Content marketing is an effective way for businesses to reach their target audience and build brand awareness. By creating material that people will search for and share with others, it’s possible to promote a brand without directly advertising to consumers. The key to this kind of soft sale approach is crafting content that the target audience finds interesting and engaging. Google is making it easier for marketers to use GIF content to promote their brand by allowing searchers to easily share GIFs they find.

A GIF, which stands for Graphics Interchange Format, is a way to share images that’s in between a static image and a video. GIFs are the images seen online that look like their animated. This limited movement is achieved by stacking several layers onto one image. In essence, a GIF is a digital flipbook. Marketers can use GIFs to show something with motion without creating a video.

According to Google, GIFs are growing in popularity. In a blog post announcing a new GIF sharing feature, the company wrote, “GIFs have become an essential part of communicating with friends and family. Whether we’re texting, emailing, or posting online, we’re always on the hunt for that perfect GIF. In fact, over the past five years, GIF search interest on Google Images has nearly tripled, as people search for the GIF that speaks most to them.”

Google has a GIF search engine, that’s powered by a service called Tenor, which Google acquired last year. A recent update now makes it possible for searchers to share the GIFs they find with friends, family, and colleagues online. This feature helps content marketers who use GIFs to educate or entertain. When people share the GIFs, someone else gets exposed to the company and its content.

There are many ways to use GIFs to engage with an audience. Google notes that shareable GIFs are made available by content creators, movie studios, and the YouTube community. The sharing feature is open to anyone who has a GIF they want to share. All they need to do is submit their GIFs to the new section on Google Images by either uploading GIFs to or using another partner service from Google.

Marketers who plan to use this feature should make sure to put effort into thinking of GIFs that people want to share. While keywords will undoubtedly play a role in what GIFs are shown in a search, Google says they plan to prioritize GIFs that are likely to be shared in the results. Having an eye-catching image may be more important than having the most SEO-friendly image title.

The shareable GIF feature is available now. Users with the Google App can use their Android or iOS device to access these GIFs. Android users can also access the GIF search through Chrome. Google plans to make it even easier to share GIFs on mobile and tablet devices in the future.

For more information about changes and updates to Google, read this article on recent tests involving display ads for YouTube live streams.