content online

Cinemagraphs: The Clicks Don't Lie

There's something irrefutable about the way visual content engages people online.

Gifs (graphic interchange format files, pictures that move on a loop), images, and videos are among the most viewed, clicked, and reacted to pieces of content on most networks. A picture is worth 1000 words and, in the age of the 140 character post, this is a crucial consideration when it comes to creating content. Silent videos in particular, or videos with subtitles, work especially well on Facebook. Gifs are now an embedded and native feature in Twitter. But what about cinemagraphs?

Cinemagraphs are an oddly unique blend of still and moving content somewhere between a gif and a static image. A minor and repeated movement occurs, forming a loop (much like with a gif). The result is somewhat hypnotic. A frozen picture with a singular movement on repeat. It's easy to fall into watching a cinemagraph loop for a long period of time.

Cinemagraphs tend to drive higher engagement and click through rates (CTRs) when placed on social ads.  They help brands break away from static content and can quickly catch the attention of a viewer. On Instagram, brands like Mercedes are finding success with cinemagraphs. According to Martech, Pepsi saw a 75 percent increase in CTR and 51 percent increase in engagement during their cinemagraph campaign in 2016 on Facebook. Those are incredible stats.

Cinemagraphs have been around and flourishing for a while, but as time goes on more and more brands are recognising the unique opportunities this content offers. You might want to play with it too.

This content is beautiful, and it might follow that you think it's hard to make. It isn't. It's quick too, meaning you're spending less on production and produce more content. There are apps on iOS and Android that can help you make these files from video clips. Flixel and Echograph are a couple of great examples of apps you can use to create cinemagraphs. Flixel is around $200 a year, and that may seem like a lot, but if you don't want to learn Adobe Creative Suite it's worth the investment. Here's a quick cinemagraph I made using the free trail software. It took me five minutes (no kidding):

Flixel is actually integrated into Facebook Ads Manager too, and as of February 2016 Facebook have been promoting the use of these files heavily. Anything Facebook is on-board with, I tend to push within any team I'm working with provided it suits their goals -- if a social network start promoting a certain file format getting ahead of the curve and using it can give you an edge.

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Here's a couple of cinemagraphs I made using Adobe After Effects. Took me a little longer than five minutes to get to grips with the technique but, admittedly, was incredibly faster than editing a video together for use online.