How to use GIF Search Trends in 2023

by Federica Rustico

10 min read
Last Updated: May 26, 2023

In the digital marketing world, there are a variety of possibilities and techniques you can use to get the word out about your business. Among the many, one that is growing in popularity is Gif Marketing. Marketers use GIFs in messaging platforms like Whatsapp, emails, blog posts, social media (like TikTok and Instagram), and more.

But what is it, exactly? Simply a way to integrate GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format), or animated images, into your business’s marketing strategy to increase your brand’s awareness and reach an ever-growing audience that passively works for you by sharing the Gifs you create.

Awesome, wouldn’t you agree? You have to tread carefully, though. Because the digital world moves at lightspeed and the first rule of business is you don't want to create content that is outdated! But luckily for you there’s a tool that comes to the rescue: Gif search trends. I’ll let you in on some secrets on how to use Gif search trends in 2023 (because 2022 is already so last year). 

Why are search trends important?

Have you heard of Squid Game, the Netflix TV series that drove the entire digital world wild? For weeks, all we could see on our social media feeds were Reels and TikToks that used music from the TV series and Squid Game related memes adapted by every type of business in the world going viral. We almost couldn't even take it anymore. Until bam, all of a sudden no one was talking about Squid Game anymore. The hype was over. And if you didn't ride the wave of Squid Game, adapting your content to that specific trend during those weeks, let's just say you were one of those people who came late to the party. If you were one of those businesses who used Squid Game content after the hype, you are probably a boomer or you should definitely fire your social media manager. All this is to say that, just as creating Squid Game related content was a trend that lasted for a specific time window, trends in general have a specific time window. Which is exactly why search trends have to be analyzed – so you can ride the trend with your business, giving you a better chance of going viral with your content. 

How to use gif search trends in 2023

What are Gif search trends?

But let’s get specific, because every digital marketing technique has its way to understand search trends, and it’s no different for Gif search trends. But first, what is a trend? Simply a topic that is hot at a specific time on social media or the web. But we want to implement Gif marketing to our business so what are Gif search trends? Specific topics that people are mostly using when selecting the GIFs they intend to share. So all it takes, really, is looking at the top searches for GIFs and we get a clear understanding of the topics people are talking about. But not so fast, there’s more to it than meets the eye. If this is starting to sound complicated, let me refresh your memory on why Gif search trends are fundamental in implementing a successful Gif marketing strategy. 

Search engines like GIPHY serve over 10 billion pieces of GIPHY content and reach over 700 million people, daily. Tenor is not to be overlooked either, with over 300 million daily search requests! To put it in perspective for you, Twitter has 238 million daily active users. So there is a real opportunity that arises when using GIFs in your marketing strategy. 

Using search trends on these platforms is like listening in on people’s conversations and understanding what they’re talking about. Just like Twitter’s Trending Topics or Google’s Search Trends are tools used by marketers to understand what people are talking about publicly, GIF search trends can give social media managers and marketers insights into what topics people are talking about in their messaging conversations. To make this clear, that does not mean that this tool reads the actual conversations between people, that is illegal. What I’m saying is that they know what GIFs are being shared between users, which obviously gives insights on what people are actually talking about, in a very ethical way. 

If you were paying attention in marketing class, among the things you need to understand before launching a business is who your target audience is, where they are and what they are interested in. So first things first: GIFs are used by everyone, more specifically between users aged 18 to 44. So it’s safe to say most Millennials, Gen-Zers and Gen X use GIFs every single day. That’s a large pool of people, meaning search engines like GIPHY and Tenor are channels that work for any group you are trying to target. All businesses can benefit from creating Gifs. 

How to use Gif search trends for your business

There are a variety of methods on how to use GIF search trends to gain an edge in your digital marketing strategy. 

Social listening: also referred to as social media listening, is a way to monitor and pick up on what is being said on social media channels about a certain topic, your company, product, services or competitors. Once you have information about the conversations related to your brand, you can start analyzing your data to find opportunities to tackle. Conversations on the web churn out incredible amounts of unstructured data. So having a clear goal on what you want to achieve by using social listening tracking tools is the basics, otherwise you’re going to find yourself in an ocean of data with no lifeline. Once you have clear insights, it is time to start ideating campaigns, creating content and start engaging with your customers. If you are serious about Gifs, then GIF search trend data definitely has to be one of the tools in your toolbox. Thanks to these tools, you will understand what consumers are talking about in real-time, avoiding massive failures like creating Squid Game GIFs when it’s no longer trending.

