Instagram & Giphy Combine For Improved Story Experience
Facebook announced on Friday that it is buying the popular GIF-making and sharing website Giphy for a reported price of $400 million.
The deal will see Giphy integrating with Instagram, making its vast GIF library easier to crawl and navigate, injecting even more vava-voom into Instagram Stories and Direct Messages for both brands and users.
Vishal Shah, Instagram VP of Product
“GIPHY, a leader in visual expression and creation, is joining the Facebook company today as part of the Instagram team. GIPHY makes everyday conversations more entertaining, and so we plan to further integrate their GIF library into Instagram and our other apps so that people can find just the right way to express themselves.
By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct.”
Giphy and Facebook are already closely linked. According to Facebook, 50% of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, and half of that from Instagram alone.
Given its close working relationship and the fact that Giphy’s content is supposedly viewed by 700 million people daily, it is not hard to see the appeal.
Maximising GIFs Outside Of Social Media
While Giphy, and perhaps GIFs in general, have become synonymous with social media and community management in recent times, they are incredibly versatile and useful beyond.
Outside of messaging and community management, GIFs can also work well within email, web design and online advertising.
According to Alex Chung, CEO and co-founder of Giphy, the average GIF contains 60 frames and is capable of conveying 60,000 words.
So, while not probably as persuasive as video, they can work better than static images.
Facebook introdcued the ability to run GIFs in place of video for video campaigns in 2017.
Within email GIFs and CSS animations are the only way to really add moving images, given the poor video support across the most popular email clients.
For email, an animated GIF tells a story, providing a concise way to communicate without having to bombard people with reams of copy.
Animated GIF support is pretty much universal across the major email clients, except Outlook where there can be issues. In Outlook, only the first frame displays, which means that, if your animation contains any vital information, it has to feature on the first frame or risk being lost.
In general, the smaller your GIF file size is, the faster it loads on landing pages or emails, and the shorter your load times, the better the experience. And hopefully, more clicks/conversions.
Files around 1MB should load nice and fast, especially on mobile devices.
When creating GIFs, they can be text-only, video or stop-motion. Ideally, to keep them from being too large and loading slowly, it is a delicate balancing act between design and file sizing.
For example, if your animation involves transitions, stick to “cuts” over “fades.” Whereas cuts jump right from one visual to the next, fades take their time to deliver the same message. Fades involve more frames, more colours, and thus come with larger file sizes.
Can Giphy Make Facebook Cool Again?
Facebook’s struggles to maintain younger audience demographics are well documented.
A multitude of independent studies suggests that younger social media users favour YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram over Big Blue.
Following TikTok’s lockdown surge, you can probably also add that to the growing list.
To try and win back the hearts and minds of the cool kids, Facebook has been dabbling for some time (unsuccessfully) with different offerings. At the start of 2019, Techcrunch picked up a lead for a new feed called LOL within Facebook centred on wacky memes aimed at younger users.
“Facebook has spent months building LOL, a special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips. It’s divided into categories like “For You,” “Animals,” “Fails,” “Pranks” and more with content pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook.”
The feature eventually got canned in July last year; however, the appetite for reengaging apathetic younger users remained.
“Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that it will cease development in LOL as it prioritises building other teen-focused features. A Facebook spokesperson provided this statement: “The Youth team has restructured in order to match top business priorities, including increasing our investment in Messenger Kids.”
For Facebook, Giphy offers a good base to build from for younger users, given the strength of its brand and its quirky positioning. Either only as a feature, which has been suggested, or as an expanded offering in its own right.
Following the acquisition, Facebook intends to maintain the Giphy brand. Under its new ownership, Giphy will live on as part of the Instagram team.