Impossible to escape the phenomenon Cinemagraph, these “living photos” that we see most of the time on social networks. He likes it a lot, especially on Instagram, and allows brands to make a different StoryTelling.

The format is not new since it was invented in 2011 by Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, two American image professionals (, who wanted to animate their fashion photos taken during the famous Fashion Weeks. Today, the “Cinemagraph” format is particularly popular because, more than ever, we are invited to take our time, to slow down and to contemplate the images. The trend “Slow Life” fits perfectly with this new image format.

Anyone can take ownership of this format, including following Photoshop tutorials published on the web or using dedicated mobile applications like Cinemagraph Pro. Influencers and bloggers already use it a lot on social networks, brands too … We will discuss in this forum the specificities of Cinemagraph, this hybrid format between photo and video. We will talk about its major role in boosting storytelling and its impact on social networks through the example of the TAG Heuer brand.

Visuals occupy an important place in the brand communication strategy on social networks. Why ? Simply because the human being is naturally oriented “visual”. We can advance several figures to explain it: at least 50% of our brain capacity is monopolized by visual treatments. 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes. We need 1/10 of a second to understand a visual scene. Visual content is analyzed 60,000 times faster than text content by the human brain. The brands have understood it well … Indeed, they use many visual formats, we think necessarily photos and videos, whether they are ephemeral or not, but also to infographics, emojis, gifs or even experiences in Reality Virtual. These are very different formats that brands use to achieve their goals visually.


The Cinemagraph, a hybrid format, close to the gif

The gif is a format that we all know, it is one of the most used on the web and social networks. Brands have also looked at this format by appropriating it. For example, AccorHotels has created its own gifs to interact in a personalized way with users on social networks. These are offbeat content that illustrate different emotions and allow to engage in more authentic exchanges with the brand. The Cinemagraph is a “living photo”, a type of format close to the gif, or more exactly a still image or a video of which one of the elements is animated in a repetitive way.

Technically, the “image” is composed of two layers: the first one, on the surface for the photo extracted from the video which turns in loop on the second just below. To make the movement appear, simply delete the part of the image you wish to animate. In fact, Cinemagraph is a hybrid format between photo and video, which isolates part of the image to animate it. The result is interesting on several levels but especially by its fresh and subtle side. It intrigues the eyes without distracting users and users of social networks. It is the ideal compromise between still and animated GIFs very present on social networks at the moment.

The Cinemagraph, an ideal format for StoryTelling

We already talked about it two years ago on the Journal du Net, Brand Content is a pillar of digital communication. To exist on social networks, brands must generate interactions and StoryTelling, ie telling stories to capture the public’s attention, helps achieve this goal. Through the stories they tell, especially on Instagram, brands can communicate about products but also about values ​​or their environment.

Many content formats can be used by brands to create emotion, so today we are interested in Cinemagraph. It helps to focus the attention of users on a particular message or product. With it, Internet users are focused on the message that brands want to pass. It serves to optimize the retention of information and also brings an immersive side to a photo. By offering lively and original content, Cinemagraph catches the eye on a simple detail, which is ideal for highlighting the quality of a product and improving the click-through rate. Brands that rely on the originality of their content significantly improve their StoryTelling.

The Cinemagraph, a format that appeals to social networks

On social networks, brands have an interest in choosing original formats to stand out and engage consumers. Cinemagraph allows brands, for example, to enhance the quality of products, the texture of materials, the brilliance of glossy surfaces, and so on. Take the case of a brand to illustrate this: TAG Heuer. The Swiss watchmaker is among the most active luxury brands on social networks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram according to a recent study by Talkwalker, a tool specialized in monitoring and analysis. The study looked at the luxury sector and the communication of 40 major brands such as Dior, Ferrari and Dolce & Gabbana were analyzed.

These luxury brands communicate on all three networks, publish several times a day and generate a lot of commitment but they should focus on Instagram for the dissemination of images, Facebook and Twitter for video broadcasting. This is in any case what emerges from this Talkwalker study. Accompanied for 3 years by the agency WNP 909, TAG Heuer communicates on all three platforms by leveraging original formats such as Cinemagraph to highlight its products: here the latest connected watch Modular 45.

This Cinemagraph creates an analogy of meaning between the weather presented in the dial and the clouds in the sky reflected on the car. Used to illustrate a feature, in this case the weather app of the watch, this format is also ideal for creating emotions and evoking sensations.