Watch Out Video, Here Comes the Cinemagraph — and Facebook Thinks It Could Work Some Social Media Magic

Watch Out Video, Here Comes the Cinemagraph -- and Facebook Thinks It Could Work Some Social Media Magic“What if there were an ad that you just couldn’t draw your eyes from?” asks Garett Sloane in a very interesting recent post in AdWeek. “It’s oddly captivating, almost hypnotic, and it would halt your thumb from scrolling farther down your Facebook feed.”

According to Sloane, Facebook (and its photo sharing platform Instagram) would like more brands to try out what are called “cinemagraphs” — a type of GIF (graphics interchange format) file which can be a photo in which only a piece of the image subtly moves.

It’s a half video, half photo treatment that — amazingly — seems to captivate as much or more than video.

“You’re going to start seeing a ton of these on Facebook,” Sloane quotes an advertising executive who has seen a guide produced by Facebook for marketers called “Hacking Facebook Autoplay.”

Cinemagraphs, popularized by two artists touted in ad circles (Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck), has already been used in Tumblr ads, but now Facebook wants in on the action.

“Because of autoplay, brands need to be doing more with this stuff,” said Sloane’s ad exec. “This is something that plays out with motion in the feed that’s cool.”

“Some brands already have shared cinemagraph-style posts to Facebook, including Stouffer’s and Coca-Cola. One of the common uses is to depict steam wafting off a hot dish, for instance,” writes Sloane. “Facebook has only been able to support such creative because of its autoplaying video, which sets images in motion without users having to click a button.”

Purportedly, Burg and Beck have met with a Facebook team to consult on projects because of how complicated the format is — it can take weeks to create a worthy cinemagraph.

“We’ve had all kinds of new inquiries [from brands],” Beck said. “They don’t want video that’s so noisy; they want a cinemagraph because it has more elegance.”

Check out the AdWeek link to see the sample cinemagraphs shown there — they’re addicting, all right.