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Opportunities in Animated GIF

Opportunities in Animated GIF

One of the biggest innovations in the history of the Internet was the ability to integrate photographs and
other illustrations with text on a web page. The main advantages of GIF animation are that it is
incredibly simple to work with and it is automatically recognizable to most Web browsers. Animated
images otherwise known as GIFs — have been around for 25 years, and in 2015, the GIF trend has never
been stronger. Back in the mid to late 90s, at the dawn of the Internet age, GIFs were normally
characterized by tacky little clipart images that moved skittishly, often scattered across sites built on
Geocities or Angelfire.

Today, GIFs are playing an increasingly important role in breaking news on the web, telling stories
through photojournalism and giving us new ways to express our emotions when we can’t do it in person.
There’s no doubt about it that GIFs and social media have indeed become BFFs. The NY Times says that
people in their 20s likely experience some sense of nostalgia for the awkward clipart GIF images many of
us were exposed to in the 90s when we started exploring the Internet for the first time. GIFs offer a
much more convenient, faster and totally silent way to express something. It’s the perfect combination
between images and video that really captures our attention.
How Companies Make Money with GIF

People soon started to realize that there was a demand for Gifs and where there is a demand, there is
money to be made. The biggest company which produced these sorts of Gifs was a website called
“Animation Factory” who’s sole business was to create Gifs of anything you could possibly imagine and
by the late 90’s had produced over 500,000 gifs at the time. At their peak, Animation Factory was
making about 2 million dollars a year by selling Gifs during a time when the Internet was only just
getting started.

By the mid 2000’s, the Internet began using templates for web design and the Gif lost its use as a means
to decorate ones website or blog. However, in the late 2000’s internet bandwidth became faster and
people started using Gifs as a mode of expression which gave rise to websites like Tumblr and Reddit to
share these with the world. Because of this rise in Gif popularity, businesses noticed that there was
money to be made in advertising.

One such company out there capitalizing on the growing popularity and potential advertising
opportunities is a website called Giphy, which basically acts as a Gif search engine and they plan to make
their money by partnering with big brands like Saturday Night Live, to make gifs of that brands content
which people can then share in their day to day conversations.

So what you might send a Gif of Rihanna expressing what you want to tell a friend, CBS sees that as an
opportunity to advertise their network as a means to have much better engagement with their online
content. Big brand companies see this as a huge opportunity and are using this as a solution to finally
being able to advertise in your email and text feeds.

In a traditional advertising world, a typical advertiser would have to spend a lot of money to get their
message through to their consumer and they use all kinds of tactics to try and interrupt your experience
in the chance that you will click or that their message sinks in. Instead of the brand shoving the message
down someone’s throats, people are the ones being the brand ambassadors. They are self-identifying
with the content because they selected it, they’re endorsing it because they sent it to you and you’re
both bonding over it emotionally because you are using it to communicate.

The Future of Animated GIF

The GIF isn’t going anywhere. If anything, people will figure out ways to use them even more. The GIF
trend will most likely call for more social networks to offer GIF support. Twitter, for example, has made
it possible for a variety of content types to be embedded directly in tweets through Twitter Cards, but so
far, Twitter does not yet support the GIF format.
Everyone in today’s world is searching for content, and many are searching for expressive content (hello,
goodbye, good to see you) but they are really searching for that content through whatever is the
popular cultural sensation at that moment in time whether it’s some brand new TV show or a clip of a
popular movie. From an advertiser’s perspective, they should be focusing on doing more of this and for
us as the consumer, we should expect to see it happen in the blink of an eye. Websites and blogs are
now looking at how the GIF can enrich the visitor experience and encourage them to share their
content. Many are taking inspiration from BuzzFeed and sites from the Gawker network, which are
already using GIF imagery to drive more traffic and create more interest. Some say that GIFs are the
future of photojournalism. Others say they’re just dumb animations that teenagers like to make instead
of doing their homework. Whether you like it or not, the animated GIF is here to stay. You don’t exactly
need to be on Tumblr or need to be a dedicated BuzzFeed reader to know it. It seems as if the Internet
has fallen in love with the GIF, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

