Oracle Wants to Bring Big Data to GIFs

The short-form videos have found a home in memes—and brands are noticing

a GIF of Kermit the Frog drinking tea
Oracle is partnering with Giphy. Illustration: Trent Joaquin; Sources: Giphy, Oracle

GIFs play a huge role in turning the internet into the weird and wacky place we love, and now, marketers can use them too.

Oracle has unveiled a branded content partnership with Giphy, the short-form video search engine that powers reaction videos across platforms including Slack, Twitter and Facebook. The content will be hosted on Giphy’s platform using Oracle’s Moat to validate traffic and measure the GIFs’ viewability, along with the time spent on each one. Per Giphy, media buyers won’t see any additional fees tacked onto their typical CPMs on the platform.

“This is a really exciting way that branded content is making its way out into the ecosystem,” said Mark Kopera, head of product at Moat. “It’s this new way of capturing consumer attention in this really engaging environment.”

The result is making a two-second GIF as easily bought—and measured—as a traditional, long-form ad—which will hopefully cause marketers to take more of a chance on the meme-centric platform.

“One of the amazing things that I loved most about Giphy is that for five to six years, the platform was really focusing on consumers, and making sure that it was sticky,” explained Alexis Berger, Giphy’s vp of revenue. “Now, we’re making a strong push to work with leading marketers.”

Though better associated with wacky reaction images, the short-form platform has been courting big brands—Gatorade, Amazon and Converse among them—for roughly a year, according to Berger. This originally started with the development of Giphy studios—an in-house creative agency meant to help brands better integrate their messaging into the short bursts of content that are native to the platform. But despite the new format, she went on, these same brands were increasingly looking for the same measurement capabilities they were used to when buying for other digital-first formats.

That’s where Oracle comes in. The tech provider will imbue branded content—either found through Giphy’s search engine, or through the main page of the Giphy site proper—with a tracking pixel meant to fire when the branded GIF is in full view—just like any other digital ad, according to Kopera.

The move is meant to court advertisers’ attention—and spend—to the company, which, according to recent estimates, has raised roughly $151 million, and boasts 11 million hours of GIFs watched every day. The one thing it won’t do, Berger stressed, is change the platform—which is still user-driven, and full of weird, wonderful short-form content.

“It’s just to provide marketers with more verification, and an apples-to-apples comparison about what they’re used to with similar platforms,” she said.

@swodinsky Shoshana Wodinsky is Adweek's platforms reporter, where she covers the financial and societal impacts of major social networks. She was previously a tech reporter for The Verge and NBC News.