How to create branded gifs

How many times a week do you send a gif? 🤔 I’m going to guess that you’ve probably used Slack to send gifs. Or maybe you’re using gifs in your IG Stories or FB Group. But did you know…you can actually leverage gifs as a way to market your brand? This isn’t a new trick, but it is an effective one - when done right.

You’ve probably used more branded gifs than you think

Just because it’s branded, doesn’t mean it needs to be BORING.

Most brands have found clever ways to incorporate their branding so that it’s less noticeable (less like an ad) and more like a meme. For example, Starbucks crushes it with their seasonal meme content. The goofier, the better. And the more cross-pollination with pop culture, the better (because then it feels less like an ad for users.)

The first step toward creating branded gifs

First, you should know the biggest players in the gif game:

Giphy, which we'll be focusing on today, is one of the most popular, thanks to an acquisition from FB for a cool $400M. If you want to create your own branded gifs, you can’t just upload to these websites. Instead, you’ll need to apply for a brand page first.

Reason being? They want to make sure you’re legit and aren’t just stealing content only to drop your logo on everything. You’ll want to make sure you submit your application properly - as your gifs have the opportunity to show up on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and more (so like - everywhere.)

You're verified - now what?

You wouldn’t run ads without research, right? (…right…?) So you shouldn’t start creating gifs without conducting research, either.

One of the easiest ways to conduct keyword research is to use Giphy’s search which will always display the number of gifs available within any search term. One thing to keep in mind is WHY people use gifs: most often times they aren’t searching for your brand name (sorry.) Instead, they’re using a gif to display some kind of emotion (think “excited”, “sad”, “tired”....)

For example, if I search the term “sad”, I get ~21,000 gifs on Giphy, vs when I search “coffee”, I get ~9,000. And if I search for a brand like Starbucks? I only get ~600. Start brainstorming pieces of content you have at your disposal or could create that also go hand-in-hand with an emotion.

You’ve brainstormed…now let’s create!

Once you’ve brainstormed and you’ve been approved on the platform, you can use this free gif maker to get craftin’. If you’re feeling absolutely clueless about creating your own branded gifs, you can also hire a gif artist (seriously) to develop gifs for you.

Make sure whether you’re creating your own gif or having a gif artist jump in, that you don’t make your gif too branded (or too vague). If you’re a lesser-known brand, try anchoring a transparent logo in the bottom right-hand side like Wendy's gif, above. That way, you can still earn that brand impression!

Nail your keywords

Once you’ve created a handful of gifs, you can upload on Giphy (or whichever website you use) and make them searchable by entering in the relevant keywords.

Now, you want to increase your likelihood of having your gif used, right? So you’re better off making sure that your keywords closely align to your gif so you have a better chance of getting used. If you use random keywords that have nothing to do with your brand, people just aren’t going to pick your gif. Simple as that.

Measure your gif performance

While it might seem like a hassle to go through the process of getting your brand approved for Giphy, there’s one awesome benefit: analytics! You'll have the ability to see views on your gifs by getting approved, and a view counts as this according to Giphy:

“A view is counted every time a GIF has been served through GIPHY’s services or technology. A single view is counted when a GIF is served, regardless of how many times it loops."

Take it to the next level

If you’re a brand or influencer that sees a bright future with gifs, consider a tool like Giflytics, which helps you track trending conversations so that you can make gifs for trends as they happen.