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A guide to GEO

At the beginning of my role at Fluid last September, I was new to a whole lot of things. Zoom calls (and the consequent importance of the mute button). Making my home my office, and my office my home. The act of building colleague friendships with people I’ve never met before. But most importantly, I was somewhat new to the vast digital realm and the complex world of all things Social Media.

Who knew that the online space has the power to turn a bean-drenched breakfast cereal into a viral phenomenon? From memes, to tracking trends, to hashtags, there’s a lot to know for a business wanting to effectively market their brand online. But one method that I’ve particularly had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with, is GIF Engine Optimisation (or GEO for those in the know). I enjoy it that much I’ve written this blog post about it. And if that doesn’t sway you to read on, it includes funny animated videos throughout. You’re welcome.

So without further ado..

In order to know the fundamentals of GEO, you’ve got to know the ins and outs of the source.. and in this context, GIFs.

The word GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, which to you and me, basically means an animated image. We say “animated images” because GIFs aren’t really videos. They’re something that’ll engage the audience more than a static image, but not require as much attention as they’d perhaps have to give to watch a full length video. I’d like to think of them as the cookie, when you don’t fancy just one chocolate chip, but you also don’t want a full cake either.


Did somebody say cookies?

They’re absolutely everywhere. If you’ve been on the internet before, you probably know what a GIF is. We’ve all used one. You might have even used one this very morning. We see them in text conversations, social media, emails to name just a few. But what you may not know, is that they’re also a great tool to use in marketing. The use of GIFs have sky-rocketed in the past five or so years, and there’s no denying their success in social and now professional settings. With an aim to build brand awareness, engage with the target market and develop an attractive online personality with the audience to the extent in which they’ll want to keep connected.

I hope you’re not bored yet. Let’s grab your attention...

So why should we be using GIFs? The first point is that they’re easy to consume. They’re quick, clear and enjoyable. Through GIPHY.com and other social platforms, there’s an endless amount of GIFs that are available through just a simple search and a few clicks.

They’re faster (and cheaper) to create than full videos. Their file size is significantly smaller than those of lengthy videos, and in turn, also means that shareability is easier and more accessible.

They’re functional. A GIF that is created for email, can also be shared across multiple social media platforms, sent to friends, and there’s no limit where you share this content either.

They’re engaging. We’re much more likely to draw a reaction from someone when they’re using a GIF. They’re a great way to share emotions and really trigger immediate responses to situations they perhaps can’t explain through words. But not only this, if you’re a company, you’re much more likely to engage with the audience as opposed to trying to grab their attention with an information-heavy piece of text.

They’re a great way to show your audience that you, in fact, are pretty darn funny. GIFs show that you’re paying attention to trends and displaying your fun side at the same time. So, injecting some youthful entertainment into your social media feeds, will in turn not only keep your audience engaged, but will also keep the brand from appearing too serious.

But why do we care about GEO I hear you ask? Well, using GIFs is the latest trend in marketing, and it’s not set to be going away anytime soon. Because of this, GIF SEO is officially a thing. It has proven success rates, such as Missguided racking up an impressive 2.5 billion (and counting) views for its GIF bank.

Secondly, Giphy.com is the second largest search engine, with Google being first, in the world by total searches, serving up more than 1 billion GIFs overall on a daily basis. In other words, it attracts a lot of eyes. And the opportunity to capture this evidently visible attention is certainly worth taking up.

This GIF right here? You’ve perhaps seen it before. But do you know how many views it has received to date? At the time of writing this, over 1 and a half billion (again, and counting). Yep, that’s a very big number.

Using all of this knowledge, Fluid has jumped at the opportunity to optimise GIFs for our clients. With a bank of animated images associated with related hashtags, the GIFs we create and upload will be available for anyone to use. Not only is it pretty cool knowing people are using GIFs that one of us Fluiders have created, but also it means that with increasing popularity, more GIPHY users will be able to have access to them at a quicker rate than if they had just a small amount of views.

Yet, in a library of billions of looping images and stickers, the importance of brand differentiation is key to achieving brand association. For example, something as simple as keeping an underlying theme such as a constant colour or font throughout the GIFs will therefore give the viewer a brand-specific feature to latch on to and consequently then associate the client with. And if doing this can lead to our clients effectively integrating these moving images into the public’s everyday conversation and culture, then it’s advertising working at its finest.