4 hacks to boost your visibility in GIF search engines

Tobias Willmann
4 min readAug 3, 2020


How to improve the ranking of your GIFs in GIF searches of messengers and Social Media Apps

1) With just a perfect Giphy account your won’t be visible

This hack is about GIF SEO and visibility of your GIFs in messengers like WhatsApp, Telegram, ...

As you can see here the chocolate brand “Ritter Sport” (I choose them randomly) created an almost perfect Giphy profile with a lot of nice GIFs. https://giphy.com/rittersport

If you search in Giphy “Ritter Sport” you can find them.

But being listed in Giphy currently won’t help to get listed in e.g. the GIF search of WhatsApp on iOS… They are not even listed with a brand search here:

The iOS Keyboard in WhatsApp (Telegram and others too) currently seems to be based on Tenor not Giphy. Tenor’s search results look similar to the WhatsApp search on iOS:

On Android I don’t know for every manufacturer which GIF search engine is used but I tested Huawei and the Google keyboard. In both cases it was a mix of search results from Giphy and Tenor. So being listed in Tenor helps here too.

That’s a screenshot of Gboard on iOS with Giphy and Tenor as a source:

The solution: Push your GIFs not just to Giphy but to Tenor, too. This worked perfect in multiple cases for me. I was almost instantly listed with a simple upload to Tenor (at least for the Brand name)

2) Check some data

To find good hashtags, GIF ideas … you must do some research. It’s much more likely to create something which generates reach if you did your research homework before. Some thoughts about GIF keyword research here:

Maybe you want to target current GIF search trends… I built a Datastudio Dashboard to show current GIF search trends here:


3) Try to produce GIFs for common reactions and chat replies

People do search a lot for reaction GIFs / GIFs to reply with in chats. So search terms are for example:

yes, thinking, sorry no, don’t want, omg, lol, …

To bulk produce some of these e.g. with a celebrity / influencer is a good starting point to promote your brand. Some examples:

4) Create Stickers

If you want to be visible in Instagram’s or Snapchat’s GIF search you have to have Stickers on Giphy. Just create GIFs with transparent background and upload them to your brand channel. Tenor has Stickers too, but most services I checked seem to use Giphy’s Stickers. Instagram Stickers search:

This is how Snapchat’s Sticker search looks like.

Google Chat with Stickers and GIFs mixed

Providing Stickers is a precondition of being visible in Instagram’s and Snapchat’s GIF search