This week we made a GIF “go viral”. I say this with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek smirk on my face because I hate when marketers say sh*t like that. However, this was a fun experiment and as we come to the end of a very challenging 2020, I thought that I would share this story with you.
It started with a simple idea and question “How do you make a GIF popular?” Last month we started creating GIFs as part of our agency’s 20th-anniversary celebration and we wanted to create GIFS that meant something to our agency but that the general population would also use not knowing that the GIFs were tied to our brand. We wanted to create content that we can share with the world but that we can also use for our own messaging both internally on Slack and externally on platforms like Slack and WhatsApp.
Our first few GIFs started getting thousands of views relatively quickly which was shocking and rewarding. When planning our next batch of GIFs we used the following criteria to help inform the creative process.
- What is a topical subject?
- What are people searching for relating to that subject?
- Why do existing GIFs for that subject matter suck?
We came up with the idea of creating a Happy New Year GIF and then used our brand colors and a space theme that resonates with our name.
Moving forward we are experimenting with GIFs that could live on the Internet for many years to come and take a life of their own. For example, after the success of our 20th birthday anniversary GIF, we thought about creating GIFs for every milestone birthday like the one below. This one has had more than 270,000 views in the last few weeks.
Using our search engine optimization (SEO) expertise we looked at Google Trends data to see what search terms were popular for New Years GIFs and used these in our hashtags. We realized when adding a GIF to GIPHY that the name of the GIF becomes the HTML page title and we discovered that you want to match the main content of the GIF to the name and hashtag so that they would rank well in Google image searches. We are still learning and you can see the mistake we made below but the GIF is still getting tens of thousands of views daily.