2020… how do we even begin to describe this year? It’s safe to say we haven’t experienced anything like it before. The world was shaken by a global pandemic that significantly changed everyday life for billions of people; we saw incredible solidarity as people came together to support the Black Lives Matter movement and speak out against police brutality; we witnessed a historic presidential election… in short, it was a year. And let’s be real, it was by no means an easy one.
Because of this, we truly did not know what to expect as we prepared to pull our most-viewed GIFs of the year. What sentiment would they reflect? What emotions were most-searched during these turbulent times? The answer — as you’ll see below — was actually very encouraging.
Amid all of the craziness this year, love and thoughtfulness dominated the Top 25 Most-Viewed GIFs of 2020. People sending encouragement to loved ones they could not see in person, partners like Into Action creating inspirational content to help drive conversations around social justice, and much more. Additionally, we’re excited to see that so many of this year’s top GIFs come from our artist community. This is a strong testament to the work of artists on GIPHY and their ability to create GIFs that are not only culturally relevant, but undeniably fun to use. Artists and creators alike are indispensable to GIPHY, and — from improved attribution to new freelance features — we are excited to expand our work with artists and creators into the New Year and beyond.
To kick things off, here are the Top-Viewed Channels of the year!
- Top 5 Most-Viewed Partner Channels: Advocacy clearly had its impact in 2020 with Into Action garnering the most partner channel views — 21,453,596,191 views to be exact! Close behind Into Action came major entertainment and sports partners, including SNL, the NFL, NBA, and Netflix — all boasting incredible view counts for the year.
- Top 5 Most-Viewed Artist Channels: Nora Fikse took the lead as our most-viewed Artist channel this year! Close behind her channel are the amazing artists Megan Motown, Sarah Palmer, A is for Ai, and Mat Voyce.
We’re so thankful to our community of creators who make GIPHY the platform it has become today and we sincerely hope that — wherever you may find yourself these days — that this list brings some animated and loopy positivity to your year.
Now let’s get to those Top 25 GIFs…
- “Thank You” by Red & Howling — 1,061,535,526 views
It’s rare for a single event to impact the entire world and everyone in it, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s exactly what happened. Thus, the overwhelming sense of gratitude for medical staff and essential workers was also universal, which is a truly beautiful thing. This GIF is the perfect way to show appreciation for all frontline workers who have been working around the clock in extreme conditions just to keep the rest of us safe and healthy!
2. “Grateful for You” by GIPHY Cares — 948,335,721 views
The GIPHY Cares initiative launched in April and featured new custom GIFs, emojis, and stickers to help spread positivity and support as the world was changing. This top GIF represents how much appreciation we had for each other.
3. “I Love You” by RisuDong — 917,045,574 views
“I Love You” is consistently one of the top-searched terms on GIPHY. GIF users all over the world are looking for cute and endearing ways to brighten their loved ones’ day. This cute GIF from illustrators Risu and Dong does that perfectly.
4. “I Love You” by Rain to Me — 863,826,912 views
As we took to maintaining all of our relationships online, “virtual” versions of already popular searches naturally became popular as well. So, searches like “virtual hug” increased, and this GIF by Rain to Me is adorable, sweet, and comforting, which is what most people needed during lockdown.
5. “Long Distance Love” by Chibird — 710,944,919 views
We all needed to send and get some love this year. This animated GIF by Chibird perfectly depicts sending the purest of love in a time of social-distancing and long distance.
6. “OK!” by Mochimochiland — 540,192,916 views
Has there ever been a more adorable way to express teamwork, enthusiasm, or a high five via a GIF? We think not!
7. “Happy Dance” by Sesame Street — 493,304,934 views
For decades now, Elmo has been putting smiles on faces! Condense all that fur and emotion into a GIF, and you have a perfect little happy dance!
8. “Dumpster fire” by 100% Soft — 437,896,231 views
Existential dread… but make it cute. 2020 may not have been the year the term “dumpster fire” was coined, but it certainly has been the year that most exemplifies its meaning. It’s no wonder so many people used this kawaii dumpster fire GIF from 100% Soft to express themselves.
