“A picture is worth 1,000 words. An average GIF is 60 frames. That’s 60,000 words.” A statement well said by the Giphy team, Brad Zeff, Chief Content Officer and General Counsel of Giphy and Samantha Scharff, the CEO of Giphy Studios.
GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) have seen incredible growth over the past 12-18 months alone. With over 95 million users, GIFs have become a means of communication that lives at our very fingertips in nearly every form of digital conversation, including Facebook Messenger, Slack, Gmail, and even Outlook. At Anvil we are probably a little too fond of Slack’s integration with Giphy.
GIFs have been around what seems like forever, but how come it has taken brands this long to harness the power of the seemingly simple short-form looping video?
Giphy Studios is attempting to redefine our visual communication and cultural language by creating content that lives beyond its initial shelf life, expanding brand relevancy. They are teaming up with large brands and agencies for what they call building a “branded visual vocabulary.”
One of my favorite takeaways from Giphy’s track at Social Media Week LA was the statement of “Giphy is trying to animate the world, by redefining search.”
In the early days, Giphy hacked a Twitter card to get GIFs inside the platform. The company needed to be where the conversation was happening. Now as marketers, we can’t imagine the platform without it. How else would we be able to participate in our favorite Twitter chats after all?
Rethinking the storytelling process
“We create and share moments in the moment as things are happening,” Scharff said at Social Media Week LA, which Anvil Media attended.
Giphy Studios is the intersection between art, communication, and culture. They have a huge network of over 700 GIF artists making content and share art with the entire world. They are also partners with TV networks, film companies, music labels, celebrities, influencers, brands, and more.
“We make GIFs as a way to communicate. We don’t need words. GIFs autoplay everywhere, so when we make a GIF, everyone sees it instantly.”
Images don’t convey enough information and videos are too long, but GIFs get the entire message across in seconds. That’s why GIFs are the atomic unit of human expression, emotion, information, and the perfect form of visual compression. As Zeff puts it, “What we have is an actual and visual vocabulary to describe the human condition.”
Agencies are having to step up their game. While some outsource the work to artists, designers or even Giphy or Tumblr, others are amping up their in-house efforts and experimenting. We aren’t afraid to experiment on our own channels or on our clients- take our recent #GIFDANCEOFF, for example. Round two coming soon!
— Pascal Inderabudhi (@pasc) May 6, 2016
When thinking about a GIF strategy, focus on the brand first and the video content second. Let it be natural and don’t be afraid to experiment. Pull out those old YouTube videos and chop it up. It’s amazing to see what works when you focus on the message and not on over-styled video production each and every time.
“Nostalgia and making custom content that doesn’t feel like ads also work very well,” said Scharff.
The possibilities are endless, and Anvil recommends considering the use of Giphy due to the effort surrounding surrounding the creation, why not amplify looped video with paid ads? Now let’s go break the internet!