$400 million. This is how much Facebook reportedly spend for acquiring Giphy, one of the most popular GIF databases around the web these days, a platform that has more than half a billion active users every day, that was able to maximize its reach by offering API integration to a range of websites including Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and, the aforementioned Facebook.
What is Giphy and why is Giphy important to Facebook?
Well, I am going to answer these questions in a minute but first of all, we’re going to take it one step at a time.
What is Giphy?
Let’s start with the obvious. Giphy is not a media platform or a social network. Far from that. Instead, the app is easy to integrate into such platforms by being merely a search engine that allows its users to search and find Gifs online to share and browse this type of content.
The company was founded in 2013 by Jace Cooke and Alex Chung and since then, it has continuously grown into a powerful and immensely popular search engine and database for animated Gifs.
Today, the platform has more than 700 million active users who share more than 10 billion pieces every day which makes it one of the most popular services of its kind.
Why is Giphy special?
As time passes, people change. There’s a constant change in habits, needs, and interaction but something has never changed over the past 3 decades: visual storytelling..
While Gifs are available since the dawn of the Internet and some specialists assumed that they will die of natural causes once the speed of the Internet will not be a problem anymore, they continued to thrive and propagate with the speed of light.
They migrated from email inboxes to social media platforms and now, more than ever, they become part of our lives as important types of content that is easy to consume, share, understand, create, and so on.
What makes Giphy special is the fact that it facilitates access to animated .gifs through social media and other similar platforms thus allowing its users to find what they want or to share what they have and consider worthy of sharing.
Why is Giphy Important for Facebook?
As I have already mentioned, Giphy is a big platform with immense popularity. With over 11 million hours of viewed content daily, I couldn’t have been ignored by major players already on the market. Facebook is such a major player and, considering they own the social media platform and Instagram as well, acquiring Giphy was the logical step to undertake in order to get control over this type of media content. Besides that, Giphy is already fully integrated with Facebook and Instagram communities.
“A lot of people in our community already know and love GIPHY. In fact, 50% of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, half of that from Instagram alone” said Vishal Shah, VP of Product at Facebook. “By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct. Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue. Together, we can make it easier for anyone to create and share their work with the world”, he added.
Why is this huge for Facebook?
There is a difference between being important and being huge. We’ve already established the importance of this acquisition and now, let’s talk a little bit about why this transaction may prove to be huge for Facebook.
First, we need to consider the fact that Facebook did not just buy another platform for an impressive sum. They’ve acquired a media content company with millions of users and a huge database of amateur and branded Gifs. The social media giant had already a monopoly over the social media content and now, they have expanded their reach even more. Just think about the amount of data they manage today on their platforms.
Secondly, there’s yet another thing to consider here. Access to content from your own backyard is not everything that matters. It matters a lot how you get that access and, in this case, Facebook gets inside Giphy and everything that makes it work.
This may not be a piece of relevant news for the regular user but for marketers, it may be huge. Facebook is now able to integrate its analytical ecosystem inside Giphy and share with marketers statistical data on this type of content, way better than they were able to do it before. The marketer, therefore, will be able to analyze how different types of Gifs perform better, on what devices they are being accessed the most, and in what contexts which are all essential information for building and maintaining a marketing strategy.
Moreover, nowadays, when TikTok is on the rise, the battle between platforms is tighter than ever. And Facebook did their first move and won the battle for acquiring the means to manage one of the most popular types of multimedia content for young and not so young generations as well.
“I think GIFs are such a part of the language of the web today, and particularly a part of the language of messaging, that I think that’s going to continue. I would expect it’s going to be broadly available everywhere. And I would hope so” said John Borthwick, one of the Giphy’s first investors.
If Facebook chooses to continue using Giphy at its full potential, and I don’t imagine they’ll do otherwise, as John Bothwick said, an immense part of today’s web language will be fully integrated into two of the most popular social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram.
This may also be the beginning of seeing more ads based on Gifs, a new playground for advertising and media creators that use social media for marketing. The possibilities are limitless. Imagine how would it be like to search for a term, get a list of Gifs and be able to pay for your Gif to come first, just like Google does with the search queries. As a marketer, you could strategize by optimizing Gifs to save the user intent or, pay for more visibility.
What brands are using Giphy?
Are Gifs good for marketing? Well, if you consider the fact that people consume a lot of this type of content, the answer is Yes.
In fact, a lot of brands are already (still) using Gifs and consequently, Giphy, in order to create content for their campaigns. NBA did it, Netflix as well, not to mention Converse who promote their products on social media channels and Giphy as well, with great success among users. Even the ‘Academy” took their share when they promoted the latest Oscars Gala (Academy Awards), one of the most viewed events around the world.
Marketers who use social media to create lucrative strategies or to enhance their already existing strategies are already accustomed to using multiple platforms and services in order to create, distribute, and evaluate their work.
Migration from one platform to another is never easy but when it comes to merging services, content, and data, professionals are rather positive about it. When Instagram was acquired by Facebook it eased marketers’ access to an already popular advertising and campaign management system which was immediately incorporated into Instagram.
I expect the same thing will happen with Giphy.