Social marketers and content producers now have an easy way to turn YouTube video clips into animated GIFs.

When it comes to content marketing, sometimes less is more. So while an entire video might be necessary to communicate an in-depth story, sometimes all that’s really needed is a brief clip for emphasis or demonstration. Thankfully, a new tool has come around that allows brands to get the best of both worlds: Entire YouTube clips and GIF snippets.

The function, which is accessible simply by putting ‘gif’ in front of ‘youtube’ in any YouTube URL, is a much simpler way of grabbing a few seconds from videos. Instead of having to download a third-party software, users can just add a few letters to the address bar, select two time markers, and voila: Custom GIFs. They can be used as previews of video content to add emphasis on social media posts or simply to show off your web marketing prowess.

GIFs: The best of both marketing worlds

GIFs, short for graphics interchange format, used to be a compromise for webmasters who wanted richer media but who couldn’t afford to host entire videos – or trust visitors’ connection speeds to display visual content exactly as it should be. But GIFs have been making a comeback in the past few years and they’re taking over the digital landscape, to the point where they’re an important tool for sharing reactions, previewing content or simply making jokes.

Want to learn more about how GIFs can be used for content marketing? Check out these related Brafton resources:

5 types of marketing GIFs your customers won’t be able to resist
Spice up your social marketing! Twitter now supports GIFs
Visual marketing: A picture in the inbox is worth a thousand words

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.