Facebook announced today that it will be acquiring well known GIF sharing site Giphy for $400m. The plan according to Facebook is to integrate Giphy into its ecosystem completely. This means the huge GIFs library will be integrated into Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and the Facebook main app. Giphy has over 250 million monthly users with a library of GIFs in excess of one billion so it makes sense that Facebook which is a social media giant would acquire them. Many Facebook users share quite a number of GIFs from Giphy on the social media platform and maybe this put it on Facebook’s acquisition radar.
Giphy APIs have been used by Facebook users to create and share media on all Facebook apps including Instagram. For example, uploading a raw GIF file used to be a herculean task on Instagram. You would have to use a service like Giphy to convert it into a video format like MP4 and only then can you upload the file to Instagram. And on this, Facebook said about 50 percent of all Giphy’s traffic comes from its apps and half of that from Instagram alone. So, in one way, Facebook and Giphy have had some kind of unwritten partnership and seeing as millions of people across the world use the service, its integration into the Facebook family would probably draw more users to the app than ever.
As with any promise during such high-profile acquisitions, Facebook promises for now that all things will stay the same for Giphy users even though it plans to make the service more aligned to the Instagram team than others. This means that it would likely get easier in future to create, share and message GIFs in Instagram Stories, direct messages and maybe comments.
People will still be able to upload GIFs; developers and API partners will continue to have the same access to GIPHY’s APIs; and GIPHY’s creative community will still be able to create great content.
There are many other services that rely Giphy API for uploading and sharing GIFs including bog names like Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit. So, it looks like if Facebook hadn’t bought Giphy, another competitor may very well have acquired them. But Facebook has a more robust ecosystem in addition to its financial muscle and so they would have been the favourites eventually in a typical boardroom discussion. But the other side to it is whether millions of other non-Facebook social media sites would still feel comfortable with Giphy in the Facebook family. Facebook may control its new tool to the detriment of others but Facebook says this won’t be the case for now. Facebook could in fact make it harder for its competitors to use the service in future. But one thing that is likely ahead is that Facebook would turn Giphy into another advert revenue source which may make it more competitive and attractive or just scare away the regular user.