Ask yourself one question:

In the past two years while browsing online, how many banner ads, “sponsored posts” or sponsored content did you intentionally click upon? 

My guess is you can count the amount on one hand. So, with difficulty in piquing online consumer interest at an all-time high, brands recently began experimenting with nuanced visual tricks and gimmicks to make audiences stop and take notice; a “scroll-stopper” if you will. Even if it’s only for a second or two, that extended absorption is worth the effort. The technique? It’s called the cinemagraph (a hybrid word derived from "cinema" and "photograph").

Cinemagraphs offer the user something neither of its two independent namesakes can: they're visually alluring and interactive while limiting the amount of time necessary to get the message. These are similar to GIFs but with an enhanced format that gives the consumer a eerie real-life sensation. The majority of the image is indeed static, however, there are one or two moving elements within the cinemagraph that give the image its subtle, attractive nature.

Here are four ways cinemagraphs serve brands well.


Easy Consumption

The bite-sized format of these looped artistic images presents a message to the consumer in an aesthetic manner while being brief in nature. Subtle movements within the image bring it to life for the consumer who soon feels as if they are drinking the same beer or stirring the same latte. Its inclusive and humanizing nature removes the initial standoffish notion of advertising from the mind.

Armani  cinemagraph


They Aren’t Distracting or Annoying

These aren’t pop-up ads or annoying flashing banners. Here, just like the movement within the feature, subtlety is key. You’ll find these strategically placed within emails or on the side of web pages or within an Instagram feed. The uniqueness of the cinemagraph speaks for itself. No need to push it upon the consumer. 

Miller cinemagraph


Their Intricate Content Keeps Users Engaged

Cinemagraphs add just the right amount of luster to an already attractive picture. This technique works especially well for luxury and lifestyle brands that shimmer and shine with accents of subtle movements. The stirred drink by the gentleman in the Armani suit, or a young woman’s swaying skirt, adds class to the otherwise static and flat image.

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Mr. Porter cinemagraph


The Price is Right

What’s great about cinemagraphs is their price. Brands gain all the benefits of video without the video production price. In fact, some come for a fraction of the cost of video, and their click-through rates justify their utility. According to a report from an independent marketing services company, 72% of email marketers who used cinemagraphs recorded higher transaction-to-click rates, compared with bulk emails to the same customers.

chopard cinemagraph

Keep cinemagraphs in mind the next time you consider adding graphic elements to an advertising campaign. They're relatively easy for the professional photographer or graphic designer to execute, saving you time and money. 

If you enjoyed learning about his trend in advertising and lead generation tactics with cinemagraphs then you will love the 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas

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Originally published March 12, 2017, updated June 12, 2020
Tags: video marketing Social Media Marketing content marketing marketing tips Advertising