Tenor, maker of a GIF app, introduced Tenor Insights, a tool providing real-time data on how people express emotion using short video clips played on a loop.

The company also announced a proprietary advertising product enabling brands to promote their content to Tenor’s audience of 200 million monthly users.

“This opportunity to natively integrate content and activate consumers as brand advocates represents an important first step in making GIFs a powerful new tool for marketers,” the company said in a statement.

Designed for marketers and content partners, Tenor Insights provides a view into “which emotions are running hot, what topics are trending, and how people are expressing themselves visually in mobile messages.”

Marketers can use this information to target audiences with branded GIFs promoted in the Tenor app’s search results.

The tool is powered by the Tenor Emotional Graph, built on data from more than 200 million daily Tenor searches, helping marketers understand which search terms to associate with their branded GIFs, and how to maximise opportunities based on reactions to big events or shifts in behaviour over time.

Tenor’s new offering highlights top emotions expressed in mobile messages using GIFs, including a view into variations caused by time and events.

It also sheds light on trending search terms, “representing a view into the intersection of pop culture and emotional expression,” the company said.

Jason Krebs, Tenor’s chief business officer, said while millions of people use GIFs to communicate, their potential as a marketing tool has gone untapped because the value is not in the GIF itself, but rather in understanding how people use this medium to express themselves in mobile messages.

He told Venture Beats it is “too soon to tell whether people will jump head over heels for this new paradigm,” but noted “brands have a lot of stories to tell” and in the future GIFs could play a significant role.