For those of us who aren’t that excited by static images, and don’t really get six-second Vine videos, Twitter is introducing a happy medium, the animated GIF.
Today Twitter announced that users can upload GIFs in the same way the upload images as part of their tweets. The GIFs will display in timelines much like videos, with a play button in front of them to get them to start playing.
— Twitter Support (@Support) June 18, 2014
As far as images go, GIFs are a pretty good way for brands to increase engagement. We’ve seen Denny’s create its own for its Tumblr page and Subway ran a successful campaign creating GIFs as replies to followers in real-time.
However, when you have to click on a GIF to view it, it loses some of its appeal. Given that Vines start playing automatically in your Twitter feed (albeit without sound), it would have made sense to have the GIFs do the same, since it requires one extra step to view them now.
Still, it’s a welcome addition to the Twitter platform, and GIFs fit in well with Twitter’s new strategy of going more visual and moving the platform away from text.