Gifs in Digital Marketing

Gifs in Digital Marketing

One of the best South by Southwest sessions we attended this year was led by Alex Chung, the founder of Giphy. In addition to making each point with an entertaining and engaging GIF, he shared some pretty compelling statistics. For instance, did you know Americans already spend over 10 hours per day on their screens? Online video accounts for 74% of all online traffic with 55% of people watching videos online every day.

This points us towards one central idea: time is scarce, and we may be nearing the point of maxing out on the amount of time users are engaging with online content. As Alex pointed out, you can begin to look at content similarly to how we understand the real estate industry. Publishers want to be in the middle of it all and get the most eyeballs, but it begins to get incredibly expensive. Competing with Netflix and YouTube is really pretty tough as this is where users are spending a huge amount of their time. The space that Giphy exists in is the growing and very entertaining usage of mirco-content via GIFs. Giphy is the largest online database of GIFs.

What are GIFs

It would take a lot of time to explain exactly what GIFs are and not very much time to show, so here’s an example:

For more, just head over to and explore!

Right now, GIFs are most used in text and social media platforms amongst friends and family. They’re funny. They add a great deal of emotion, humor and entertainment to what may have otherwise been a bit on the dry side. They’re able to convey a point that words may not. If pictures are worth 1,000 words, GIFs are worth FAR more.

If you need more convincing, did you know that on GIPHY alone:

  • 5 billion GIFs are served daily
  • 300 million users per day
  • 8 million total hours watched

By some estimates, this is equal to 10% of search engine usage! What we’re most interested in at Statesman Media is how this will affect digital marketing. Alex Chung suggested that GIFs could even surpass traditional search engine usage! (Don’t worry, while we think GIFs are going to change the landscape, search engine marketing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.)

How are Brands Using GIFs

Some brands are actually creating GIFs. The point here, like most online videos, is to go viral. These companies do a great job of carrying their brand to a bite-sized medium that users may want to use in their own writing.



Coca Cola









Advertising Opportunities in GIFs

A great starting point is using GIFs in your current marketing message if it makes sense. But you have to be careful that it doesn’t become too casual. Always make sure the GIFs you share are:

  • Appropriate
  • Professional
  • Brand and product-relevant

Existing GIFs are easy to embed to a site through databses like Giphy. I just found them and used the embed code. Sharing socially is even easier!

Another great idea is creating some of your own GIFs! With a good amount of GIFs, you can even create your own channel on publishers like Giphy. This can be expensive as you definitely want to make sure you’re on-point with your brand and it’s professionally done. The three rules above still definitely apply! Remember you can have fun with this medium, but be brand-safe.