NEW YORK: GIFs – looped videos generally lasting no more than five seconds – could become a powerful advertising format for mobile messaging apps and tools, according to a leading executive from Giphy.

Alex Chung, Co-Founder/CEO of Giphy – a search engine for GIFs with 150m unique monthly visitors – discussed this subject at TechCrunch's Disrupt NY 2016 conference.

"People are selling sending hundreds of billions of messages a day. How do you get native advertising into mobile? GIFs are the perfect format for that," he said. (For more, including further details of how brands can use GIFs, read Warc's exclusive report: Giphy's plans for turning GIFs into ad revenue.)

As evidence of the potential of GIFs, Giphy announced in late January 2016 that content from its platform could be included in messages on dating app Tinder. And by mid-March, fully 20m GIFs had been exchanged.

These clips could play a role that is not dissimilar from emojis by helping consumers express emotions (such as happiness, sadness or shock) or particular mindsets (be it hunger, boredom or exhaustion).

And the opportunity may be especially powerful for media and entertainment companies, as most consumers who send GIFs employ famous faces to capture their mood.

"Eighty percent of all the GIFs we send are branded GIFs, meaning that they're from TV, movies [and] celebrities that we have content deals with," Chung said.

This behaviour, Chung continued, is not new, but rather represents the latest iteration of people quoting their favourite films, TV shows, comedians, and so on.

"We serve about over a billion GIFs a day. And that's because of the demand of people wanting to share these moments; to reference themselves to this kind of information; and share it out to their friends," he said.

"So you can see that in a world where mobile messaging and mobile need an ad format, GIFs are kind of the perfect medium."

Data sourced from Warc