use of Flash videos
  • Will play on most smartphones
  • Can be embedded directly onto social media the same way a normal JPEG can



  • They are too short and don’t deliver what a video can
  • If you don’t create your own it may take you a lot of time scrolling to find one you can relate to
  • Shouldn’t be used too frequently
  • There are colour limitations – GIF visuals contain no more than 256 colours
  • No audio attached to the moving image making them less appealing than video
  • GIFs can often be large file sizes making them difficult to e-mail and transfer from different computers – it also makes the upload time fairly slow on social media platforms
  • Can slow webpages down if they are used on a blog or website page
  • Can look clunky due to the small and short frames


Overall, we think there is a time and a place for GIFs and that is on social media. We’d advise using some GIFs on blogs but make sure they are used wisely and not used as over kill.


Using GIFs on social media should be limited. Once per week is a great balance amongst other content to keep your personality shining through and the content varied. To find some GIFs to share, why not try GIPHY.

Anyway; who wouldn’t love a cat GIF?!


Author: Dave Williams

Dave Williams is the founder and director of onefoursix; a digital marketing agency based in Northampton. After setting up onefoursix in 2011, Dave has gone on to grow it to one of Northampton’s finest agencies. His expertise include social media, user experience and SEO.

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