Google in the GIF world, why rely on six-second ads to account for billions of dollars?

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Translations . . . boxi  Yu Pengcheng 

Source . . . 《Fastcompany》

Small GIFs also have a vast world. Giphy is known as GIF Google. As long as they want to find a moving map, almost everyone will immediately think of Giphy to find.If a picture wins a thousand words, then the moving figure GIF can be worth a million words. Motion picture has become an indispensable means of communication when socializing online.With 300 million daily users and partnerships with every mainstream media company, GIF's Google feels it can shake up the internet's advertising industry. An article in Fastcompany revealed its plans for us.

In September, on a gentle Sunday evening, several of Giphy's employees gathered at his studio in Los Angeles to watch the Emmys. The place they concentrated was very fashionable and modern, a place used to receive it, and they took over the minimalist black sofas usually reserved for waiting guests, opposite the flat-screen TV wall, which would often play video clips of their services over and over again.

The atmosphere is a bit like being in a dorm, where they sit, their notebooks are on their knees, and La Croix cans are out of reach, but it's just an occasional social event. The Emmy producers arranged a mission for Giphy's guys to "live GIF live" the awards ceremony, producing a few seconds of video loops to activate the online atmosphere and share it. The effect is a dazzling pop culture meta-commentary: the value of the Emmy awards ceremony is released in the form of a number of wonderful moments that can be used to comment on it - and those moments will continue to shine long after the awards ceremony.

By the time host Stephen Colbert opened with a group of hooded dancers kicking high (which could be seen as a tribute to the night's big winner, "The Story of the Woman"), Giphy's team had put a variety of awards-leading animated gifs on their home page to warm up the awards.

Then came the most important and controversial moment of the night: former White House press secretary Sean Spicer suddenly brought his podium to the awards ceremony, "the most audience" for his "famous" (When Trump's inauguration was lukewarm in the media, Spicer replied that it was the largest audience for the presidential inauguration) the terrier was self-deprecating. Giphy's men immediately made the scene a GIF. Giphy's genius is not to copy the video as it is, but to look for flash points in the audience's shocked expressions. They found Anna Chlumsky, the actor in the American drama "Vice President." Her entire body was twisted into an OMG expression - her eyes staring like a lantern, her neck squirting in varied arms, and she stood up from her seat to find a better angle to watch the strange show. Within minutes, the editors uploaded the three-second clip to Giphy. The GIF caught fire almost immediately. A week after the awards ceremony, it had more than 13 million views.

Crazy close-ups of faces, cat clapping, clips of Joey greeting "Hello" with a man's voice, and an animation of President Obama removing the microphone at the White House Correspondents' Dinner - these are Giphy's lingua franca.The four-year-old company has basically popularized a new form of communication. Compared to emojis such as smiley faces, highly concentrated videos not only support more subtle and rich emotions, but the unlimited gIF feature (Which Giphy says adds millions of motion pictures every day) means that choosing the right motion picture is more than just a means of conveying special emotions.

Jeremy Liew, an investor at Giphy and a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said: "If you send a moving picture of "Strong" it doesn't mean anything like a Disney motion picture of you and a 'I love you' to your daughter." This context, emotion superimposed on the text chat platform just make up for the latter's shortcomings. make it more meaningful and powerful. "The result is that"GIF becomes a social currency," Dominic Poynter, director of group strategy at advertising agency Droga5, said: "The ability to use GIFs in a fresh and decent way has become very important. It's like text chatting or taking a selfie. "

Giphy has used this cultural currency to amass a audience of 300 million people, who will visit Giphy every day to see the GiF, up from 100 million in December 2016.These people share more than 2 billion GIFs a day on and on giphy embedded platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Tinder, iMessage, Slack and even Zendesk).

While the numbers are not entirely comparable to other social networks, they could still be the envy of Snapchat (173 million live users) and Twitter, both publicly traded companies, which are estimated to be about 157 million live users. But privately held Giphy is still in an official "growth model," says co-founder and CEO Alex Chung. "

Unlike many digital media executives who only consider revenue models after developing their audiences, Chung, 42, is not only old enough to remember the lessons of the dotcom bubble of the 1990s, but also knows how to do it. Asked how Mr Giphy, who is valued at $600m, should make money, he revealed for the first time: "We have income." We know we can make a profit in a month if we want to. But just as we do with GIF growth, we need to consider achieving revenue growth in an exponential and sustainable way. "He and his 75-plus employees have spent years preparing for the company's long-term growth. The next phase will be on display as they launch advertising products and measurement tools over the next 12 months or so.