Advantages of Animated GIFs

Advantages of Animated GIFs


Animated GIF refers to Graphics Interchange Format. An animated GIF is mainly found in web pages as fading, spinning, or blinking images (Niederst, 2003). A GIF animation denotes a file that has a blend of many frames or images, which are arranged in a pattern that depicts movement. The illusion of movement occurs when the GIF file is encoded, which occurs as a sequential loop in the eyes of the viewer. Most animated gifs are mainly played as a continuous loop or timed sequence loop. Animated GIFs have become very popular today because they are easy to create and can run on almost all browsers without requiring plug-ins. The common advantages of animated GIFs are:


Similar to the static GIFs, Animated GIFs contains transparency backgrounds. This allows the user to put transparency for every frame or image within an animation. Usually, the transparency parts are created from white or black pixels, or a color selected from the frame with eyedropper equipment. Prior images will be displayed via the transparent region of a later image. The background color of the browsers can show through when the background image is made transparent (Niederst, 2003). One only needs to properly set frame transparency using the disposal technique. Sometimes the transparent parts of the original GIFs may appear opaque when the animated file is opened in an animation utility or browser, but can be mitigated by resetting the transparency areas (Dubost, 2003). The transparency features help in giving a more professional or appealing view to a given website having animated GIF over a flexible background.

Small File Size

Bandwidth refers to the rate at which data is transferred from a server to a web browser. Usually, the bandwidth in most websites and publications is limited. Compared to other file formats, animated gifs are relatively smaller (Dubost, 2003). The smaller size means that they need limited storage space, can load faster, shared easily, and still maintain a quality look. Web sites with multiple animations and images tend to have large file sizes, which leads to delayed loading or data transfer.

Easy to make

Most of the GIF generation software or tools are free. Animated GIFs can be easily made using Macromedia Fireworks and web graphic tools such as Adobe Image Ready software. These tools allow the user to make and save the GIFs at the same place. The animation utility tools also allow for easy image generation (Connectusfund, 2015). Nevertheless, one can still create animated gifs by using other stand-alone image generation utilities. The standalone tools allow the user to take an existing image and convert them into a single frame (Bailey, 2014). The animated GIFs tools offer an easy to use interface for looping and specifying period of each image or frame. Some of the GIF animation tools also have effective optimization capabilities including the transition options free.

Easier and better way of conveying the message

Animated GIFs can show things or describe a situation in a clearer manner than other gifs because they can show movements and emotions, which may not be possible when using a static image. The movement feature is useful in creating advert and tutorial animations (Niederst, 2003). This is also because animated GIF files can appeal to various audiences, especially the younger people who are amused by the animations.

Appealing and professional look

Animated GIFS are usually made of color palettes of up to over 250 colors, which enhance the appearance of the image (Niederst, 2003). Regardless that each image can carry its own color palette, a global palette is often recommended to ensure clearer display of the entire animation, especially for older browsers. Using a darker color palette helps to reduce the size of the GIF file. Also, using monochromatic frame or the color overlay method help to cut the size of the animation.


An animated GIF allows the user to specify the sequence or the duration the GIF can repeat itself such as forever, zero, or a given number (Niederst, 2003). Some GIFs and even browsers could not support a certain number of loops. Some only support the first image; whiles others only support the last frame. However, the frame in animated GIFs can make sequential moves for multiple times by incorporating looping in the GIF file, without having much effect on the file size.


A characteristic of all GIFs, animated GIFs can be interlaced to show a set of passes such as beginning blocky or faded and ending clear (Niederst, 2003). This is achieved by setting the interlacing feature as off or no since each image appears on the screen for a limited period.

Lastly, animated GIFs allows a single graphic file to have multiple backgrounds that separate images, which when displayed at a short period create the illusion of change or movement over time. All the images are put in one file together with set features that determine how they should appear in the browser. The animated GIF can be controlled on the times the sequence repeats or does not, the image delay, the transparent areas, whether the frame is interlaced, and the disposal method.


Bailey, S. (2014). Advantages and Disadvantages of GIF Images |. Retrieved from https://websitespeedexperts.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-gif-images/

Connectusfund. (2015). 6 Advantages and Disadvantages of Animated Gifs | ConnectUS. Retrieved from http://connectusfund.org/6-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-animated-gifs

Dubost, K. (2003). GIF or PNG? – Quality Web Tips. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/png-gif

Niederst, R. J. (2003). Learning web design. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates.

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