Twitter has added native support for GIFs, thanks to its partnership with Giphy and Riffsy. Over the “coming weeks,” the company says it will roll out a new GIF button for both its iOS and Android apps, as well as on Twitter.com.
When the feature is enabled, you can press the GIF button located within the compose tweet window to search for the image that best represents your reaction or sentiments. Select the image and it will appear within the tweet — no longer will you be limited to sending a link when using a GIF from Giphy or from Riffsy’s keyboard.
You can search by key word or browse categories of reactions, such as YOLO (you only live once), mic drop, or “happy dance.” GIFs can be added in both tweets and direct messages.
While Twitter has brought GIFs to its mobile and web apps, as with polling, the capability is still missing from TweetDeck. So users of the desktop app won’t be able to easily add in GIFs.
Whether this native support for animated GIFs will result in more engagement by Twitter’s 320 million monthly active users remains to be seen. However, as the company seeks to position itself as the place for conversations about live events and chats with friends, it would be remiss if it didn’t support native GIF integrations. After all, what fun is expressing your views about the latest sporting event or presidential debate if you have pause and click on a link to see what’s been shared.
“So much can be expressed with GIFs, and the key is to find just the right one in the moment that quickly and efficiently expresses your emotions,” said Riffsy CEO David McIntosh.
In a blog post, he also touted the power of Riffsy’s API, which Twitter has tapped into, specifically the ability to surface the most relevant GIFs when needed: “This position provides us with a valuable and rich data set that enables us to surface the right content to users based on trends, time of day, location, and more. Relevance is also fueled by user uploads, which have quadrupled over the past few months. How does this translate for our API partners? Riffsy’s focus on exposing the right content leads to a daily use case; 60 percent of Riffsy’s users turn back to us to find and share GIFs five or more days of the week.”
This release follows news from Riffsy competitor Giphy that the GIF search engine has raised $55 million at a $300 million valuation.
It also makes Twitter one of the latest services to embrace native GIF support, following iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and even Peach, some of those enabled due to the integration with Riffsy’s GIF keyboard for iOS and Android devices. News of this feature was first reported by TechCrunch earlier this month.