When looking at the digital advertising landscape, most people think that The viable future of Facebook- Google's double oligarchy will be unbreakable. But as long as a traditional view is formed, there is often a chance to subvert it. Chung believes Giphy has this potential. "We all know there's something wrong with Internet advertising," he said. "The subtext refers to last year's inaccurate metrics, brand safety issues, and negative comments about weak formats such as banner ads, pop-up ads, and even native ads.

At the same time, he said:Everyone turned to the six-second ad format.YouTube has done it. Facebook is doing it. We've had this format for years. We have all the tools we have. This six-second content is the largest in the world - mobile, desktop or anywhere. "Perhaps most importantly, Giphy has commercials that don't look like ads at all. COO Adam Leibsohn says:"If the content is good, people are willing to use it - to communicate, to have fun, to send notifications." "

"We think of revenues not in the millions or billions of dollars, but billions of dollars. How can you get to the point where you can generate billions of dollars in revenue? This thing has to be subversive. Chung spoke in a calm tone.

Giphy has been renting a house in Hollywood Hills since 2014. Chung asked a friend of a data scientist to analyze all the queries on Giphy and found that "80% of searches are cultural: TV, movies, and celebrities." So he decided to spend two months on the West Coast negotiating content copyright with Los Angeles film studios and television networks. Because Giphy is still small -- with only 20 employees and offices on Manhattan's far west side -- Chung decided that it would be most convenient to get everyone together rather than communicate across time zones.

The house is "not a very good Airbnb" but has a swimming pool and nice views. For employees of a young start-up, it feels like a Star Partner mansion. "We're too young, so we can have a full meeting in that pool," said Brad Zeff, Giphy's chief content officer. "

Chung had previously worked on viacom's music license for seven years - "perhaps the most complex in the media" - so he knew exactly how to appeal to entertainment companies. In exchange for access to shows such as The Simpsons and BigTown Chicks, Giphy will work with television networks and studio marketing teams on their GIF strategy. In other words, Chung's people will help them set up their own pages on Giphy; explain how to make GIFs discoverfaster; and even make their own GIFs by giphy's auto-tag machine for the best moments.

The start-up's strategy is similar to Twitter's early trip to Hollywood to provide thoughtful service to get TV networks, producers and stars to understand its value. Like Twitter at the time, it was a concession without revenue. "Hollywood is a very lazy sexual partner, and as long as it's easy and free, you can do what you want," joked one digital marketer. According to Liew, who is also an early investor in Snapchat, Chung was the first person to connect entertainment to giifs in a way that "opens up the whole history of tv and film that's going to be cut off." Giphy's Los Angeles summer proved so successful that Chung needed to repeat the staff migration in 2015 and 2016 -- changing to a bigger place each time.

With the influx of premium content, even including content injections from players such as Disney and CBS, known for their demands, Giphy began to shift to widedistribution of content. Chung and Leibsohn began carefully planning, "looking to work with social networks to implant Giif buttons." "The first target is Facebook, partly because of its huge reach, but partly because, in Chung's words, "we know that if we could get GIFs on Facebook, it would be different." "

In 2014, Facebook didn't allow GIFs, and said it would never support the format. With a bit of engineering adventure, Giphy allowed GIFs to appear on users' news streams without breaking Facebook's rules, successfully breaking their content into the largest social networks, a format that Facebook officials eventually endorsed. One morning in September, Chung sat with Leibsohn in a darkened conference room at the meatpacking District headquarters, saying in his usual calm tone:"Two years later, we took to the stage of F8 and showed Zuckerberg sending David Marcus a GIF from Giphy. "

Both men studied philosophy at university, and the usual social circles were the same, and because of Wittgenstein's research came together. (Chung said, "We'll go out and play table tennis together,...... as well as discussdeath. It's all based on philosophy. ")

Then there are the other actions. "We let GIF on Twitter," Chung said. No one's done this before. Then the GIF was launched on Slack. No one has ever done this. We keep putting GIFs wherever you might want to use them. Also on Outlook. Our mission has always been to get GIFs to go where no one has been. We will continue to do so. Leibsohn (and vice versa), who often interrupts Chung's thinking, adds: "Especially if the things there are static. We'd say, why didn't that thing move? (It's a company's slogan to get everything moving)

The steady expansion of Giphy's content has helped the company expand at a dizzying rate. "I think of them as GIF Google," says Jonathan Perelman of ICM Partners. Look for GIF and you'll go there. "

Tiffany Vazquez, a senior film editor at Giphy, said in February 2016 that when she saw Conan O'Brien tweet, "I just searched for 'blas's' on Giphy so you could see what my children looklike every night when I got home from work." "When she knew that Giphy had gone mainstream.

