Is a GIF the right format for you?

 In Blog

GIFS and MP4s can be confusing don’t fret we’re here to help you…

GIF stands for ‘Graphics Interchange Format’. An image file format commonly used for images on the web and software programmes. GIF’s are popular as they are more engaging than a static photo and more immediate than web videos.

The benefits of using a GIF is that it is short form content. GIFs are ideal for webpages and some social media sites. A GIF has a small file size. It loads surprisingly quickly which results in the user staying on the page and not getting impatient! They also have unique features that are built in, such as auto play and auto repeat. We have used GIFs in the past as supporting assets for larger animations, for social and other campaign assets.

MP4 stands for MPEG-4 it is used to store audio and video data. It can be streamed over the internet. MP4 file sizes are relatively small but the quality remains high even after compression.

Adding Visual Content to a Website?

If you are looking to add a small bit of motion to your website GIFS are ideal. They can be dropped in instead of images and because of their small file size they load faster on websites. Unlike a MP4 GIFS don’t have to be constrained in the 16:9 ratio instead they can be square or rectangular. Take a look at our dimensions guideline for more information.

The Like Minded Social Media, Gif Right Format
The Like Minded Social Media

Is it for Social Media? 

  • Introducing a little bit of motion can help with your audiences engagement while they scroll through there feed.

  • GIF formats are not commonly used on some of the main social platforms as they offer other interesting features built into there sites.

  • GIF animation is automatically recognisable to most web browsers. It works by creating a series of frames to make up the moving image.

  • We recommend a square format preferably 800×800. The square fits comfortably into all social channel formats. 

  • GIFs are only supported on Twitter. Facebook and Instagram would much rather you upload an MP4 to there site.

  • Facebook and Instagram have built in features into there MP4 player that mirror the characteristics of a GIF such as autoplay and auto repeat. We upload MP4 files in these channels as there easier to export and the quality is higher.

  • Social channels have built in compression features that can reduce MP4 file sizes. 

The Quality of a GIF

The quality of the GIF is dependant on a lot of different factors from length to detail of animation. Usually a GIF between 3-8 seconds is recommended as the format is largely used as short form content, for example it might be a snippet of a larger animation or even a spin off idea.

The longer the length of a GIF the less fluidity it has, when we export the GIF we have to lower the frames per second. For longer length GIFs we have to reduce the frames per second to reduce file size but this can give the effect of appearing jumpy.

If the duration of the GIF is around 40 seconds this will result in limitations, it may not export or load properly on the web page. Therefore a GIF wouldn’t be the correct format for you. It is worth considering an animation instead, as we can put a lot more magic into the piece and we are free from constraints.

If this style of animation appeals to you and you’d like to find out more please get in touch with our studio for more information.

We hope that you’ve found this blog post to be informative and useful and now you know all about GIFs!

Thanks for reading,


Studio Intern 

Education Animation & Infographics
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