What Everyone Ought To Know About GIF ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (GEO)

What Everyone Ought To Know About GIF ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (GEO)

GIFs are insanely popular and are an extremely valuable marketing channel. If used effectively, GIF content has the potential to increase engagement on a particular post or piece of content.

Let's face it,  we live in a world obsessed with digital communication. The latest trend to take over the digital marketing era is GIFs.

GIF, an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, was introduced in 1987 by Steve Wilhite. But, animated GIFs hadn't made an appearance until 1995, when Netscape Navigator 2.0 added an application extension to enable looping. 

To this day,  GIFs are regarded as the oldest image format. Which is still commonly used due to its simple and widespread support on the Internet.

While originally used as banner ads they are now a way to send soundless messages in a matter of seconds.

With the rise in popularity, companies like GIPHY and Tenor are taking advantage of them while using a searchable database like Google. 

GIPHY is one of the largest search databases and search engines for GIFs. And the second largest after Google. It serves over 10 billion GIFs a day through social media and messaging apps.   

Another popular GIF search engine is Tenor, acquired by Google in March of 2018.

Like traditional search engines, algorithms decide which content to rank the highest on the search results. The more optimized your content the higher the chances to win 7 billion daily impressions.

Consumer brands need to start taking advantage of this opportunity in order to increase high quality engaging "views" while driving down your CPMs (cost-per-thousand-impressions) .

Now is the time to implement GIFs in your marketing strategy as they continue to grow and evolve over time.

1. What is a GIF?

A series of animated images and videos to convey messages in a short amount of time. In this article, you'll learn everything about GIFs and how it can boost your engagement.

2. How Do You Use GIFs?

Before starting, it's important to understand the different search engines available.

GIPHY and Tenor are some of the most popular channels. With their own web and keyboard integrations and algorithms.

GIPHY's API is simple and you can implement it in a number of ways. Creating and uploading your own GIFs, mapping trending memes, translation and so on. It's a powerful tool in building GIF expressions for a wide range of services.

Tenor previously known as Riffsy is a popular mobile keyboard. Whatever the app, maybe users can easily share and search for GIFs. It also provides an SDK  that allows third-party developers to add GIFs in their own apps.

Because of its integration Tenor has more than 300 million monthly users and over 12 billion daily searches.  It is also compatible with a wide range of social media and messaging apps, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Apple's iMessage, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.

3. Why Should You Use GIFs?

Today, GIFS are more popular than ever. Especially with the adoption of high-speed internet, increasing the use of mobile devices and messaging apps. As well as the widespread meme culture.

As more and more consumers incorporate them in their daily conversations, it's no wonder why brands are looking to monetize this marketing medium.

Before the rise of online video, GIFs had a unique ability to compress information that was easily shareable compared to text and still images. The most common are reaction GIFs. Namely, the ones that express a single emotion. Whether it's hunger, sadness, joy, excitement or love you can easily find it.  

Since most GIFs feature movies, tv shows, and famous people, it uses a number of pop culture references that are often attached to a specific identity. Therefore, the GIFs you choose indicate your beliefs and interests.


Like SEO,  the end goal of a search engine is to provide user experience by producing the best answer to their queries in a short span of time. GEO works similarly, it optimizes your content to organically rank higher on GIF search engines.

Suppose a user searches for a specific keyword,  a feed of GIFs appears attributed either by the search engines algorithm or the creator. 

But just like SEO, it also requires keywords, content planning, and implementation. 

Here are a few practices to consider:

  • Keyword Research: Look for keywords that have low competition and are high ranking. 
  • Content Planning: Content that creates value for your audience.
  • Implementation: Upload your GIFs by tagging relevant keywords.

a. Keyword Research 

Keyword Research involves researching various search terms, topics, and ideas, as well as, understanding the resources and difficulty required to rank for those terms. GIFs work similarly.

So, before you go ahead and decide to promote your brand it's important to research the relevant keywords. Tagging your GIFs with branded keywords is crucial in order to rank and for your brand to be seen by your target audience.

Remember, the purpose of your campaign and the goals that the GIFs will serve. What are the keywords that describe your brand?

Tenor Insight Tool can help you to find the most popular search terms and can also help build your content around those keywords. The more specific they are the higher the chance to rank. For instance, if you run a cafe it's unlikely for you to rank high on the keyword "coffee" since it's a competitive world.

However, you can try to rank for a less competitive keyword such as "coffee mug". In turn, increasing your chances to show up in the search results and improving your visibility.

b. Content Creation

Once you've listed down the keywords you want to rank for, you can then create content around those terms.  

A good GEO practice is using specific long-tail keywords to ensure your content shows up in the search results.

Using the cafe example, you could try to rank on the word "coffee" but it's a highly competitive keyword. However, a long-tail word like "I love coffee" will give you a better opportunity to rank.

Also, unlike traditional search engines there are other factors involved in analyzing your GIF. For instance, Giphy leverages Google Cloud Vision (GCV) API to better understand image and text content. 

In time, these algorithms have learnt to recognize reactions, emotions and objects. This reason alone makes it important to optimize your GIF content  with relevant keywords.

c. Implementation 

Now that you've created your GIFs you'll need to upload them. During this stage, make sure to tag each one of them with your target keywords.

Here's where you'll use the list of keywords that resonate with your brand.  There is no limit to the number of tags you can use but, according to the algorithm, the ideal number is 10.

When you upload your GIFs, first start with the most desired tags. So that the search engine can crawl your content to attribute the most relevant keyword to your GIFs.

Based on the tags given the algorithm will then test to see how it performs in the search results. Whether it's getting enough views, shares and if the keywords are appropriate. Then the search engine will decide to rank your GIFs.

5. The Benefits of using GIF Engine Optimization

GIFs are highly valuable when it comes to marketing.  Unlike non-digital and digital ads they are easier to communicate than words and offer an uninterrupted experience.

When you are using them in your marketing strategy, you need to remember to have fun. Humor is a great tool to connect and engage with your audience. It allows you to promote your brand in the most authentic way.

Furthermore, GIFs are evergreen content. Search engines like GIPHY allow you to see your view count. This type of metric helps you to understand which one’s are performing and the  content to create for your next campaign.

Since they are repeatedly shared, your views will continue to rise. In turn, gradually driving down your CPM ( cost- per - impression ).

For instance, you spent $10,000 on your GIF and it generated 10 million impressions then your CPM would cost $1.

This is why GIFs have the best value and why it's important to implement them in your next marketing strategy.


GIFs play an important part in our digital culture and can be extremely lucrative for brands who are looking to increase their engagement and brand awareness. 

With the right content, you can get your brand in front of millions of people daily, while gaining billions of impressions and positive customer experience.

How are you going to experiment with GIFs in your next campaign? Let us know.

Avi Contractor is a certified freelance Content Marketer and Graphic Designer who loves designing, creating relevant content that drives action. She’s also a dog lady, food enthusiast, and a bookworm.

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