Author’s Note: This post on how to make an animated GIF (without Photoshop) was updated to include information on how to add GIFs to Facebook, Twitter, and popular content management systems.
Who said GIFs are just for fun? They’re incredibly useful for businesses and marketers.
Aside from social media, companies are incorporating GIFs in paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms, in customer support articles on their website, on landing pages and microsites, and in email marketing campaigns.
Unlike static photos or videos, GIFs are quick and easy to make, and they require no additional software or plugins. Better yet, GIFs can significantly improve the user experience on your blog or website. And, unlike a video, GIFs generally have small file sizes, allowing them to load faster and with better quality.
They can also reduce user friction. Think about it: instead of clicking on an embedded video tutorial on how to use a feature, you can share a series of short GIFs that’ll educate a viewer in half the time.
*Here’s how to leverage Google Optimize (free) to test GIFs on your website
If you’re interested in incorporating GIFs into your marketing toolkit but don’t have any experience with Photoshop, I’ll show you how to use five free tools to create original GIFs.
Need help creating graphics that will convert visitors into customers? Contact us! Ladder can help you reach your sales goals with tech-powered marketing services.
GIPHY, the company with the world’s largest library of animated GIFs, now offers a GIF Maker that is free and so much fun to use. GIF Maker allows you to create animated GIFs from video files, YouTube links, existing GIFs, and even still photos.
Drag and drop a video file, or enter a video URL from YouTube, Vimeo, or another GIPHY page. You can also upload a series of photos to create an animated photo slideshow.
Once you’ve uploaded your file, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can begin editing your GIF.
Next, trim your video to a duration of about 2-6 seconds. This will ensure that your file size is small enough to load quickly on social media and blogging platforms.
If you’d like, you can add a caption, stickers, or drawings to your GIF. Once you’re happy with your GIF, upload it, and add a couple of tags to make it easier for other people to find.
And voila! You’ve made your GIF! You can now save it and upload it to your website or blog.
What I Like About GIPHY’s GIF Maker
What I Don’t Like About GIPHY’s GIF Maker
As a free tool, it’s simple to use and has the exact feature I’m looking for. GIPHY’s GIF Maker is definitely a tool I’ll highly recommend.
Another super-simple tool is GIFs.com, an online tool that turns YouTube videos, Vine videos, and Instagram videos into editable GIFs. Note that while you can create GIFs for free on this platform, you’ll have to become a paying subscriber in order to access some features.
With that being said, they do offer some options that you won’t find anywhere else, like Instant Effects and themed stickers.
Copy and paste a link to a short video you’d like to turn into a GIF.
On the timeline at the bottom of your screen, indicate your GIF’s start and end time, as well as length. Then, being customizing your GIF with their selection of themed stickers, Instant Effects, and customizable fonts for captions.
When you’re done, add a name to your GIF, some tags to make it easily searchable, and you’re done!
What I Like About GIF.com
What I Don’t Like About GIF.com
Overall, while I did enjoy GIF.com’s Instant Effects and sticker options, I wouldn’t recommend becoming a paid subscriber for features you can find for free on GIPHY’s GIF Maker and other online tools.
Ever use a tool like ClipConverter to turn a YouTube video into an mp3 file? Imgur does almost the exact same thing by converting videos into GIFs.
If you’re looking for a tool without the bells and whistles GIF.com or GIPHY’s GIF Maker have, Video to GIF is for you. It doesn’t have themed stickers, fun filters, or customizable fonts for captions, but it will help you create a high-quality GIF in no time.
Enter the URL of the video you’d like to turn into a GIF.
Under the video preview, Video to GIF will prompt you to select a start time, then indicate the length of your GIF.
When you’re done, hit the “Create GIF” button and your GIF will be ready to share and download.
What I Like About Imgur’s Video to GIF
What I Don’t Like About Imgur’s Video to GIF
Overall, if you want to create a super-simple GIF in a short amount of time, give Imgur’s Video to GIf tool a try.
Unlike other GIF-creating apps, Boomerang for Instagram is a mobile app that takes a burst of photos and stitches them together into a GIF that plays forward and backward with no editing required.
Press the photo button, hold for a few seconds, and voila! That’s all there is to it. When you’re satisfied with your Boomerang, you can instantly share it on Facebook or Instagram, or save it to share on another platform. Here’s a short video that shows you how it works.
What I Like About Boomerang for Instagram
What I Don’t Like About Boomerang for Instagram
Overall, I really like Boomerang for Instagram, especially for creating and sharing original GIFs of your product or team in action.
As a marketer, my favorite GIF creator of all time is LICECap, a free animated screen capture tool. It’s allowed me to create several “How To” articles demonstrating how to use features in a desktop app.
It’s also how I created every single GIF in this article!
When you open the desktop app, LICECap will display an open window that you can adjust to fit the whole screen or only a portion of the screen you’d like to capture.
In the bottom right-hand corner, hit the record button and select a file name for your GIF. Then proceed to interact with whatever you’re recording. You can also pause the recording and reposition the window if you’d like.
When you’re done, LICECap automatically saves your GIF that you can use in your content.
What I Like About LICECap
What I Don’t Like About LICECap
* The saved GIFs files are big and can take up a lot of space, so keep your GIFs short.
LICECap is a tool every marketer and entrepreneur should have in their content marketing toolkit.
Now that you know how to make a GIF, you should probably also know the platforms that support GIFs and the different ways to add animated GIFs to your content strategy. Let’s jump right in!
GIFs are now becoming way more popular on Facebook–probably because they’re easier to create and share on Facebook than videos.
The problem, however, was that in order to upload a GIF to Facebook, you would have to share it using a GIPHY link, which was far from ideal.
Now, Facebook allows you to search for GIFs and add them to a Facebook post–without any share links! Here’s how it works:
Now, this process only applies to a personal Facebook account. Here’s how to share GIFs on your company’s business page:
*P.S. Have you seen Facebook Ads • Your Ultimate Marketing FAQ Guide?
Thankfully, Twitter makes it super easy to attach GIFs to your tweets. Here are two super simple ways to add GIFs to your tweets.
Of course, I can’t forget about uploading GIFs to your website or blog! While every content management system is different, the process of uploading a GIF is exactly the same as uploading a photo or video. Here are instructions on how to upload GIFs on WordPress, Ghost, and Squarespace.
Clearly, there’s plenty of free options that make this type of content creation super easy.
As a quick recap, the 5 tools that’ll help you create a gif are:
So, go and create GIFs… and test them on your website, in your onboarding, embed them in email marketing, share them on social, and see if the improve paid-advertising performance! Not sure which test to start with? We Wrote The 100-Page Step-By-Step Growth Audit Guide You Need
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