Facebook recently announced another new addition to their family of apps as they bought popular GIF-making and sharing website GIPHY for $400 million.

GIPHY already hosts the largest independent GIF library online. Facebook was already using GIPHY’s API to access their GIF button – which was first added to Facebook and WhatsApp back in 2017. They then added GIF stickers to Instagram Stories in 2018.

According to Facebook themselves, 50% of the traffic to GIPHY’s website comes from the Facebook family of apps. In acquiring GIPHY outright and integrating it fully, they hope to make it easier for users to find the perfect GIF.

I'm gonna need a GIF of that GIF
They’re particularly focused on enhancing the user experience on Instagram – both on Stories and DMs. GIPHY posted on Medium that they’re ‘joining the team at Instagram’, and the blog goes on to say:

“We’ve had a lot of fun teaming up with Instagram over the years; GIPHY’s Stickers were the perfect fit for layering on Instagram Stories, while our GIF search allowed everyone to capture that perfect emotion in Instagram’s DMs. Based on the success of those collaborations (and many others) we know that there are exciting times ahead for us.”

In a blog on their website last week, Vishal Shah, Facebook’s VP of Product said:

“By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct. Both our services are big supporters of the creator and artist community, and that will continue. Together, we can make it easier for anyone to create and share their work with the world.”

The first ever GIF was created back in 1987 but they really took off in the late nineties when Netscape added an extension that allowed them to loop endlessly. Today, GIFs are more popular than ever before – our smartphones have built-in GIF support and they’ve become a key part of conversations on social media apps.

(Oh, and it stands for Graphics Interchange Format – so it’s pronounced ‘GIF’ not ‘JIF’!)

Sassy Beyonce GIF
Facebook went on to reassure GIPHY users that will still be able to upload GIFs once the acquisition is complete and they’ve also said that developers and other API partners will continue to have access to the GIPHY APIs.

It’s worth noting however that a lot of Facebook’s competitors including Apple iMessage, Microsoft Teams, Twitter and TikTok also use GIPHY’s API. They probably won’t want to use a Facebook-owned product going forward, and so many of these apps could start to use another GIF provider instead.

Here at South Coast Social, we’re big fans of using GIFs on social posts. They’re a fun way to express yourself as a brand or as an individual and we’re excited to see how this new partnership between Facebook and GIPHY improves user experience on their apps.

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