GIF Search Co. Tenor Navigates Digital Media Sponsorships

GIFs are big business, and 4-year-old Tenor wants to capitalize on their popularity.

The keyboard and GIF search engine, a direct competitor of Giphy, began to offer GIF ad sponsorships last September in an effort to monetize the short loop films. 

Now, in an effort to up its revenue stream and solidify its place in the digital advertising space, Tenor is partnering with companies like PopSugar and Rockyou by offering them GIF sponsorships to sell to advertisers.

Tenor reports 300 million users visit its platform to conduct 10 billion searches for GIFs shared billions of times a day. The company told Forbes that a mere 20% of its GIF searches come through its proprietary iOS and Android keyboards and apps. Many of its searches are coming from outside apps and platforms.

The company charges between $100,000 and $500,000 for a sponsored campaign. Champ Sports, which purchased sponsored GIFs through Whistle Sports, a Tenor media partner, saw more shares than the minimum promised by Tenor, as did Dunkin' Donuts.

Advertisers are charged by Tenor when their GIFs are shared, rather than viewed. According to the company, searches and shares are better indicators of an ad being seen by a user. The revenue gained from the short videos is split between the media company and its advertisers.

The company hopes to eventually establish itself as an advertising marketplace, like Google’s AdSense, creating self-serve tools and programmatic ad buying. To achieve this, Tenor will have to build a search engine that yields the best matches for its users to be competitive.

However, through partnerships with Hollywood studios and TV networks, the company hopes to first establish itself a place to find the highest quality and best variety of content.


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