The Space Between

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Copyright – Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

Understanding where the world is going in digital imagery and visual communication can sometimes be a challenge.  You feel the direction and can see the vision but still struggle on how to describe it to others.  I have been finding myself using the term “Space Between” a still image and a video to describe the area that we are trying to liberate on behalf of advertisers and marketers.  This space represents a growing movement in digital content creation that is driven by simple yet engaging motion.

The still photo can be a small and easily usable image and that is what makes it a perfect piece of content for digital advertising creative.  Photos capture a moment in time and lets the audience complete the story. But the one image is often one dimensional, interpretative and approximate – not providing the clarity, energy and emotion of actual movement.

Video, on the other hand, tells a more complete story and its format is designed to allow the creator room to express an entire thought or idea worth sharing.  Video can be engaging and robust enough to get just about any message across, and sound provides an additional sensation to express emotion and feeling.  However, using video as content in digital advertising is often complicated.  Requiring the user to click to play creates an instant barrier that demotes the video to a still photo with an arrow on top.  And, large file sizes, limited media placement opportunities and hosting issues can add to the video’s inherent complexities.

The average online attention span in 2013 was eight seconds. Twitter has seen the research. This is why they decided on a maximum of six seconds for uploads to their popular Vine video app and standardized the original ‘Tweet’ on 140 characters or less to get a point across.   Less is more in today’s busy world.  If grabbing our attention in a digital environment in less than eight seconds is important, we need a new way to combine the simplicity of the still photo with the engaging nature of a video.  Can we convey emotion through motion simply and quickly?  Absolutely we can.  But what do we call it?

NIKE by Mr GIF

Copyright – Mr. GIF

Since the Dave Matthews Band already used “The Space Between” to title their 2001 hit song, it is our job (collectively) to come up with a name to describe this emerging space.  Some within the industry have begun using their own language to describe the content.  Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, the duo credited with the artistic revival of the GIF format coined the name “Cinemagraph” to describe their moving photographs.  Other creative professionals use terms such as moving portraits, hybrid photography or looping video.  All are valid monikers given to a new art form that is simple, compact, engaging and provides just enough emotion to compel the viewer to take action.  But the medium deserves an artistic distinction that sets it apart, not as a technology but as a form of expression born from the evolution of technology.

We know what this “Space Between” is but need your help giving it a unique and defining name.  We have built a company around this new disruptive technology and are looking to provide smart solutions to creative professionals, digital marketers and ad agencies looking to convey emotion through motion quickly and easily in the form of digital content and creative for display banners, websites, email campaigns, landing pages and social media channels.

Send us a tweet at @Cinegif for your suggestions on naming the space between a still photo and a video, or post on our Facebook page.

GIFs on Facebook – Coming Soon!

How-to-display-an-animated-GIF-picture-on-your-FacebookI bet you are wondering how we know that.  It’s easy – just read between the lines.  Earlier, we blogged that Facebook support of the animated GIF would be a tipping point for the GIF’s comeback.  Let’s look at the evidence to support our claim that GIFs are coming soon.

Competition

Just last week Pinterest announced that they now support the animated GIF on their platform.  Their blog post said it best:

The well-timed GIF may be the greatest thing to have happened to the internet since emoticons, and lots of people have said they’d love to see playable GIFs on Pinterest. Starting today, we support GIFs in all their animated glory! There are already tens of millions of GIF Pins and a million people a day see at least one GIF on Pinterest, so there are plenty to choose from.

Big brands like General Electric are already showing off the GIF as part of their Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ sites.  Compare that to their one-dimensional Facebook page.  The strategic use of animated GIF content tells a better story and communicates emotion in a way that still images just can’t.

Follow the Advertising Dollars

A recent WSJ article pointed out that although Facebook generated the most revenue per visit when users clicked over to a retail site from the social network, they lost significant ground to Tumblr and Pinterest – both sites that support animated GIFs.  In fact, according to an Adobe report, on average, a Tumblr visitor generated $1.10—a 340% jump from last year. Only a visit from Facebook was more valuable, generating $1.22.  This is quite interesting since Tumblr is, and has been for many years the most GIF friendly social media site.  The Adobe report also noted that posts with images on social media sites produce 650% higher engagement rates.  Engagement equals results and Tumblr and Pinterest are beginning to see the payoff in terms of rapid monetization with advertisers and brands.

Teen Influence

Facebook use among teens has stagnated at 84 percent. The percentage of those between 18 and 29 who use the site fell two percentage points compared with last year, according to the survey. That’s in keeping with growing concern that Facebook is seeing lower engagement with the younger users who drove its early popularity, something that the company has acknowledged.  A recent study by Garry Tan shows that Tumblr is the most popular social network among people aged 13 to 25. Garry surveyed 1,038 people from two age groups of 13-18 and 19-25, and in both cases the results showed they use Tumblr more often than Facebook. Twitter came third, but while it’s a clear 3rd runner among 19-25, teenagers use Instagram almost as often as Twitter.

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So yes the animated GIF is coming soon to Facebook.  The pressure to perform is too great to pass up animated GIFs as an option for continued growth.  Advertisers will begin demanding such support or they will migrate their marketing budgets to growing sites like Tumblr and Pinterest.  It is just a matter of time.

Hey Zuck – let us know when your ready and we can show you the power of the Cinegif platform to create high quality, compressed animated GIFs for your advertisers.