Animated gifs are powerful visual marketing tools – not only being used for amusement but they can also be instructional.
I personally create and use animated gifs and use them on my website, on social media posts and also in presentations. You could even use them in other online communications such as email newsletters.
I often create animated gifs on my iPhone or Android phone thanks to a selection of video and gif apps that are available. But there are also some helpful and free apps you can use online.
One I recently discovered is a free platform called Gifs.com. What makes this platform stand out as a useful visual marketing tool for small businesses especially if you have limited resources and design skills is the number of additional features you are able to use.
Gifs.com creates gifs from video content including YouTube, Vine and Instagram content or you can upload videos from your hard drive – do take care not to use content that you do not have the rights to – or if you use another brands content as I demonstrate in this article, then ensure that you attribute the original source.
You can create free account on Gifs.com which will enable you to keep the archive of animations and be able to go back and edit them. If you prefer you do not need to create a profile on the site.
When you add the URL for the video you will be able to select up to 3 seconds of the video to make into an animated gif. You can also add stickers, captions and add effects to the gif.
I experimented with the platform using a lovely animated video that was posted by Taylors on Instagram.
The variety of fonts for captions and ability to change the colour is great – however you can not currently change the outline of the letters at this time.
I also like the fact that you can upload your own stickers to the Gif to make it completely unique – for example you could upload a logo – I discovered this does not however work at this time on FireFox – you would need to use Chrome.
You can even crop the video for example as in the image below, to be portrait which works well for Pinterest.
When logged into the site you can easily navigate to your dashboard to see all your previously created gifs and even edit them should you wish to do so.
If you wish to change the title of the gif you create, you can easily identify it in the dashboard, just click to edit the animation and you can then click to change the title.
You will note that for every gif you create you can access not just the url, but you can embed it in your site – as I have done below – and you can download the gif. And if you prefer the mp4 just change the extension of the url of your gif to .mp4.
If you hover over the bottom left of the gif that is embedded above you will see that there is a live hyperlink back to the Instagram account of Taylors.
This is another unique feature of the platform. You can link to a custom url or a specific social network from your gif and this will be a clickable link (item 1 in the image below) using their Gifs player.
In addition you can put a description for the url link (item 2 in the image below), and if the gif is created from a YouTube video you can click through to watch the whole video (item 3 in the image below) and even turn on the audio for the gif (item 4 in the image below).
How To Quickly Create A Gif From A YouTube Video
All you need to do is change the url from YouTube.com to Gifs.com and when you open that in your browser it will automatically start to create the gif in your Gifs.com dashboard.
Final Thoughts On Gifs.com Platform for Marketers
It is good to see the platform also has some articles about how to use the tool which you can access here. Check out the advanced editing tips for creating a gif from a video on a frame by frame basis in this article.
I did have a couple of issues using the app as mentioned above when working in Firefox, but the team member for the platform who is managing their Twitter account was very responsive. The founders both studied at Harvard. Through our conversation I discovered that there is a team of 7 people involved in the platform and they have some big plans related to video editing so it will be a platform to watch in the future.
Some of the additional features that I would like to see the platform develop so that it could be a truly great resource for marketers are:
- the ability to make gifs created private
- the ability to use a colour picker or exact hex value for the colour of the captions
- specific sizing of captions
- different colours for the stroke of the fonts
- the ability to see the font in real time when choosing which to use as a caption
- the ability to create gifs for longer than 3 seconds
- the white labeling of gifs when downloaded or embedded
- the ability to resize the gif
- the ability to add images and create gifs from images not just videos.
I do think these additional features would be welcomed by marketers and could provide a revenue stream for the app – it’s certainly the most extensive and well designed online gif tool I have seen for creating gifs from video content.
Why not give Gifs.com a try when looking to create a gif for example from the video of your live stream replay – or one to promote an upcoming live stream? I find posting gifs is a great way to get a message across without people having to click to play a video. What are your preferred browser based tools for creating gifs from videos?
By the way if you are looking for a tool to create gifs from images on desktop, check out Gifmaker.me.
And if you already know how to use Photoshop but have not yet created gifs then check out this tutorial.
UPDATE 15 August 2016 – a New Feature – Create Animated Gifs of Your Live Streams
One of the features that the live stream platform Blab (which closed on 13 August 2016) enabled and that helped promote live streams in real time was the feature of creating animated gifs from content in a live event.
It is a feature that many people liked and helped give some visual clues of what was happening in the event – when it was shared to Twitter is was a great visual clue to prospective viewers.
I was therefore interested to read the notification from Gifs.com that they now had enabled animated gifs to be created not only from recorded and published video but from video when it was being live streamed. In their email notification of the change on the 10 August they mention that the feature works fro Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter live video.
I have tested this with Facebook Live and Periscope posts – in the main it has worked though there have been some times that I could not create a gif.
All you need to do is take the URL of the live stream on Facebook Live or Periscope and add it to Gifs.com – you will then have the opportunity to create a gif from a live stream.
In one of the tests I conducted for Facebook Live I took a live stream from the General Electric Facebook page – it is no longer visible on the public stream but here is a screen shot from the time of the live event.
See the example screen shot of an animated gif selecting a few seconds from the most recent 30 seconds of the live stream. Note the red ‘live button on the top of the screen shot so you can see the event was being live streamed.
Here is an animated gif I created from the General electric live stream – if you use this feature you could now share to your social networks, embed on your site, or download and share the gif. If you do add text to your gif take care where you place it as the Gifs.com logo will appear
When testing with Periscope and taking a URL from a live stream on Periscope.tv (I am featuring iMusic Academy which is an online music school) I noticed that where a broadcaster is live streaming in landscape mode, unfortunately the Gifs.com does not switch the animation from portrait to landscape you would need to do this after downloading the gif in an image editor.
I have noted this error to the Gifs.com team and hopefully they will correct it.
See in the image below that the event is live.
Select your animation from the 30 seconds of live stream content captured by Gifs.com.
Here is the resulting animated gif. The resolution is not as you would expect from a video as the image was increased in size for this article.
I do think this is an interesting feature for live streamers to consider using. Do you anticipate using Gifs.com to create visual summaries of your live streams to help promote the event in real time and through replays?