Facebook Begins Testing GIF Images For Use In Ads And On Timelines

After 10 years, Facebook is changing its policy on the use of animated GIFs on its site. Mark Zuckerberg thought the images interrupted the user experience and would stunt the growth of Facebook. Now that Facebook has acclimated users to video ads, they’re moving on to allow the animated GIFs.

The first to use the new ads is Wendy’s and Coca-Cola’s Brazilian Brand Kuat. While Wendy’s GIF shows a salad being made, Kuat offers a rainbow-pop-tart-shooting meme of Nyan Cat with their brand included in the GIF. As Facebook told Tech Crunch, the GIFs offer a fun and compelling way to communicate.

“GIFs can be a fun and compelling way to communicate, so we’ve started testing GIF support in posts and boosted posts for a small percentage of Facebook Pages. We will evaluate whether it drives a great experience for people before rolling it out to more Pages.”

One of the more recent changes Facebook made is to allow video ads and revenue sharing on videos. Their goal is to compete with YouTube, the top video site and a property of Google. Although the tests have been limited, Facebook hopes the new revenue-sharing model will help them increase the amount of money being made by selling advertising.

Facebook believes its model for video and revenue sharing is better than YouTube’s because the new model actually allows the videos to be seen. Currently only the major brands have been offered the revenue-sharing model. If it works, Facebook plans to offer the revenue-sharing plan to all video creators.

Facebook is also phasing out its sidebar ads, which don’t work with the new image format. The animated GIFs will fit in with the boosted posts, the format of ads that users see in their newsfeed and the most popular form of advertising on the site. Since the new ad format that includes the GIFs is considered a form of shouting, Facebook plans to see how users react to the new ads, and if they don’t do well, the ads will be scrapped. Critics of the new plan say that the new ads will be annoying.

Although Facebook declined to say how many companies are currently using the new ad format, GIFs have seen a rise in popularity over the last few years as users have changed the way they consume content. This trend occurred most often on social media sites and in online communities.

So what do you think of Facebook’s new plan to allow animated GIFs in ads and on timelines? Do you believe the changes will cause more user frustration or increase user engagement?

[Photo Credit Facebook]