Giphy, also known as GIPHY, is an online database and search engine that allows users to search for and share short looping videos with no sound. These short looping videos resemble animated GIF files.
The idea for the business came when founders Alex Chung and Jace Cooke were discussing the rising trend in visual communication over breakfast. They knew that visual communication was growing in popularity, but how could they effectively execute it? Their dream became reality when they launched Giphy in February 2013. According to Chung, Giphy attracted around a million users during its first week and the figure leveled out to 300,000.
Chung and Cooke’s efforts ultimately paid off: Facebook acquired Giphy for a reported $400 million on May 15, 2020.
A Brief Lesson in Giphy History
Why was Giphy created? Founders Alex Chung and Jace Cooke wanted to create a visual search engine database of GIFs that could be used in place of words to express feelings. Once they had a good idea of what they wanted to do, they compiled a database of around 15,000 GIFs and created the Giphy website. The database and the number of users have grown significantly, with as many as 700 million users accessing more than 10 billion GIFs per day as of May 2020.
Users search for a GIF using a keyword and then choose from among the resulting images. They can copy and paste the image into a text message or share it on social media.
Giphy was designed to function solely as a search engine for GIFs. Giphy features what Chung and Cooke call "conversational search.” Users are able to find relatable content through a search box found in their messaging applications to describe exactly how they are feeling.
Similar to the popularity of emojis, GIFs in social expression are designed to express whatever somebody is feeling in that present moment. GIFs are considered to be more expressive and dynamic than an emoji: you don’t have to guess what the other person is trying to tell you.
Many of the GIFs that appear through text messages and social media are soundless, looped video clips of a character or scene from a TV show or movie. This makes it relatable to the receiver.
How to Use Giphy to Grow Your Brand
If you want to leverage Giphy to your advantage and garner more brand awareness, here’s what you need to know:
- Consider what’s trending now. What GIFs are popular? When searching a topic related to your brand, what GIFs stand out the most? This will motivate you to take action and make/download GIFs your audience can relate to. That’s the ultimate goal of GIF marketing.
- See what has demand and what has low competition. There are a lot of topics on Giphy that have very low competition. Why is that? Many marketers have not completely taken advantage of the amazing benefits Giphy has to offer. When it comes to strategy, GIFs have the potential to be evergreen. They will always work. But it’s important to see what GIFs on Giphy are trending and what’s not.
- Choose keywords correctly. If you’re making a GIF and not using the right keywords, you risk people not finding your GIFs. You want your target audience to find your life-changing GIFs, GIFs that tell your story, and GIFs that are fun and interactive. Giphy is a great platform to get started with that.