Automated GIF Keyword Research. How to find the topics, hashtags and keywords for Giphy and Tenor?

Tobias Willmann
4 min readJul 30, 2020


To find the right keywords/hashtags for Giphy and Tenor isn’t that easy, but seems to influence the ranking a lot. Before you start you want to explore the topic a litte bit and find some high potentials.

When optimizing for Giphy or Tenor your looking for:

  • high search volume
  • not so much competition
  • most used hashtags of successful competitors
  • and probably some related searches.
  • (looking forward to get some feedback about what else you check…)

Especially search volume and competition isn’t that easy to get from e.g. Giphy. Workaround ideas:

High Search Volume

  • Being mentioned in the top X bucket on Tenor Insights is a good indicator. “Parmesan” is Top 10.000…
  • The views of the top positioned GIFs in Giphy. To expect high search volume from high GIF views can be super wrong. GIF views are not triggered in any case by the one search term you are testing. But maybe it’s an indicator so I’m collecting it.

Not so much competition

  • Could be defined by the number of GIFs in the search result. Not so many GIFs shown for a search … more easy to get in.

Keyword research

Let’s imagine I want to create GIFs for Italian cheese. (I’m happy to solve a real case. If you have one please contact me)

I can go to Giphy and Tenor and get some data:

You could do some of it manually, but it becomes complicated with counting views and extracting hashtags. I automated this. This shows the total views of the top 5 GIFs for the search and most used hashtags/hashtag count of the top 5 gifs.

Pecorino seems to be an easy win here with just 11 GIFs. You can be on position 12 easily. Parmesan seems to be not as hard (not so many search Results) as Mozzarella, but still with a Tenor verified search volume and interesting Giphy total views. Chicken might be something for a parmesan recipe idea to show on a GIF. This is about generating some ideas, not a fixed thing you have to do.

Automatically check related searches and hashtags

These are some related searches of the cheeses sorted by number of GIFs on Giphy. Ravioli seems to be the only one here being really related to the Italian cheeses.

In addition from related search data you can learn for example that “world pasta day” seems to be good Italian cheese related event to target with a GIF too.

I have more historic data, other metics and other terms collected, but looking for another more real world examples to work with the data. If you want something like this created for your keywords… just send me your keywords.

Btw. if you think about GIFs usages, it’s often related to emotions and reactions … so this topic, related topic based approach should not be the only research you do, when starting to optimize for GIF search engines.

GIFs related to emotions

Tenor’s emotional graph is a good starting point to get some inspiration what GIFs are often about:

In I found these as “emotions” sub-category:[‘love’,’happy’,’reaction’,’sad’,’excited’,’angry’,’shocked’,’scared’,’hungry’,’drunk’,’tired’,’surprised’,’bored’,’sassy’,’sick’,’frustrated’,’pain’,’nervous’,’disappointed’,’lonely’,’stressed’,’embarrassed’,’unimpressed’,’suspicious’,’relaxed’,’inspired’]

Using the same keyword research script to get related and some KPIs I found the following:

“Tired” GIFs have about 3x more views than “Love” GIFs (counting top 5 in @GIPHY search results for each term), but there are about 8x more GIFs listed for “Love” than for “Tired”. Both are in the top 100 Searches on Tenor 🤔

I hope you found some inspirational stuff in this blog post + of course I’m looking forward to get some feedback and ideas to test / extend the script.