How to Make a GIF in Photoshop, GIPHY, Ezgif, and More

February 2, 2022·8 min read

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Nothing grabs attention like a GIF. Learn how to make your very own GIFs for your next social media marketing campaign.

Have you wanted to add your own original GIFs to your digital marketing strategy, but never been quite sure how? This guide will walk you through the essentials of how to make a GIF using common (and mostly free) tools.

So why are GIFs so valuable, anyway? Imagine writing a social post or blog that’s just one big wall of text. Here’s how your readers feel…

A GIF of a bored cat sliding down the stairs.

And a bored reader is one that clicks away. You put so much work into that content! Don’t lose your audience because it’s dull to look at.

Spice up your social media or content marketing campaign with GIFs—and better yet, use ones you made yourself. All you need is a clever idea and a little design know-how.

In short, a GIF (short for “Graphics Interchange Format”) is an image file that supports animation. They’ve become so ingrained in our digital culture that they’ve turned into their own form of communication as a meme.

Text is boring. (See the GIF above.) If you want to reach the almost 3 billion active users on Facebook or stand out from the 100 million photos uploaded to Instagram every day, you need to embrace new types of content to get your message across.

In marketing, GIFs showcase products, promote offers, grab attention, and connect with audiences. They work because movement catches the eye; they can also evoke emotion, and they’re shareable across multiple platforms.

Consider this guide your GIF bootcamp. Ready to learn how to make your own GIFs?

A GIF of Spongebob Squarepants being ready.

What’s a GIF?

A GIF is an image file format that supports animation. It stores multiple image files together and delivers them sequentially.

The first GIF was created in 1987 by a software developer trying to create animated images with smaller file sizes. GIFs have been around longer than the internet–but they didn’t weasel their way into mainstream internet culture until the early 2000s.

As social media took off in the late 2000s, GIFs became a weapon of choice for quick, eye-catching, relatable communication.

Sure, they’re fun to share with friends and co-workers to express your feelings about Fridays or meetings-that-should-have-been-emails, but they’re also a prime opportunity to amplify your marketing content. Emotions play a significant role in influencing others, and GIFs are a way to visualize those emotions in a consumable, mobile-friendly digital format.

Why Should You Use GIFs for Social Marketing?

GIFs show instead of telling. How many paragraphs of text would it have taken for us to capture that “bored cat” GIF at the start of this guide?

Here’s one great example of a GIF at work: Fashion editors at The Huffington Post use one to show readers how to style a scarf. That’s hundreds of words saved by using just one moving image.

A GIF of a woman showing how to wear a scarf.

GIFs are also a great way to show off your sense of humor and humanize your brand to create meaningful connections with the audience. You can pull it off with something as simple as a dancing taco featured at the top of an email or a cat riding a bicycle in an ad campaign. Or, to think in a slightly more business-oriented way…how about a GIF of your product at work?

93% of marketers who use video say that it’s a key part of their strategy. So why not use bite-sized “videos” everywhere with GIFs? It’s a quick and effective way to create shareable memes and compelling digital stories for social media promotion.

Nearly every major social media platform, from Facebook to Twitter, allows users to create short video loops as content posts using GIF files. Content creators can customize every frame of a GIF to send just the message they want.

Leading brands are finding creative ways to incorporate GIFs in their marketing. Charlotte Tilbury uses them to demo eyeshadow shades:

A GIF showing eyeshadow shades.

While Mailchimp uses them to show off features in its platform:

A GIF showing Mailchimp's interface.

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