Where did GIFs come from?

The GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) was invented by Steve Wilhite in 1987 and has been gaining popularity among social media users in recent years. VaynerMedia’s SVP of Entertainment, Kim Garcia speaking to Adweek described GIFs as “a form of video” that can allow users to “recap a show” or “tease a show out by capturing a small moment that will drive interest.” While this is great information for brands to utilize among their marketing teams to promote their products, it’s also useful for them in a different way. What if a brand’s product containing its logo is within the GIF?

GIFs are predominantly used as an alternative way for social media users to articulate or convey their reactions to posts or messages they see or receive. This is not only useful in order for brands to be able to see what sorts of reactions they are churning out in GIF form but also to determine whether or not their brand is being used within the reaction GIF. They are also used independently of an original post or message, which is important for brands to note if they want to be aware of the contexts in which their brands are being talked about. In addition, they are often used within various forms of online content, such as blog-posts and articles. Sports-related GIFs are also popular, which would mean brand sponsors are likely to feature a lot.

With the introduction of GIF search engines, such as Giphy, their usage has been increasing. Giphy has 150 million unique monthly visitors and currently, 80% of their GIFs are branded, including deals with various companies and shows, such as the Oscars. What this means is that brands are evidently aware of this. But what they might not be aware of is how they can actually monitor the success or failure of these deals. The answer could lie in Artificial Intelligence, specifically, logo recognition.

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The rise of the GIF

Since Facebook recently introduced a GIF comment button to mark the 30th anniversary of the GIF format, it’s safe to assume that the use of GIFs will only be on the rise. It is currently only available for comments, but the social media platform may be set to introduce it for News Feed posts in the future. This is important news for brands in terms of Social Media Monitoring and analysis. Messaging apps are also becoming popular platforms for GIF usage. According to Facebook, almost 13 billion GIFs were sent on Messenger in 2016. However, brands are currently unable to track GIFs in messaging apps.

Twitter is another platform that recently recognized the power of GIFs. They introduced GIF search in February 2016 in response to their findings that in 2015, their users shared over 100 million GIFs on the platform.

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Which GIFs are associated with which brands?

Tenor, the creator of GIF keyboard, pulled search data on four big marketers for Adweek: Domino’s, Netflix, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks. The findings included the following: Caffeine lovers search for “Good morning” 2.1 million times per month before using a Starbucks-branded GIF. 8 million searches for “goodnight” and 900,000 for “hangover” are connected to Domino’s. Netflix fans search for “sad” 6 million times per month which results in finding GIFs featuring the site’s shows and characters. And finally, people search for “dance” 12.9 million times before clicking on GIFs related to Coca-Cola.

This is important data for these brands to be aware of as they could be missing out on a whole new target audience. The fact that these searches are in the millions suggests that brands should be analyzing all visual formats, not just images and videos. GIFs have the potential to be a lot more useful to brands than they may seem. They’re not just an easy way for us to express our reaction to something we’ve seen online.

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GIFs and logo recognition

While search terms and keywords are great for brands to monitor in order to find out who is sharing GIFs related to their brand and in what context, what happens when the search term isn’t so obvious? Or what if the social media user doesn’t use a search term at all? And in addition, what happens after the GIF is posted and what are these users actually saying about the brand within the GIF? The only way to find out this information is through utilizing a logo recognition tool within a Social Media Monitoring platform that allows for detecting logos, SKUs, and brands within GIFs.

GIFs are clearly becoming more and more important for brands. But do brands really need to be paying attention to them? Well, visual monitoring isn’t just about images; it’s about all visuals, which would, therefore, include videos and GIFs. So brands need to be able to monitor all visual formats in order to obtain true and accurate insights into their social media presence. Brands appearing in GIFs and videos, as well as images, on social media means that logo detection services need to expand their offering. Otherwise, brands will be left in the dark.

What logo recognition technology can offer is a way for brands to detect and analyze visual data in which their logo appears. It’s clear that visuals are increasingly being used as an efficient means of online communication, and GIFs are no exception. Social Media Monitoring and Social Listening companies need to be aware of this if they want to provide their brands with 100% accuracy. Logo recognition technology offers them the ability to bridge the gap between the textual and the visual, resulting in more rounded insights for their customers. A logo recognition tool should be part of any Social Media Monitoring offering in order to supply brands with exactly that. To find out more, why not talk to a member of the LogoGrab team?