The static image is dead, long live the Cinemagraph

The static image is dead, long live the Cinemagraph

Forget everything you thought you knew about photographs. About advertising. About looking at images full stop. For this is the age of the cinemagraph. Of moving photographs, gently enticing you into a limitless world of advertising potential.



You may already have come across a cinemagraph-you’ll probably remember if you have. For more examples, check out some featured cinemagraphs from our team. A living photograph is how the medium is best described by one of the creators, Kevin Burg, who coined the term after getting tired of clients referring to those moving things he created alongside his photographer wife Jamie Beck.

In essence, a cinemagraph merges motion, video or dynamic picture with static, plain imagery, of the sort we are all used to seeing as part and parcel of every ad campaign, ad infinitum. Think of the living portraits hanging in the halls of Hogwarts, where the subject has a life of its own. But with less dead wizard ghosts.

And far more commercial potential. And when we say far more, we mean a lot , lot more.


Thumb Stopping Results

A study by leading partner and cinemagraph platform Flixel, showcasing the successes of drinks giants PepsiCo in promoting their newest drink Mist Twist, boasts an incredible 75% increase in click throughs, compared to a static image option, when they introduced the dynamic ad. In addition, PepsiCo celebrated a whopping 51X increase in engagement with their cinemagraph-powered advert on Facebook thanks to the platforms use of likes, comments and shares to measure the virality and shareability of content.

cinemapgraph ads flixel pepsi

The success was jaw-dropping enough to lead PepsiCo’s Senior Marketer Kelli McIntosh to proclaim “the cinemagraph ad was thumb-stopping and delivered amazing results. Moving forward, we’ll recommend continued use of this new medium to promote our brands.”’s own comparison between static and dynamic ad options demonstrated an even more impressive 117% boost to CTR, while the cost-per-click price plummeted by just over 40% to boot. Flixel outlined further impressive numbers when they explained that nearly one in four of the PepsiCo videos viewers proceeded to watch the whole 12-second clip as a result of introducing the cinemagraph.

In the early days of the groundbreaking medium, when Burg and Beck set the ball rolling on what is fast becoming the smartest, most cost-effective of advertising tools, producing one was a slow, laborious and costly process. Granted, the overall outcome was astonishing and when delivered properly, frankly jaw-dropping, or thumb-stopping, if you will; the time taken to put each image together made it a very exclusive, top-end option.

cinemagraphs versus still image flixel

Lucky for us, we are living in a social media age, where life is lived for many – through the medium and filter of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn. And with the development and proliferation of social media has come an emergence of tools capable of simplifying and streamlining the task of communicating on every platform, not least through cinemagraphs. Our studio team can now produce professional on-brand, beautiful and effective cinemagraphs for both social media campaigns at scale as well as high production quality , one-off pieces, to wow and showcase your business, product, service or idea.

After planning, compositing, shooting and delivering  cinemagraph ads, the end result can often look magical,  and with the teams skills, vision and foresight, we can deliver a sense of illusion that entices and draws in viewers, with enough subtlety to be discreet, but with the originality to grab the desired attention.

Not only do cinemagraphs look great: they are simple, effective and a highly-efficient means of reaching an audience and keeping them engaged. To make the most of the fascinating medium of the cinemagraph, considering the following pointers:

  • Take a lot of footage. Products like Flixel makes it easier to create cinemagraphs, but that can’t make up for lack of footage.
  • When it comes to animation, do less. Focus on adding motion to just one element.
  • Be unpredictable. It’s the subtle animations that are often the most engaging.

With cinemagraphs delivering such astonishing numbers in like-for-like A/B testing, up against their identical, but static, twins, it is almost certainly a no-brainer that the medium should be introduced to every content strategy that allows it. That said, there may be platforms where the cinemagraph is better suited than others.

As evidenced by Flixel’s case study, Facebook is an ideal stomping ground for the medium ,primed and ready, its auto-looping and auto-playing videos on News Feed make cinemagraphs a perfect high-impact medium that frankly leaves the still photo imagery of traditional Facebook ads eating dust. That said, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are equally viable platforms to introduce the medium- in the land of the static image, the cinemagraph is king.

So, if the cinemagraph is the new poster boy of the advertising world, is there ever a time when we shouldn’t choose dynamic content over the old, boring static stuff? The last word goes to joint-creator Jamie Beck:

“It’s about being a storyteller. Sometimes people ask me ‘is film better than digital?’ You choose the right tool for the job. Sometimes making a video is the right tool for the job. Sometimes a cinemagraph will be the best outcome to share a moment. Sometimes a photograph. You apply the correct medium to what you want to do, what you want to say.”

A cinemagraph can’t sell your product for you, any more than a well-worded press release, or a beautifully-shot set of product images. A lot will still depend on having a good proposition, reaching the right audience and having the right message. But get the essentials in place, and your next ad campaign could be the one to blow your competitors out of the water.

If you are interested in introducing the cinemagraph to your marketing strategy, our studio will help prepare, devise and deliver a killer micro content plan to support your marketing campaigns. Whether your focus is on clicks, conversions, web traffic or simply the bottom line, we can help you deliver across social media platforms.

Contact us to discuss your campaign or project and how to make the most of the newest developments in social advertising.





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