Many experts believe that we’re moving toward an era of visual communication where people will rely on images more than words.
Snap sold itself on the fact it was a camera company evolving the way people chat. A small CNBC survey of teens showed their favorite apps were messaging ones, especially ones where people could send pictures and add other visual effects like digital stickers.
Now, Giphy thinks it can be the picture keyboard that we’ll need to chat with one another.
Giphy is a searchable database of animated images that play on a loop — technically they’re animated GIFs, but most people simply call them GIFs.
Although the company is not profitable, it has managed to convince a lot of venture investors to bet on it. Since Facebook tried to acquire the company in 2015, Giphy has raised $150.95 million in four rounds of funding, according to Crunchbase. Lightspeed Venture Partner’s Jeremy Liew, which was Snap’s first investor, told CNBC he thinks Giphy is the next big thing.
Here’s why Giphy’s director of marketing Simon Gibson believes the company is onto something:
We’re moving toward visual-based communication
People are visual creatures, Gibson said. However, our technology limitations have forced us to communicate via text — until now.
“It’s a big part of our DNA,” said Simon Gibson, Giphy’s director of marketing. “Human beings are programmed to be visual… With tech innovations, visual vernacular is easier to understand and use.”
Images can convey emotions better than our words can and in less time, he explained.
“It’s actually kind of like an optimized way of getting (stuff) across to people,” Gibson said.
People seek “microentertainment”
A 2015 study of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft showed human attention spans have dropped to just eight seconds. To find something to capture their attention, people seek shorter videos on platforms like Snapchat and Facebook. GIFs address that challenge and provide “microentertainment,” Gibson said.
“As our attention spans are getting shorter, these messing hubs are becoming entertainment hubs as well,” he said.
It doesn’t require people to download a new app
Though Giphy has its own desktop and app presence, it’s trying to be everywhere you need it: you can use Giphy apps including Apple’s Messages, Twitter, Facebook Messenger and Slack. It doesn’t face the same customer acquisition and onboarding issues other companies may face — Giphy users simply need to learn a new feature on their existing favorite platforms, Gibson said.
They think have a plan to make money in the future
Giphy is focusing on a “huge growth phase,” said Gibson, and admittedly not making money. However, because it is a search-based platform, he thinks there’s a natural way to include advertising. There are also other options to explore like branded content.
“If you look at the Googles of the world and you think of us as a search platform, there’s an obvious connection,” he said.