In 2015, 😂 — a.k.a. “Face with Tears of Joy” — became Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year.
In 2016, filters — most notably Snapchat’s dog filter — became a worldwide phenomenon.
In 2017, Giphy’s users sent a total 2 billion GIFs per day.
There’s a trend here. Visual content — especially mobile visual content — is booming. And it’s not just booming; it’s becoming so popular that emojis, stickers and gifs are now firmly entrenched in pop culture.
But then, you probably knew all that. And you may even know that the 2017 Emoji film grossed 200 million USD against a $50 million budget — or that emojis and GIFs are now key in business communications.
What you likely don’t know, though, is that expressive microcontent — GIFs, emojis, stickers — is a multibillion industry.
You may also not know that an established industry leader with over 650,000+ active users is disrupting the space using blockchain technology, giving anyone with a computer or mobile phone the opportunity to participate in it.
Fortunately, this post will give you the rundown on the industry and the PEP Network project poised to disrupt it. But first, let’s talk about why (and how) visual content became so important.
The Rise of Visual Content
The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. This means that the old proverb — a picture’s worth a thousand words — is wrong. A picture’s worth sixty thousandwords.
Unfortunately, the internet couldn’t support a lot of images and videos when it first came out. In the 90s and early 00s, we didn’t have the bandwidth to make websites image-rich. For this reason, most of the early internet was text-based.
Today, though, bandwidth is virtually unlimited on both desktops and computers. Moreover, mobile devices have beautiful, high-quality screens that let users enjoy still and moving images on the go.
For these (and other) reasons, visual content is dominating the internet right now. Just think of all the biggest unicorn projects of the last 15 years. From Facebook to YouTube to Snapchat to Instagram and even Amazon and AirBnB, everything is predicated on visual content. Without it, none of these websites would work.
And that, in a nutshell, is the how and why of visual content is so important. It relays information more quickly; modern technology makes it easy to transfer and watch; the modern web (Web 3.0) features a myriad of apps and services built around it.
But not all visual content is created equal.
A decade ago, most of it was made for desktops and desktop-centric services like Facebook and Twitter. Today, mobile devices dominate the internet, driving 52.2% of all traffic. Because of this, visual content is focused on mobile devices — and we’re seeing new trends in emojis, stickers and GIFs as a result.
Mobile Visual Content
The modern web’s most popular services, from Amazon to Facebook to Tinder, are all built on visual content. But what kind of content are we talking about here?
For these older, established services, 3 kinds: photos, videos and graphics. These media types are a big value-add, especially for desktop users.
But as you already know, mobile devices are booming right now. Because of this, users are most interested in emotive microcontent — emojis, stickers, GIFs — that can enrich their mobile communications. Just consider that:
● Emojis are a worldwide phenomenon
● WeChat and Telegram allow custom stickers
● 76% of American workers have used emojis in workplace communications
● The business app — Slack — has GIPHY built into it.
In other words, mobile visual content — also known as expressive microcontent — is at the epicentre of the visual content trend right now. And the latest development in the niche is personalized expressive microcontent.
That may sound fancy — but you’ve likely made some personalized microcontent yourself. We’re talking about things like:
● Videos made using Snapchat’s filters
● Transparent-background GIFs added to Instagram posts and stories
● Animojis, which were pioneered by Mobigraph and popularized by Apple
● Custom stickers for Facebook Messenger or Telegram
Content like this combines the expressiveness of images with the personalization potential of text. Because of this, it’s the next step in visual content; the future of messaging and social communications, from business e-mails to Facebook chats.
The only problem is that so far, one simple problem has curbed the potential adoption of personalized microcontent.
The Problem With Personalized Content
Demand for microcontent (GIFs, stickers, emojis) is high. So is interest in personalized microcontent. So why aren’t we seeing more personalization in this niche right now?
The problem is simple. Many people don’t have the processing power, or the know-how, to create custom content effectively.
This includes many designers and developers who have the skill to work with visuals, but lack the GPU to process them in an age of HD, 3D, VR and other next-gen technologies. It also includes users who have processing power but lack the necessary skills.
Compounding the problem is the fact that there’s no centralized marketplace for microcontent. This makes it difficult for people to buy (and sell) its personalization, curbing demand.
Together, these 2 problems mean personalized microcontent isn’t feasible for the average user.
Look at it this way. The world’s most popular advanced smartphone — the iPhone X — lets you record an 11-second Animoji video. It also lets you do simple things, like add a GIF to your image, using Instagram — but nothing too fancy.
But let’s say you want to pay someone to personalize your brand or personal content. Then what? There’s no simple way to buy this kind of personalization. And so, users are neither able to buy nor create the content they want.
Because of this problem, content personalization just isn’t feasible for the mass market. Or at least it wasn’t until one of the major players in the niche came up with a blockchain protocol set to change things for developers, designers, end users and agencies.
The Disruption Opportunity
The problem is twofold: personalized microcontent no centralized marketplace, and its creators often lack processing power. This discourages niche participation, and prevents mass adoption.
To tackle both problems, Mobigraph — whose previous microcontent projects have over 650,000+ users — is using the power of the blockchain.
Specifically, Mobigraph’s new protocol and application (PEP Network) does two things.
First, it redistributes GPU from idle devices and render farms. This means anyone with a computer, tablet or mobile phone that has excess GPU can make money by “mining”, i.e. sharing their excess power via the blockchain.
On the other side of things, creators get all this excess processing power, which enables them to make personalized microcontent — even if it features 3D, VR and other advanced technologies.
This is the first part of the PEP Network app and protocol. The second part is a centralized marketplace where users can buy, sell and otherwise trade pre-made and personalized content.
With these 2 functions, PEP Network solves both problems endemic to the space, and makes personalized content a reality for agencies, designers, content creators and end users.
What does this mean?
It means that marketers and other workers can personalize e-mails, instant messages and other forms of communication with their own customized images, videos and more.
It also means that consumers can do the same within instant messengers and social networks by personalizing stickers, emojis, GIFs and more.
Perhaps most importantly, this system is incentivizes all agents to participate. Anyone with a smartphone can make an extra buck by cooperating, which solves the problem of “how’re we going to get all this GPU, again?”
Visual content is dominating the internet — especially as mobile devices become more and more important.
One specific kind of content that’s booming is emotive microcontent: things like GIFs, emojis and stickers that are used to “jazz up” our communications.
As the multibillion dollar niche matures, personalization will become a big part of it. RIght now, though, this isn’t possible for 2 reasons: designers and developers don’t have the GPU, and the marketplace is too centralized.
PEP Network aims to solve both problems by redistributing GPU to creators, rewarding users for sharing their GPU, and giving all agents a single marketplace from which to buy and sell personalized content.
Thank you for reading!