Cinemagraphs: The “New” Facebook Ad Format is Mesmerizing GIF/Video Hybrids



As auto-play videos is now being fully established on Facebook, the social network is looking into ways to increase the quality of the ads displayed in the News Feed. A new ad format called a cinemagraph could be the answer and it is expected to start appearing soon.

The cinemagraph is nothing new – it’s moving GIFs, but with the motion being restrained to just a few parts of the image. The effect is quite hypnotic and certainly attention-grabbing especially when played in a loop, a feature Facebook just added to Instagram this month.


Facebook doesn’t support animated GIFs but cinemagraphs can be loaded as a video and is thus hoped to become a new effective tool for marketers.

The original pioneers of the cinemagraph, visual storytellers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg of Anne Street Studios, have created these kinds of images for Tumblr for years, that are now being shared all over the web as beautiful showcases of what is to be expected.



Jamie Burg and Kevin Beck have done Tumblr ads for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lincoln Motor Co. It has helped luxury brands like Chopard to create cinemagraphs for organic social campaigns.

The duo has told that they were just playing around when they discovered this idea of “isolated motion”. They thought the format would be ideal for advertising as people just could not stop staring at them – sweet music for both advertisers and Facebook.

Besides these examples from Anne Street studios, several brands have already tried to implement the format into their content mix.


General Electric

Never one to shy away from unique visuals, General Electric used a cinemagraph to show the capabilities of its at home jet engine assembly kit.


Introducing #GE's at home jet engine assembly kit. Made possible by 3D printing, this is the perfect thing for that #AVgeek in your life. Celebrate the beauty of #aviation design with us and enter to win one at!

A video posted by GE (@generalelectric) on




To offer a sneak peek of the next generation Ridgeline from Honda, the car brand also used a cinemagraph.


In case you missed it, here’s a special sneak peek sketch of the next-generation Ridgeline that we released at the Chicago Auto Show today.

A video posted by Honda (@honda) on



The Fashion house Burberry is always worth following to stay updated on what’s trending within cool content, and cinemagraphs are no exception. Burberry has recently used the format to promote the recently held fashion show in London and for new product introductions.


The city stands ready for the #Burberry Womenswear A/W15 show #LFW #Cinemagraph

A video posted by Burberry (@burberry) on


Nail colour inspired by the #Burberry A/W15 collection #LFW

A video posted by Burberry (@burberry) on



Live Streaming and the Demand for Now

blogLive video has been something reserved only for significant occasions in the past, whether it be a big TV event or an important news story. This is all changing now as social media gives the power to the people and makes it easier than ever to broadcast without a TV deal.

So where are we currently? It seems all the giants have joined the party now – YouTube is the latest to jump on board by adding the ability to live stream directly from your phone. It’s important to note here how different YouTube’s audience is to Facebook and Twitter’s – subscribers on YouTube are there predominantly to watch videos, and considering YouTube’s experience within video in general, it will be interesting to see how these two compete most of all.

Tumblr on the other hand seems to have taken a slightly different route by allowing third-party apps to stream live video straight to its service. A very open-minded approach that bears witness to the fact that social is embracing the live streaming movement.


Real-Time Marketing

So what does this movement mean for brands? In an age where we have access to an overloading amount of content, content marketing is taking a new form – “real-time marketing” will now gain a larger footprint than ever before and the fundamental difference is the urgency it demands from viewers. This in itself is extremely valuable, considering the sheer amount of content we’re already drowning in. Viewers are also less critical and less demanding when it comes to live video. The fact that it’s live is the biggest factor and it doesn’t play out the same way when you re-watch a video that was originally live. Therefore, viewers end up chasing the video as soon as they’re notified of the stream, instead of “saving it for later”, which in turn also eliminates the potential for it to be lost in the billions of hours of content it’s directly competing with.


Quality Control

I’d also say the whole removal of picture-perfect images that Snapchat brought to the table has eased us into live streaming our own content – it may not be perfect, but who cares? You can now also broadcast live to Facebook from MSQRD, which is extremely Snapchat-like. So will the fact that absolutely anyone is now able to stream their lives have an effect on the overall quality of this type of content? Compared to the quality control TV has had over the years, it’s almost non-existent on social media. Time will tell if we want to see our friends live stream themselves doing nothing or whether a stream needs more of a purpose.

All things considered, live streaming will soon be a standard form of expression via social, much like it’s become a standard form of communication over the years with Skype and FaceTime. It’s time for brands to take a good look at their strategy and embrace the live streaming age that’s only going to grow from here.