In the world of marketing, where almost everything has been designed and produced, we are being pushed everyday to create better and more engaging content.

While video can be costly and time consuming to produce, movable imagery became a way of reaching and connecting with consumers in a more intricate way.

Chopard cinemagraph

To build intrigue and better express companies’ artistic culture, brands are favouring cinemagraphs as a part of their visual toolkits.

So far they have proven to be more effective than a flat photo and are also perfectly suited for Instagram’s and Facebook’s autoplay which makes them move automatically.

Here’s how this new dimension is bringing a creative edge to visual storytelling while allowing marketing to become a form of surprise and delight.

Cinemagraphs as form of digital art

Often mistaken for an animated GIF, cinemagraphs are a hybrid of living photography and video in which just one or two details are being brought to life with movement.

The term cinemagraph was introduced by a New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphic designer Kevin Burg, who started using this format since 2011 to animate their fashion and new photographs.

Cinemagraphs are designed for immediacy to tell in a faster and more alluring way visual stories while mesmerising through an isolated image and moving element, making it hard to take your eyes away.

Their refined elegance has been clearly favoured by luxury brands like Chanel, Armani, Tiffany & Co, Christian Louboutin and Balenciaga. But recently they have been showing up on the feeds of Chopard, Toyota, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Stouffer, General Electric and Honda.

Why have brands fallen for cinemagraphs?

  • Their bite-sized format allows easy consumption.
  • They are attention grabbing without being distracting or annoying.
  • Cinemagraphs are easier and cheaper to produce than video.
  • They offer intricate content to keep viewers eyes engaged.
  • As they are great for sharing they encourage a higher level of engagement.
  • They help brands create more elaborate visual storytelling.

Breathing new life into social advertising with cinemagraphs

Stuart Weitzman proves that social advertising doesn’t have to be boring. The fashion brand is one of the first to use cinemagraphs and some of the latest and the most advanced video advertising formats on Instagram and Facebook.

While these ads become an appetiser of their products they also mesmerise users with their creative execution.

Cinemagraphs are part of Stuart Weitzman’s sequential messaging strategy, which intends to target customers with cinemagraphs on Instagram for a timeframe of a week, while later utilising Facebook’s new custom targeting to address consumers with a product ad who have seen it on Instagram.

To influence its customers more effectively the brand is using the custom targeting options integrated within these two platforms to target its audience based on their interests, visits to the website and demonstrated brand affinity.

The autoplay functions available on both channels allow cinemagraphs to stand out better within the photo-heavy social platforms while catching users’ attention.

This format might be new, but it seems to work exceptionally well for Panasonic’s Lumix ad whose cinemagraph version was clicked 60% more than the static one.

It’s not a surprise cinemagraphs have also found use in Tumblr’s advertising for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Motor Co. It also might be not long until we will see them on Pinterest as they seem like the perfect fit for Pinterest’s new looping video ads, Cinematic Pins.

Making emails beautiful with cinemagraphs

To add a new spark to email marketing, retailers, especially luxury brands, are using the power of cinemagraphs to breathe visual life to the static email.

Mr Porter delighted its subscribers with this subtle animation while drawing viewers eyes to a specific area in the email which helps tell a much broader story.

According to a report from Experian Marketing Services ‘animated gifs and cinemagraphs also produce higher transaction-to-click rates: 72% of email marketers who have used animated gifs or cinemagraphs have recorded higher transaction-to-click rates, compared with bulk emails to the same customers.’ (Source: MarketingProfs)

Making campaigns and events more memorable with cinemagraphs

Brands are also choosing cinemagraphs to boost interest for their events and campaigns.

To add glamour and a cinematic feel to their new campaign, House full of Secrets, Swiss jeweller Chopard used a series of cinemagraphs for their website.

Six characters representing different parts of Chopard’s new collection were introduced with a series of intriguing cinemagraphs, intending to use this format to create an ‘atmosphere full of intrigue and mystery’.

Using cinemagraphs as teasers for their A/W 2015 runway show allowed Burberry create a visually alluring narrative around their products.

By taking a different approach the brand was able to highlight specific products’ details which were likely to increase consumer interest.

While visual storytelling is a marriage of craft and marketing strategy, we can never forget that to make it successful, some sophisticated approaches are required:    

  • Be consistent in the style of your cinemagraphs to make them recognizable.
  • Add purpose to your cinemagraphs to incite a response.
  • Repurpose cinemagraphs across various channels and add them into other pieces of your content.
  • Partnership with influencers to increase their reach.
  • Experiment to see what fits to your brand and your business goals.

Use cinemagraphs to promote your:

  • Video.
  • Process or behind-the-scenes stories.
  • Product launch.
  • Slide-share presentation.

Useful resources:

  • You can create your own cinemagraphs using paid tools like Fixel or Cinegif.
  • To learn how to use Photoshop to create one, read this tutorial.
  • If you don’t have time to create your own cinemagraph see what Giphy has to offer.