The following is a guest contributed post from Ken Wisnefski, founder and CEO of leading internet marketer WebiMax.
I know new smartphone users in their 70s who not only use emojis, but talk about the meanings and nuances behind them. In 2015 Oxford Dictionary named (smiley face with tears of joy) its word of the year. I hope this helps make it obvious that technology affects the way that we communicate with each other, sometimes changing what we say, and sometimes fundamentally re-shaping our thoughts into new modes of communication altogether. Giphy’s new keyboard is a big deal and is one example of tech with the potential to re-shape our communicative capacities.
How it works:
Giphy Keys allows people to quickly and easily find an appropriate (or inappropriate) short looping video file or “gif” and share it in just about any app with a text field and a send button. Admittedly, sharing gifs is nothing new, but up until this point sharing gifs took a little bit of internet savvy and enough steps to make it prohibitive to some. Thanks to Giphy Keys it’s about to get a whole lot more common, much like the use of emoji has become.
Everyone knows the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and in our modern world of abbreviated communication, that fact is not lost on emoji users. The use of Emoji has already proven to be a necessity to digital marketers looking to engage younger audiences, in fact, a recent study by appboy shows that emoji use in emails has increased by a staggering 7,100% and 777% in campaigns since last year.
Videos in the form of gifs however offer distinct advantages for marketers over the static emoji both in that they are potentially more evocative and more fun. Giphy’s own advertising slogan is a play on the old (picture = 1,000 word) adage with, “A Gif is worth 1,000 feels.”
Last month Giphy brought an app to Android that allowed users to search the Giphy database and copy/paste gifs into other apps, however this still required users to be in two separate apps to get the job done. About a year ago, Facebook began testing the integration of Giphy’s database into their messenger app, which worked in conjunction with smartphone keyboards with essentially the same functionality of the new Giphy Keys app; however this functionality stayed exclusively inside the Facebook Messenger App. With its new keyboard, Giphy is both streamlining and democratizing the use of Gifs. While it is true that Giphy Keys is only available on IOS, an Android version is in the pipeline according to Giphy.
Giphy proclaims “Gifs are a language…, and we all know how to speak it,” and I would tend to agree with that. The creative options are both limitless and ever-changing; and Gifs will certainly find their way into the marketer’s lexicon if not the Oxford Dictionary someday. Professional communicators, i.e., marketers, PR pros, media, and politicians will have to adapt in order to connect.