This is something I never thought I would see…. Google seems to be testing / allowing animated GIFs to be displayed in the search results after I noticed this eye catching example in the search results today. [Apologies for what I am sure is a horribly large image size due to the animation.] Click through to see full-sized version.
See how your eye is instantly drawn to that image in the knowledge graph part of the search results? The animation actually is a bit faster on the search results page, but I was limited on trying to catch it all while screen capturing the entire page of search results above the fold.
The animated GIF is displayed for the most recent post Google+ post made by a company with a knowledge graph in the search results. Search for the company or brand name and your eye is instantly drawn to the animated GIF in the lower right… especially since everyone is so used to there never being anything that moves in those search results.
What seems to be prompting this animation, since plenty of people post animated GIFs to Google+ and they never seemed to have ended up on the search results page, is that Google seems to be creating the animated GIF based off the video, and somehow it is ending up displayed as an animated thumbnail into the search knowledge graph.
When you click on the image, it takes you to Home Depot’s Google+ page, which has a hybrid of an animated GIF with the video play arrow on it. When you click the image from this post on their Google+ page, it clicks through to a video.
A pretty interesting change…. and I am sure like we saw in the case of the emojis in the Google search results titles, we will see this quickly used and abused, as it is extremely eye catching.
I will honestly be shocked if this change stays, because of the potential for it to be abused. But definitely eye catching, I am sure the CTR on that was phenomenal.
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