Facebook Allows GIFs: What Marketers Need To Know…

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If you’ve noticed a flood of animated GIFs on your Facebook news feed this week, it’s because the site’s latest update inspired impromptu — and animated — celebrations across the Web. As of May 29, the social media giant is offering GIF support to its users, meaning Facebook will load GIFs on your screen.

Users can embed GIFs onto their profiles and News Feeds, and the animated images work in the mobile app, too (although users might have to tap to load, depending on the file size).

Virtually every other social media platform already offers GIF support, and even Facebook offered the service after it first launched. After more than a decade without, users can now post animated pictures of cats, celebrities, memes, and anything else they can imagine.

However, digital advertisers and marketers should take note: GIFs only work on personal profiles, not on brand pages.

Since 47% of marketers say Facebook is a crucial element of their branding strategy, that restriction will probably be temporary. Experts say Facebook will eventually let brand pages display GIFs, too.

Experts say Facebook will eventually let brand pages display GIFs, too.
Experts say Facebook will eventually let brand pages display GIFs, too.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced a “quality” update which restricted the ability of company pages to appear in their fans’ feeds. The GIF restriction is just the latest limitation the site has placed on marketers.

Not all tech writers are on board with the new policy. Gizmodo writer Adam Clark Estes admits that while “GIFs are fun!”, Mark Zuckerberg just opened the digital floodgates. Expect to see torrents of GIFs in the weeks to come.

“This could also be awful,” Estes wrote. “My News Feed is noisy enough without all kinds of moving images and worn-out memes. My mom just discovered emoji, and that’s going okay. But what happens when she discovers the Deal With It meme and posts this on my wall…”

The update surprised both users and tech analysts alike when it rolled out Friday afternoon. So far, Facebook has not said if or when it will allow companies and brand pages to join in the GIF party.

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