How to Use GIFs to Increase Engagement: Dancing into Your Customers’ Hearts

4 minute read

Upland Admin


“Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time.” – Miguel Angel Ruiz

I think Mr. Ruiz was on to something. My colleague Sam Balter pointed out today is #InternationalDanceDay. (Sidenote: Did you know there is a dance called the Balter? I think it describes Sam quite well) It’s hard to keep up with these internet holidays, with everything from Ferret Day to Straw Hat Month. But International Dance Day got me thinking, much like Mr. Ruiz said about dance, technology is changing all the time. Those who get angry when the rhythm changes will be left behind in this breakneck paced era of innovation.

However, some classics never really go out of style, and many come back around, reborn into relevancy. Here at Upland Mobile Messaging we see that all the time, as mobile messaging has reinvented itself time and time again over the past decade. The space continues to evolve and consolidate, as those angry with the rhythm change suffer in their missteps or falling to wallflower status, and those willing to pick up the pace surging forward with new and exciting ways to engage customers.

GIFaissance – the Rebirth of GIFs

This brings me to something we recently rediscovered: the .GIF. The .GIF is one of the oldest image types, and it’s no secret it has had a rebirth for the past several years. GIFs have taken on new life as an entire language to respond to all of life’s situations. MIT created a brilliant technology to track GIFs to every emotional reaction. Hulu recently launched a similar library, The Perfect GIF, featuring all of your favorite shows and movies in .gif form. The takeaway here is GIFs are not just for sending funny emails to your coworkers, or for teens expressing how they feel about their calculus final on Tumblr, GIFs are a way to get attention. Standing out in the noise to reach your customer is more important now than ever, and .GIF, an old standard, are making a strong play for our attention.

GIFs Increase Engagement

Whether it’s an email, social, or an MMS campaign, it’s obvious that GIFs increase engagement dramatically. BlueFly found 12% increase in revenue generated from emails with GIFs. Dell Computers started using GIFs and saw increases of 103% for conversion, 42% for click-through rate, and a 109% increase in revenue; all from emails with GIFs. Sumall creates beautiful branded vector based GIFs for their email campaigns – which inspired us to do the same.

After a quick tutorial from Hubspot and some practice, I was able to whip up several GIFs for one of our nurturing campaigns. In our own email outreach we saw an increase in our email clickthrough rates immediately after adding our first GIF. Our customers have seen increased engagement on their messaging campaigns since we launched our MMS capabilities, allowing them to use GIFs, which are easier to make than videos and are more exciting than static images.

The ability to create a custom and dynamic image that spoke directly to our email’s theme is more relevant and easier to obtain than the generic stock photo.

So back to Mr. Ruiz’s point, life and technology, are like dancing. The rhythm may change so it’s best to keep up. But some things, Mr. Ruiz, never go out of style.

For the perfect dance GIF to celebrate today, here are 121 of the Best Dance GIFs from Funny or Die. What is your go-to move?

To learn more about Upland Mobile Messaging and how our customers use GIFs and other engaging strategies to delight their customers, check out a quick demo.

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