How John Krasinski’s Some Good News Turned GIFs Into a Marketing Tool

YouTube hit is approaching 315 million views—on Giphy and Tenor

some good news screengrab
Some Good News was the room where it happened when the Hamilton cast visited. Communo

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Already massively popular, Some Good News, the YouTube series created and hosted by actor and filmmaker John Krasinski, managed to grow its reach even more through GIF marketing.

Krasinski’s show quickly made its mark on the Google-owned video site after its debut March 29, racking up 2.59 million subscribers and landing a new owner in ViacomCBS.

As the show itself was growing, so was the popularity of its GIFs, designed around the show’s content. The show’s GIF pages have attracted nearly 315 million total views to date on Giphy—the GIF library and creator platform that will become part of Instagram following Facebook’s acquisition—and fellow GIF site Tenor.

The GIF growth was a natural extension of the show as Krasinski turned to Communo, a Canadian freelance talent platform, for help. As it happened, a freelancer from that group was a GIF expert.

Communo itself had also already made investments in expanding its GIF network with a new partnership established earlier this year with Giflytics, a New Haven, Conn.-based firm that provides GIF marketing for brands including The Halal Guys, the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers, Polar and hard seltzer giant White Claw. Giflytics has managed the show’s GIF pages since its inception.

“It was a stars-aligned moment when we got the opportunity to work on this project. John Krasinski has maintained a very non-polarizing status as a celebrity,” Giflytics co-founder Steven Rado told Adweek, noting that “people have been using his face to express themselves with GIFs and memes all across the internet for over a decade.”

Rado sees the use of GIFs as a marketing channel is still in the nascent stage, and a pure awareness play, given goals to promote awareness of the series and spread joy.

Giflytics uses an in-house process called GIF Engine Optimization, which functions much like search engine optimization, to improve the ranking of GIFs on platforms like Giphy and Tenor, helping them go viral.

Rado said the company also analyzes historical data to determine topics that trend consistently each week and times of the week those topics are most often searched. Caffeine, for example, spikes as a topic on Monday and Thursday afternoons.

While working on the Some Good News project, Giflytics determined that quarantine-related keywords such as “who knows” and “no idea” were peaking in early April, so the company created a GIF of Krasinski with the caption, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.” It attracted over 76 million views.

Later that month, terms like “the end” and “stir crazy” began trending among GIF searches, and the company published a GIF of Krasinski with the caption, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.” It totaled more than 40 million views.

Rado described the general process of selecting “GIF-able moments” from videos, saying that it starts with emotions that people include in their GIF searches such as annoyed, confused, excited and happy.

“People use GIFs to express themselves and add context in conversations in ways they just can’t with text alone,” he explained. “Moments with exaggerated facial or body expressions are usually best to capture.”

Like the show intended, the GIFs also “gave people a way to share a friendly, familiar face that captured the mood of how they were really feeling … while adding a dose of levity to lighten the mood and make people laugh or smile,” Rado said. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.