"He didn't label us," Vazquez said. This is an important moment. "

Over the next 18 months, Giphy's centrality grew. Dana Flax, HBO's director of digital and social media, said Giphy had evolved into "the master of our digital marketing operations." Now we're going to launch a Giphy that's become the norm for every marketing campaign. "

HBO now has more than 30 Giphy pages, with more than 7,000 GIFs. Not only are the well-known "Game of Thrones" but also stop-and-frisk series such as "The Garry Shandling Show" and "The Comeback," proving how Gifphy can maintain the cultural relevance of old material and potentially introduce it to new audiences. On the eve of the return of "Suppressing Enthusiasm" in October, HBO launched a Giphy page to warm up the new season, and within two weeks, the classic Larry David GIF segment ("Can I apologize for that apology?"). Can I I for apology?" The Lakers accidentally tripped the shark during the game, with more than 30 million views. "It allows us to take out programs that have been out of the air for six years and put them back into search keywords to create opportunities for fans to use this content when communicating with each other," Flax said. We see GIFs as having become their own form of digital communication, and as brands we want to make sure that our series and characters are part of the shorthand that these younger generations use with each other. "

Giphy did his best to complement this effort by building an extensive database of popular content. Before the fourth season of "Big Town Girl" aired, Giphy's editorial team edited almost every highlight of the show's previous seasons to the user. Murphy did the same thing for the Oscars, working with the Academy of Motion Picture arts and Sciences to produce many GIFs, dating back to 1937.

Even entertainment companies that don't have an official relationship with Giphy rely on the service to interact with fans. Fans of Bravo's Real Housewives are keen to make Giif sizzling their favorite character's white eyes and poisonous tongue. In fact, all of Bravo's content on Giphy is user-generated, says Adam Zeller, the VP of social media at Bravo and Oxygen Media, which she attributes to the company's ability to provide fans with tools such as Giphy cameras and keyboards to make their own content. Zeller says:"We Bravo likes to say a thousand words, and Giif can be worth a million words. "

However, as Giphy begins to explore the monetisation route, their honeymoon with Hollywood may come under pressure. Apart from the number of views (which was only launched last August) and the delivery of GIFs (from Facebook to Twitter to iMessage, for example), brands and programming groups have been largely ignorant of who is watching their GIFs. Asked for more specific data, one marketer joked: "I'd be happy if you could ask Giphy that question." "

So far,Brands are still used to targeted marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.Let's say you're advertising young women under the age of 25 who are big fans before a new film or a new season of the TV series. In the coming months, Chung said, "we'll use a variety of different technologies to track our partners." This can be compared to means such as Facebook. "

But, Chung stresses, unlike Facebook, "we're not going to charge for what we're doing." Facebook, on the other hand, asked the brand to pay for the traffic it once offered free. Leibsohn admits that they have spoken to Giphy content providers and that "our (money-making) program is in line with the interests of all of our content partners." "

Giphy is trying to figure out how to not only extract decades of content from entertainment companies into small pieces, but also create exclusive content. Giphy's chief content officer, Zeff, said:"We want edadded content for us. Perhaps it's some auxiliary role, subordinate to the story line. How can we leverage content produced with partners? It's not just a simple wrap or cutting of great moments. We want to find out what the next frontier is. "

Zeff or Giphy would not provide further details, but the company says at least one TV series is pushing ahead with the strategy, using GIFs as part of the production process. The approach is a bit like Snapchat's Snapchat, which has also made digital segments around the online drama "The Voice" and "The Bachelor." Of course, on Giphy, it's shorter, which leads to an interesting creative challenge:How do you evolve a GIF from a medium that presents a moment into a narrative form?

By adding more original content, including material created by a group of artists, Gifphy is trying to create more user demand, as Netflix has done with the series Stranger Things. Through GIF live broadcasts like the Emmys and the "Game of Thrones" premiere, all of a sudden, to keep up with the cultural trend, it's become an urgent thing to get on with the event. Zeff asked, "What's happening on the Internet right now?" What happened on the Internet yesterday? We want to be a reflection of things like this, to bring the essence of those things to our web pages. "

Under that vision, Giphy is not just a conversational assistant, but some kind of surrounded, always-on channel, much like broadcasting, or more precisely, like Jon Steinberg, the former President of BuzzFeed, last year launched cheddar, a digital financial news network for millennials. Steinberg wrote an article in Medium last month describing what he called the vision of the post-cable era: "When people don't watch "Dark Money," they want to see something live... Want to see what's happening in the world. "

While the current fashion is a preference for broad social communication over setting up a destination, and its app (250 million live monthly) remain the company's undervalued assets. "We're starting to see more and more people coming over and watching," Chung said. Leibsohn added: "In a way we are like a television network. We have programming, we have a ratings module. He pointed out thatGiphy can be creative in serving content partners, targeting specific regions, time zones, and distribution services.

