Magazine article ADWEEK

Keying in on GIFs: Tenor Shows How Brands Use GIFs for Insights into Consumer Behavior

Magazine article ADWEEK

Keying in on GIFs: Tenor Shows How Brands Use GIFs for Insights into Consumer Behavior

Article excerpt

GIFs are more than just popular, looping clips on social media. As brands work to inject themselves into messaging applications and bots, marketers are also starting to dissect viral, silly GIFs to better understand how people use them as a form of communication. While busily working to build buzzy content, marketers are cranking out dozens of GIFs in hopes of capturing a cultural moment that puts their brand in front of millions of digital eyeballs.

"It's giving us a whole new tool set that allows us to get into internet culture where people don't want to watch commercials," said Dean McBeth, head of integrated strategy at CP+B, which handles social and digital work for Domino's.

To dig into exactly how consumers find and share branded GIFs, Tenor, the creator of GIF Keyboard, pulled search data on four big marketers for Adweek: Domino's, Netflix, Coca-Cola and Starbucks.

The data shines a light on consumer behavior, Caffeine lovers, for example, search for "Good morning" 2.1 million times every month before using a Starbucks-branded GIF. Another 8 million searches for "goodnight" and 900,000 for "hangover" are connected to Domino's. Netflix fans type in the keyword "sad" 6 million times a month to find looping videos featuring the streaming video site's shows and characters. And 12.9 million searches for "dance" result in consumers clicking on a GIF related to Coca-Cola.

"GIFs are becoming a more popular way for people to express their emotions and talk to their friends--they also allow us to share stories with our fans in their voice," said Peter Callaro, group director of the social center for Coca-Cola North America.

Beyond their popularity, the small, animated graphics are packed with insights for marketers to help shape future campaigns and creative,

"It's live, it's signaling intent," explained Jason Krebs, chief business officer of Tenor. "The creative sides of the agencies are going to see a whole brand new world--this is data and information that they've really only seen in small focus groups."

Adds Casey Roeder, director of business and strategy at Wondersauce, "It's essentially free research if [marketers] know the right way to unpack it."

According to Tom Buontempo, president of KBS-owned Attention, marketers should take note of such social stats because they can also change brand perception and positioning.

"A lot of those insights can impact how you're creating more GIFs in general, but it could go a lot more broadly," he said.

Still, there is work to be done with measurement. …

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