Are Sponsored GIFs a Gift for Marketers?

There’s nothing more infuriating to a marketer than a social media platform with users you can’t target.

WhatsApp is one of them. A particularly “sticky” platform, with 70% of its 1.3 billion users active daily, its base represents only a portion of the billions of people who rely more on 1:1 messaging apps than on social networks with purchasable ad space.

It’s music to my ears, then, that change may at last be on the horizon: Giphy is testing sponsored GIFs.

via GIPHY

I know what you’re thinking: Sponsored GIFs don’t mean we can target any WhatsApp user we want. And I take your point — sponsoring a GIF isn’t the equivalent of being able to drop an ad into the Facebook News Feed.

But Giphy is already tightly integrated into WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, iMessage, and even Tinder.

What’s more, Giphy is popular: Facebook Messenger users send 22 million GIFs to each other every single day. This isn’t shocking, given that millennials prefer to use emojis and GIFs to communicate their thoughts and feelings over plain English.

Could GIFs be the future when it comes to targeting users in those hard-to-reach places?

via GIPHY

It’s worth noting that it’s still early days for Giphy’s foray into sponsored content, but it’s hard not to get excited about a world where users can be targeted across platforms — even in their private chats — using promoted GIFs.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find the perfect GIF to tell my WhatsApp friends about this news.

Reece Jackson is a Content Strategist at BSD London.