9. “We Will Get Through This” by Into Action — 423,529,288 views
Into Action’s team made GIFs this year that were as incredible as they were timely. Many of the messages in their GIFs and stickers were motivational and provided hope to many, especially during the beginning of COVID-19 when uncertainty and anxiety was seemingly unmanageable.
10. “Billie Eilish ‘LOL’” by the BRIT Awards — 421,554,616 views
Billie Eilish is authentic and true to herself in her music, style and also her self-expressions — clearly seen from this GIF below. It’s the most emotive “LOL” and can be used in so many situations.
11. “Virtual Hug” by Kochstrasse — 409,802,214 views
The virtual hug might have been coined years ago, but it became entrenched in our animated vocabulary in 2020. Really have to thank German based Kochstrasse for this perfect visual depiction!
12. “Keep Spreading Positivity” by YouTube — 402,784,006 views
We love a GIF with a message and we can really get behind this one. During such a hard year, one of the best ways you can spend your energy is cheering up the people in your life. This GIF is a nice reminder.
13. “I Love You” by Parrotlet Post — 401,950,424 views
It’s a bird gently showing you a heart. What more can we say? That’s soothing content right there.
14. “I Love You” by Corgiyolk — 374,495,426 views
As we mentioned earlier, “love” is one of the most popular search terms on GIPHY. So it’s no surprise that this cute corgi won hearts by sending out a heart! Dogs & Hearts is a combination that is sure to reach the top. This “I love you” GIF by Corgiyolk had to be cor-related to high views!
15. “Shaun the Sheep Yoga” by Aardman Animation — 373,451,542 views
The pandemic caused a lot of stress, grief, and anxiety that was felt on a global level, so it makes sense that users took to GIPHY to search for messages of zen and calmness — as depicted in this GIF — to likely share with loved ones.
16. “Alien dancing” by DOMCAKE — 372,892,777 views
Yup, this is an instant winner. The vibrant colors, the dance, the smile, the cute factor! It’s got positivity written all over it, and we’re all suckers for that.
17. “Eurovision ‘I Love You’” by Netflix — 368,783,186 views
This GIF of Will Ferrell singing “I Love You” is a fun way to express your love for someone. The movie “Eurovision” gave us a ton of great GIFs, but this one got the most views, probably because of its high usability!
18. “2020 Trash” by Robert E Blackmon — 366,187,487 views
In the year where the list of bad things seemed to never end, GIPHY Creator Robert E. Blackmon perfectly encapsulated what we all wish we could do to move on to better times.
19. “Happy Birthday” by Jelene — 359,897,265 views
While we couldn’t celebrate everything face to face this year, we know for a fact that technology helped us celebrate in the safest of ways! This “Happy Birthday” GIF by Jelene helped us do exactly that. Sending wishes via this fun colorful GIF is sure to put a smile on the receiver’s face :)
20. “Over It” by Jasmine Masters — 359,549,504 views
All of us, to 2020.
21. “Video Games” by Takadabear — 357,866,255 views
Where our gamers at? With a pandemic keeping a lot of us quarantined, these two bears kicked it old school with the console and kicked 2020 in the butt with some friendly competition.
22. “Quarantine” by Jason Clarke — 356,125,205 views
A situation many of us can relate to: getting your yoga gear on with the best of intentions only to chomp on a big bowl of snacks.
23. “You’re Enough” by Shercle — 353,390,971 views
This GIF is so cute! Like many other GIFs on this list, this one by Shercle is a sincere expression of caring. Sending it to someone who is having a bad day might be just what they needed.
24. “Keep Your Distance” by William Garratt — 340,219,451 views
These days, you can truly never have enough reminders for people to keep their distance to stay safe and healthy! This perfectly looping GIF by William Garratt was a great way to share that reminder.
25. “Wash ‘em!” by GIPHY Originals — 339,442,081 views
This one is pretty self explanatory. Wash your hands, wash ’em, do it! And don’t forget to moisturize. Your skin will thank you! — Sincerely, your GIPHY dermatologists.