Moving Pictures: What Are Cinemagraphs And How To Use Them For Social Media Marketing

You’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and are suddenly stopped by something uncanny. It’s a cinemagraph! 

A cousin to the GIF, cinemagraphs are a clever mix of still image and video to create something visually unique.  

“Cinemagraphs are dazzling. They capture and hold our attention with their alluring quality. Not quite a photo, not quite a video, they trick the mind into thinking it’s seeing something magical.” – Flixel

Cinemagraph from Coca-Cola Posted On Bold Content Video 

Since many of the top brands are using cinemagraphs in everything from their social media stories to their email marketing, perhaps it’s time you get in on the action!

How To Use Them For Social Media Marketing 

Like most video on social media, cinemagraphs play automatically. This makes them ideal for social media platforms where your audience don’t have to click play or wait for videos to load. 

Some leading brands using cinemagraphs in their marketing include: 

  • Coca-cola
  • Chanel 
  • Netflix
  • Calvin Klein
  • Nestlé 

& more!

Cinemagraphs get a higher CTR than their still or video counterparts, since they create curiosity in the viewer and are more likely to draw attention. 

“There is a reason we find cinemagraphs so mesmerizing, and it actually has to do with our biology. We live in a world where the consumer is bombarded by thousands of advertisements a day. Banners, posters, videos and photos are constantly popping up in an attempt to grab our attention. We’ve become so accustomed to this that our brains have finely tuned out this incessant, never ending flow of propaganda. This is where cinemagraph images are different, and subtlety is the key to its success.” – Flixel

Since cinemagraphs have not yet oversaturated the market, use them in your content marketing in the place of still images or video. 

What’s The Best Content For Cinemagraphs?

The best cinemagraphs are simple. Their moving elements are stark and distinctive. So it’s best to plan out which elements of your image will be moving beforehand in order to optimize results. 

Beaches, Lakes & Bodies Of Water 

Cinemagraph courtesy of

You’ll notice quickly when researching cinemagraphs that the most popular subject matter is water. 

Moving water is refreshing. Whether it’s a splashing waterfall, a lapping lake or falling rain, incorporate moving or falling water into your cinemagraphs for a clean image that makes the viewer feel revived. 

These can be used to highlight small moments like moisture droplets falling down the side of a cold drink or large scenes like a mighty river. 

Drinks & Liquids Pouring 

Cinemagraph courtesy of

Cinemagraphs are at their best when the moving element of the image interacts with something else that seems to be frozen in time. Think of a hand holding a kettle, with the only movement being the hot water pouring from the spout. 

These cinemagraphs beautifully suspend and intimate moment in time. It quiets the noise of a scene to a single element and forces the viewer to really take in the image. 

These can be used to highlight closeups of food and drink like a simmering pot or dripping ice cream cone. 

Fire & Smoke 

Campfires, sparklers, cigarette smoke and frosty breath, fire and smoke are used in cinemagraphs to communicate excitement, energy and robustness.

Cinemagraphs that use fire or smoke make for a truly unique image. There is also something erie and moody about them that make them impossible to turn away from. 

Use these cinemagraphs to capture lively but fleeting moments in time like a puff of smoke or fireworks. 


Cinemagraphs are relatively easy to make once you have the right tools. Check out Format’s list of The 13 Best Cinemagraph Apps for more on how you can get started making your very own moving stills!

Whether your business sells a physical item or an experience, cinemagraphs are a great way to capture the viewer’s attention. So use these tips the next time you’re planning your social content and let us know how it goes – we’re confident you won’t regret it! 

Are you interested in using cinemagraphs in your social media marketing? Contact us to set up a FREE discovery session with our team today. 


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