When movements evoke emotion

Living images – now termed cinemagraphs – contain an element of movement that is flawlessly looped creating a never ending moment. Husband and wife, Kevin Burg (digital artist) and Jamie Beck (photographer), created the first cinemagraph in 2011 through a series of experimentation using existing video content. Cinemagraphs have since evolved, gained audience and appear online, on television and in advertising.

“What is a cinemagraph?” asked Joseph Lin.
“I think of it as a living photograph. It’s a photograph that has a living moment inside of it.” Kevin Burg, 2014

This hybrid medium of photography and video grasps the attention of our eyes. Those slight repetitive movements in a still image become mesmerising to their audience – and this drives engagement! In a social media post, a cinemagraph provides an artistic component that surrounds the context, capturing a more powerful emotion than being faced with a still photo.

Cinemagraphs have raised GIF animation to a new level and are definitely considered a powerful tool in photography and marketing. Brands including Tiffany & Co, Calvin Klein and Coca Cola have created cinemagraphs to arouse feelings to their audiences. Other brands, such as Gilt Taste have produced cinemagraphs that make their audience almost taste the freshness of the food they are depicting. The purpose of cinemagraphs is to showcase an object or situation in a beautiful way. With social media platforms usually incorporating moving images (videos, gifs, etc) on autoplay, cinemagraphs organically reach audiences in a surprising way.

“More interesting than a photo and less annoying than an autoplay video, cinemagraphs are fast making a name for themselves in the world of digital marketing.” Jack SimpsonEconsultancy

In a recent study by Flixel and adparlor, cinemagraphs were tested for a startup called Inkbox Tattoos. The test including rolling out still photo and cinemagraph advertisements based on the same creative concept and targeting the same millennial audience in key geographic markets. Example of a side-by-side comparison:

In Facebook advertising, it was found that cinemagraphs provide a measurable impact on performance. Compared to the static photo, the cinemagraph yielded a 117% increase in click-through-rate (CTR), received more shares and comments. It was also found that the cost-per-click (CPC) was 41% lower than the static photo.

Cinemagraphs capture your audience’s attention and as an ad they are non-intrusive and non-disruptive. Their appeal shows an understanding to the personality being projected, which of course is crucial in the trigger of engagement with an online audience.


“It really feels like advertising agencies are starting to see the potential here. Not because it’s new and trendy, but because there’s real value… There’s a stickiness to it. People want to look at it.” Kevin Burg

Post cover by Flixel


By Paul K, 28 Nov 2017

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