Using Cinemagraphs to Bring Websites to Life

Apple’s iOS 10 upgrade this September placed Message GIFs in the world’s fingertips, which just goes to show how much our culture loves animation. While these GIFs intend to express emotion or entertain, cinemagraphs are an artform in its own league that the web cannot ignore.

Cinemagraphs Perform Better Than Still Photos

Cinemagraphs breathe life into photography, actually starting as a video that is selectively carved into a timeless heirloom. In part, their appeal stems from our brain expecting a still image, only to be surprised by subtle, seamless movement.
Web designers and marketing agencies have embraced the cinemagraph’s alluring nature. Perhaps more accurately would be to credit its popularity for garnering a higher click through rate on the web, compared to its static ancestor. User engagement has led an increasing number of designers to become married to the medium.

“With cinemagraphs, you do get better engagement,” Bennett Fitzgibbon, Director of Marketing for Turnstyle, agreed in response to a recent experiment on their website.

Turnstyle compared the effectiveness of a cinemagraph as the hero image to that of a still image on their website.

New visitors to were either shown a still image or the cinemagraph seen above, as the hero image backing their call to action when using an A/B testing service. The result? A 20% increase in new visitors submitting the contact form when presented the cinemagraph version of the website.

“Cinemagraphs are something that our brains haven’t been trained to comprehend. During those extra two seconds of your brain computing it, you stay on the image a little longer and do a double take,” Fitzgibbon said.

He suggested how Internet users have developed a pattern of quickly separating organic content from advertisements, adding how when browsing we learn to ignore a lot. The appeal of cinemagraphs take users by surprise: it isn’t a still image, and it isn’t a video.

Cinemagraphs take users by surprise as it isn’t a still image, or a video.

Following the success of their in-house cinemagraph filmed using a smartphone, Turnstyle is eager to take their campaign further with replacing their first cinemagraph with a higher-resolution example produced by a professional service.

The return on investment with cinemagraphs is certainly worth a look, especially considering there isn’t much upfront cost. Small businesses, organizations, and corporations alike can easily afford experimenting with the medium on their website.

Flixel Cinemagraph Pro makes designing cinemagraphs fun and easy. Also offered is an iOS version and its convenience of capturing and designing on the go.


Author: Jason Winter

Connect with Jason on Twitter.

WinternetWeb Technologies, LLC


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