"Everyone's playing hard for this one-hour prime time, right?" said Chung. He was referring to Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Netflix and other must-see epics for "Game of Thrones." But his focus is the opposite, "to make something that people leave." Know that there is no such thing as a complete interaction with people who don't walk away. We think we can have another 23 hours. "

While Hollywood is driving the Giphy outburst, the consumer brand is basically giving the start-up the hit picture of Fry in "Fly Out of the Future": "Shut up and take my money!" "

Last year, the advertising agency, CP-B, orchestrated an event for to get its endorsement role, Captain Good, to run for president. At the same time, it has created an interlude, placing the highly expressive eccentric on a white background to make a series of facial close-ups, ranging from sarcasm "OK" to "unusual anger" and then posted on Giphy. The goal is for girds to be used for discussion during the actual election process. As a result, the series of GIFs received more than 150 million views. This fall, the series of reactions to Converse Millie Bobby Brown's (Monster Siu" and back-to-school reactions) were also a big success. Quinn Katherman, creative director of CP-B, says:"Giphy is one of the only remaining pure platforms. If a brand wants to be successful here, it needs to find a way to contribute to the conversation, not just plug itself in (note: implant ads). "

Leibsohn, who worked in advertising for eight years before starting Giphy, believes that most internet advertising is just a series of increasingly desperate examples of brands trying to break into uninvited parties. Winston Binch, chief digital officer at Advertising agency Deutsch, said:"We're talking about an intimate conversation. People will reject things that are not true. This is a challenge for the brand. "For this reason, Leibsohn and Chung just want to invite Nike (or Converse) to the conversation because she's wearing cool shoes, or he and his friends are just talking about Nike. "Then they left," Chung said. It's a different, real branded content experience, but the Internet doesn't have it yet. "

Giphy's goal, then, is to "own" the six-second ad format and then create an ad that exudes that sincerity (or persuade the brand to make an ad) - but the medium is still in its infancy. Jason Krebs, chief commercial officer of Tenor, another GIF company, said: "Marketers understand the value of short video in their value chain. "They're going to launch paid brand ads. "How does this drive their success?" Just like you do on television or any highly successful medium, the first question they have to ask is, do we get the exposure we want? Has it been exposed to the right audience, is it viewed in the right environment? But the next question is, 'Okay, okay, now we're exposed.' But is it helpful to our business? 'That's what we're trying to prove to marketers right now. "

Despite his efforts to do so, Giphy believes he has a little value to the brand: access to the private feelings of hundreds of millions of consumers. "There are very few places where you can connect everyone, have access to their communications, and tell you why they're talking about you in every possible context," Chung said. If you think about this from the perspective of revenue advertising platforms, that's the power. "

This may be a mouth-watering statement: demographic details, coupled with user taste, interest and understanding of their emotional behavior. "Just as we learned a lot from Google Search and YouTube Search, the way we use Giphy is what they're looking for in the LEGO brand," said James Poulter, LEGO's senior global social media manager. "

Although Poulter admits that he hasn't seen the data yet, "I would be very surprised if people search for 'Lego' when they send lego GIFs." "There are nearly 5,000 LEGO GIFs on Giphy. "They're probably looking for a happy or sad or LOL look." What we want to do is make sure that we show them the most interesting, or the best, the most humorous, and the coolest content in that category. That's what we want to provide.When you think something is great or amazing, we're happy to be one of the brands you choose as a means of sharing. "

As Leibsohn points out: "Coca-Cola says, 'Smooth. 'We can show brands, content producers, news locations, etc. that you don't have to tell anyone anymore to 'get out of your way'. We can understand if you look happy. Asked why he and Lego would pay, he said only one thing: "To have tangible value."

Chung and Leibsohn don't seem to worry about what that value is. "It took four and a half years to bring all the content owners together and make the content searchable," Chung said. Leibsohn added: "Besides, it's a matter of time and relationship. We have broken ground. We have consolidated all this. "

Chung says:"We're synonymous with this kind of content. If you search for GiFs, we are No.1. "

Leibsohn responded: "Forget it. But if you search for 'Happy Birthday', we're No.1. "

"Yes, we have a happy birthday now," Chung said. "

If you have a happy birthday and can't make money, well, there will be 1,716 GIFs marked "Face Cover" to Chung and Leibson.

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