Since its introduction, GIF images have become a popular form of self-expression on social media messaging platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and others. As an alternative to the acronym “LOL” for “laughing out loud,” a user might share a GIF video clip of someone laughing wildly.
Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF for short, was developed by CompuServe in 1987 and quickly became the standard for exchanging digital bitmap images online.
Giphy, a firm with a huge library of GIFs that attracts tens of millions of users per month, is now making GIFs mainstream. Giphy is poised to replace YouTube as the most valuable content platform as GIFs become increasingly popular among social media users and advertisers.
In May of 2020, Facebook (then known as Meta Inc.) paid an estimated $400 million to acquire Giphy, with plans to integrate the service into Instagram and Messenger.
But because of possible antitrust concerns, the two companies have been told to “run as distinct entities” until the merger is reviewed.
Process Behind Giphy
Social GIF use is a natural extension of the widespread use of emoji symbols, which have become shorthand for a wide range of emotions. Since GIFs are often repeated video snippets of a character or scene from a TV show or movie, they can be far more expressive and dynamic than an emoji does.
Alex Chung and Jace Cooke, who wanted an alternative to using words to describe emotions online, developed Giphy in 2013.
There may be as many as 700 million users by May of 2020, each of whom may be accessing more than 10 billion GIFs per day, thanks to the massive growth of both the database and the number of users.
In order to find a GIF, users enter a keyword into a search bar and then select one of the results. They might send it by text or post it online after copying and pasting the image. As of late, Giphy has released a mobile version for use on portable devices like smartphones and tablets.
One more area that Giphy has expanded is in the realm of content production. The Giphy website, for instance, provides artists with tools to make stunning GIFs with animations or video material, making it possible for people and organisations to make their own GIFs. You can check out artists’ works in the online gallery.
Users can create their own GIFs with video captured with their smartphone cameras by downloading the Giphy CAM app.
To make a GIF, users simply need to submit their video to the site, where they will have access to Giphy’s desktop tools, and from there, they can easily share their work with the world. In 2015, Giphy collaborated with Disney to provide a filter to the desktop tools that makes Star Wars ships move around in a video in order to promote the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.
Although no payment was made for that agreement, it does shed light on how Giphy plans to make money in the future.
Profitability of Giphy
Given that Giphy neither charges users to access its apps nor employs an advertising model, the company has made zero revenues as of yet. The initial $150 million in venture capital funding has been sufficient to sustain operations since the company’s launch. Giphy was privately valued at $600 million in 2020, when it was acquired by Meta.
The company’s CEO told Digital Trends that “the future is about Giphy integrating short-form entertainment into messaging” in an interview published January 2019. Giphy, which receives 700 million unique users every day, wants to grow by adding new features and platforms, such as a video platform.
As a result of its search functionality and comprehensive social integration, Giphy could be a promising potential for content and advertising partners.