How to use Gif search trends in 2023

Rapid response content: it’s no easy task going through all the digital clutter, I will give you that. But, as some very wise person once said: “out of adversity comes opportunity”. That couldn’t be more true, because when you least expect it, something amazing is ready to fall right onto your lap (that is, if you’re fast enough to catch it)! If you didn’t get the jiff, I’m talking about rapid-response marketing, a real-time marketing strategy that enables brands to create content that responds to opportunities that come out of the blue. Simply speaking, it means that when you see a trend arise, you are able to create content in real-time to ride the wave. GIF search trends are just the tool to use to be able to quickly respond to new opportunities. They allow you to tap into data relevant to pop culture moments, consumer trends, news and products or services that consumers are talking about in their private messaging convos. You can use rapid response content to your advantage by:

1) Posting on your social media channels with a message related to what’s happening or with new content

2) Creating a GIF related to the trend and uploading it to a GIF search engine like GIPHY or Tenor so that your business is going to pop up when people search for those specific keywords (going back to our Squid Game example, this would be like riding the trend and creating GIFs related to Squid Game that send a message about your brand). 

How to get access to Gif search trends

Ok, ok, everything is absolutely mind blowing but how do you get access to Gif search trends? You can do so with a variety of social listening tools and search trend tools.  

How to use GIF Search Trends in 2023

Back in 2020, Google and Tenor partnered up to launch a tool which gives us insights on the key GIF trends. You can go directly on Google Trends to search for terms or go on Tenor under the “trending” GIFs to get a feeling of what’s coming. GIPHY works the same, you can check out their trending GIFs by going on their website. 

A really useful tool that we highly recommend for its quality and (well, it’s free) is Trend Stream’s free tool that gives access to hourly updates on the top trending GIF search trends and terms on both GIPHY and Tenor. 

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even upgrade to their premium version, which sends you automatic alerts when a topic of interest is trending on GIF search engines. You can even send them an email to ask them for more in depth data on past GIF search trends, to get an understanding on which days of the week and at what time certain search terms are most researched on their search engines. Easy peasy!

How to create Gifs that go viral

No matter the moment’s trend, when it comes to creating Gifs for your business you need to think through how you’re going to use these animated images to describe your brand. This is fundamental for Gif search engine optimization because you need to identify the keywords that you expect your content to show up for, but that’s not the only thing to consider. As someone once said, “content is king”, so the type of GIF you’re going to create is going to play a huge part on whether your content is going to perform well or if it will be left in the dustbin. If you’re a noob, here’s a few things to consider:

Now that you’ve understood the basics, here are three main ways to use your Gifs in a way that consumers will share them:

Tell a story: reading is so last century. Marketers are having to come up with shorter ways to express their messages that it is almost becoming impossible. The problem is people don’t like to read anymore, they don’t have time to do so and their attention span is less than 10 seconds. Images on the other hand, offer a quick way to express a message. And animated images like GIFs, well they’re like upgrading from economy to business class. Telling a story about your brand through animated images is much more eye-catching than writing it. Get creative!

Keep in mind movies/TV series/celebrities/scandals: I cannot stress this enough, you have to be on top of what your audience likes in order to understand what trend is about to come next! It’s quite easy to predict a trend when you like the same things of your target audience. For example, know what the celebrities they’re following are saying, keep up with the movies that are coming out and the TV series. That will definitely give you an edge in rolling out content that is on top of search trends. 

Involve your audience: you’ll find that making GIFs is now accessible to pretty much anyone who has an Internet connection. You may think this is a problem, creating even more competition for search terms. But let’s look at the positive side, why don’t you involve your audience and get them to create GIFs for your brand and reward the best ones with a discount, a product or a freebie? You’ll end up with loads of content that you can reuse in future marketing campaigns. Not to mention, when it comes to specific trends, your audience may even be more creative than you and offer that rapid response content we talked about previously. Two pigeons with one stone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are GIF search trends?

GIF search trends refer to the topics and keywords that are most popular when searching for GIFs. Popular GIF searches often include topics related to entertainment, sports, celebrities, and humor. Additionally, GIFs related to current events, holidays, and other timely topics are often searched for more frequently. By understanding GIF search trends, businesses can create content that is more likely to be seen and shared.

How to create GIFs that go viral?

Creating GIFs that go viral can be achieved by creating shareable and visually appealing content. GIFs should be related to current topics and trends in order to capture people's attention. Additionally, GIFs should be humorous, relatable, and should evoke an emotional response. By following these tips, businesses can create GIFs that are more likely to be shared and go viral.