GIFs Are Actually Declining in Popularity

By Jamie Condliffe on at

It feels like the GIF has had a huge resurgence of recent time. People are making more wonderful animations than ever, GIF was officially the Word of 2012, and in December there was even a GIF Fest in Miami. But it turns out GIF use is actually in decline.

Web Technology Services has been poking its nose around to find out about image use across the internet. But it's bad news for the GIF: for the first time ever, the PNG has overtaken it in terms of ubiquity. The PNG is now used on 62.4 percent of all websites, compared to the GIF which is used on 62.3 percent. One year ago, the GIF was leading the race by a clear 15 percent.

So why the shift? Web Technology Surveys explains:

[I]t's the technical superiority that now convinces webmasters to choose PNG over GIF. PNG results in smaller files most of the time, it supports a much wider range of colour depths and transparency options. The only feature where GIF still shines is its support for animation. However, most people find that dancing icons on a website make it look like it hasn't been redesigned in the last 15 years. Animation is mostly used for ads nowadays, and even there, animated GIF's would be considered the poor man's alternative to Flash.

The GIF was was first introduced by CompuServe in 1987, which means the file format is now over 25 years old. Can it see through another 25? [Web Technology Surveys]