5 Ways to Use Cinemagraphs in Digital Marketing Campaigns

So, you’re pitching a new campaign to your client and you need some fresh ideas. Hello, cinemagraphs!

Flixel Cinemagraph

What better content is there than highly engaging living photos? As the Wall Street Street Journal recently wrote,

“In an attempt to cut through the noise, marketers are increasingly experimenting with new visual mediums. Cinemagraphs — still photographs incorporating looping video elements — are a recent example of such a tactic.”

Using cinemagraphs as part of digital marketing campaigns will not only set your company apart, it will also delight your clients. No wonder cinemagraphs have been named a top design trend for 2016.

Here are 5 ways to use cinemagraphs in digital marketing campaigns:

1. Social Media

When looking into how to market a brand, it’s important to think about the different methods and outlets to best showcase the company, product or service. Social media plays a huge role in digital marketing. With the popularity of networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr, it’s important to hit each channel with accuracy and effectiveness while considering how your content can live best on each platform.

Case Study: Bates Motel

Inspired by the Hitchcock genre-defining film Psycho, Bates Motel is a runaway hit thriller on A&E. For the series 3 premiere, A&E decided to do something big. Their mission: to create stunning cinemagraphs based off of the infamous Psycho images. The creative direction and execution of this shoot came from pro photographer Dylan Coulter and Mark Homza of Flixel. The network posted the cinemagraphs to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr and saw thousands of shares and comments. Fans of the show loved A&E’s creativity and the network was thrilled with the results.

2. Email

Email continues to play a key role in marketing strategies. Every email marketer looks for ways to improve campaigns and drive deeper engagement through the use of design, images, and copy. A popular trend is to add in small looping animated GIFs to catch the readers attention. As recipients of many email newsletters, this can often be too much. Subtlety is the key to success here, and it comes in the form of cinemagraphs.

Case Study: House of Cards

Big brands are using cinemagraphs in their marketing strategies. House of Cards is currently Netflix’s largest original series with 39 episodes in total, and arguably its most successful. Having won 4 Emmy awards and 2 Golden Globes, it’s clear that House of Cards is doing something right. For both season 2 and 3 of HOC, Netflix used cinemagraphs in their email marketing campaigns. The virality and success of these campaigns show just how powerful living photos can be.

3. Digital Displays/Projections

Walk around the streets of Toronto, NYC, the airport, or a mall and you’re bound to come across digital displays. Some will be playing videos, others still photos, and people will walk by without a second glance. We are so used to being bombarded by ads that we have trained our minds to simply block it out. Throw a cinemagraph onto a digital display or projection, and then watch what happens.

Case Study: Marilyn Monroe for Sexy Hair, Flixel & The Marilyn Monroe Estate

On September 15th, 2014, millions of New Yorkers witnessed Marilyn light up the city sky as a living photo of the starlet and her billowing white dress was projected on the sides of various landmark buildings in Times Square, Union Square, Columbus Circle, and around Grand Central Station. It was the 60th anniversary of the “white dress” scene from the film, The Seven Year Itch. As part of a larger marketing strategy, this iconic cinemagraph brought in millions of likes on Facebook, great press, and a piece of stunning content that continues to be shared across all 5 digital marketing platforms.

4. Website

Spice up a website with some eye catching content. With our Flixel embed code, displaying cinemagraphs on websites is simple and effective. Our embed code works just like a YouTube embed, but, it enables HD auto-loop and auto-play functions while making your cinemagraphs look fantastic on any device and in any browser.

Case Study: The Nature Conservancy

Recently, the Nature Conservancy created a website focused on educating and engaging people on the worlds most vital resource: water. The Non-For-Profit company hopes that through cinemagraphs that their website will bring in hundreds of thousands of viewers. Check out water.nature.org to see the beauty of water come to life in 4 stunning living photos.

5. Digital Ads

Cinemagraph ads from the World’s leading brands have been popping up all over social media. Companies like Starbucks, Ikea, and Mercedes have been testing out the new medium and seeing staggering results. Two brand effectiveness studies by Nielsen showcase just how powerful cinemagraph ads can be.

Case Study: Mercedes-Benz

Instagram is an ideal social platform for cinemagraphs ads, as videos auto-play and auto-loop in the feed. A cinemagraph created by Flixel Studios for Mercedes-Benz Canada, brought a 6pt lift in brand favourability among males, and a 34% lift in ad recall across 3 campaigns.


Read more about the campaigns success, and check out how PepsiCo saw a 51x increase in engagement when they used cinemagraphs to launch their new produce, MistTwst. You can take a look at our Facebook Ads case studies with Microsoft, startups inkbox and Giftagram, and our small business Facebook ads case study series here.

And we can’t forget about banner ads: those annoying little blocks that show up on the sides, at the top, on the bottom and in the middle of our screens. Yes, we’ve all used them in our digital marketing strategies, but with what effectiveness? What if we told you that cinemagraph banner ads drive 5.6x more CTRs on average than still images. The facts don’t lie.

Case Study: Panasonic Cinemagraph vs Still Photo

Being harassed with banner ads is not always fun, but every so often you stumble across a really great one and decide to delve further into the ad. We did a CTR test with two different ads using Panasonic and Flixel branding: one still, one a living photo. Both are beautiful, but one was much more effective.

The great part about all of this is that you can create one (or a series) of cinemagraphs and use them across all of the above platforms as an successful and eye catching digital marketing campaign. As cinemagraphs become more popular and we begin to see them more and more in the media, get ahead of the crowd. Now is the opportunity to differentiate your agency from the rest.

(Flixel Marketing Manager)

When Cassandra was six, she was asked to share a story with her class…and hasn’t stopped telling them since. Now she does so through photography, video and writing, but with the same sense of wonder - and love for glitter - as her inner kid.


  1. Very eye catching and beautiful cinemagraph there. I was just wondering whether you guys can do a tutorial on how to add audio into cinemagraph like what they did in the stranger things one .

  2. Thanks for sharing it. It is so helpful for me.

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