Facebook is about to get a whole lot noisier... and it's about time! Finally, Facebook has decided to get with the rest of the Internet program and allow animated GIFs in ads and Page posts.
Mark Zuckerberg was of the longstanding opinion that GIFs were a disruption to the user experience, which was a pretty poor excuse for keeping the old ban in place for so long. How many times have we seen GIF content go viral on Twitter? Even Google+ supported GIFs. Facebook itself supported auto-play videos, which really made the "but UX" excuse ring hollow.
We've found that adding video in Facebook News Feed Ads increases post engagement by 3-5x, on average, but often by even more. Even a stupid, boring post can be made interesting using moving imagery, via a video or GIF. See the example above; no matter how hard you try, you just can't make a salad "look" as good with a few lines of text and a static picture. The GIF makes it eye-catching, but also shows off the layers that go into the making the salad - use your imagination and apply this technique to your products.
Ideally, you'll have tons of video in your Facebook advertising arsenal, but one of the challenges there is the time, effort and cost required to produce great video. It's way easier to simply find an animated GIF on Google Images:
Let's face it, people just love GIFs. They want to 'Like' them, comment on them to tell you how cool they are, and share them with their friends. Try to find GIFs that are funny and original and somehow align with your messaging, or create your own.
If you use these in your Page posts and pay to promote the update, those higher engagement rates will increase your Facebook Relevance Score, which will increase your impression share dramatically, reducing your cost per engagement by 5-10x. It's a win-win.
Ready to get started with GIFs on your company's Facebook Page and in Ads? Here's what you need to know:
- You can only use GIFs in Page Posts and Boosted Newsfeed Ads -- they won't work in the sidebar.
- As much as I know you want to run out and try them right now, you're going to have to wait for this functionality to gradually roll out. Facebook told TechCrunch: "GIFs can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we've started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more Pages."
- If you're using other people's GIFs in your advertising, if possible, property attribute the creator!