Facebook buys GIPHY, cementing control over the spirit of social media

Facebook buys GIPHY, cementing control over the spirit of social media
Facebook buys GIPHY, cementing control over the spirit of social media

The “G” is hard… Mark Zuckerberg must have been blasting Will Smith’s 1997 banger as he signed the papers to acquire GIPHY for $400M. The GIF-sharing platform will join Facebook as part of Instagram — its library of LOL-inducing moving images will be more deeply integrated into Insta as well as FB’s other apps. FYI – GIPHY won’t get banned from non-FB apps, like Twitter and Slack.

Ever wonder where all those GIFs come from? They’re born in the GIPHY website — hundreds of millions of users contribute to this library with billions of looping vids.
GIPHY doesn’t own the rights to the vids used in GIFs, so it makes money by showing sponsored results to searches (you search for “funny cow” and get a Dairy Queen GIF).
Experiment: Try searching for a “Lip Gloss” GIF on Instagram DM — A glossy mouth with Maybelline branding comes up as a top result.

What’s in a GIF?… While FB says it acquired GIPHY to help people better “express themselves,” 50% of GIPHY’s traffic already comes from Facebook’s “family of apps” (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger) – 25% of that traffic comes from Insta alone. So it’s gotta be something else…

GIPHY is the secret sauce to Facebook’s ad-reliant burger… Facebook and GIPHY are free, but make money by promoting sponsored content — Facebook does ad sales on a ginormous scale. By making GIFs a more prominent part of its apps, Facebook can make more $$$ from GIPHY’s brand partners by exposing them to its 2.5B+ users.

GIPHY could be Facebook’s Trojan Horse into every social and messaging platform: GIFs are already so ingrained into popular culture that FB’s competitors can’t drop them.
It’s actually in Facebook’s interest not to ice out competitors from GIPHY: Say you search for a “burger” GIF on Twitter — Facebook could potentially get paid to have In-N-Out be the top result fetched from GIPHY’s site.


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