If you’ve been on social media, you’ll already know how popular GIFs have become.
Tweets using a GIF receive 55% more engagement, and popular GIF website Giphy boasts 300 million daily active users. GIFs pop up in comment threads, discussion boards, instant messaging and other informal communications as a way to animate and express a little more than text usually allows.
It’s no surprise that these little moving pictures are now making a splash on Instagram, especially on Instagram Stories. You can really be eye-catching, humorous and culturally relevant with a well-placed GIF.
We want to explore exactly what makes GIFs so beneficial for enhancing your content’s engagement, and also show you how to create your own custom branded GIF for your Instagram Stories to improve your brand awareness and feed cohesion.
Why People Love GIFs in Instagram Stories & How to Make Custom Branded GIFs
GIFs offer more than a simple video on loop. They’re essentially a way to convey emotions, especially those that may be difficult to put into words.
GIFs are hugely popular on social media for captivating an audience, and creating a connection between account owner and audience. Putting GIFs in Instagram Stories grabs attention and adds a creative edge to the typical Story.
First, the nuts-and-bolts of adding GIFs to your Stories and an overview of uploading your own custom GIFs to be used in Instagram Stories.
Then we’ll dive into just how much real-world value using these tiny animations can have for your business’ online image.
In 2018, Instagram teamed up with Giphy to deliver a library of GIFs to Story users:
Instead of traditional GIFs, Giphy has the option to make sticker GIFs, which have no background layer so that they can be seamlessly integrated onto an image or video without a square shape around them.
Creating a branded GIF is a little more complex than simply adding a GIF sticker, but there are nearly-unlimited numbers of pre-made GIF animations that might be just what you needed for getting your point across.
Animated GIF stickers can be placed over video or images on Instagram Stories.
How to Add an Animated GIF Sticker:
(Before adding any GIF stickers, ensure you have the latest version of Instagram installed.)
- From Instagram’s Home screen, tap in the left top area on the Your Story icon.
- Take a photo or add it from your gallery. Alternatively, add/create a video.
- When you’ve chosen, tap on the smiley face sticker icon at the top of the next screen.
- Select the GIF option from the sticker menu.
- Use the search bar to find your desired GIF or choose from the trending GIF section.
- When you’ve found your chosen GIF, tap it to place it on your Instagram story.
- The gif can be moved by holding it down and dragging. Drag to bottom to delete.
- You can resize the GIF by pinching it, and rotate it with two fingers.
- Add any additional GIFs, stickers or text you like and publish your Instagram story to your feed.
How to Create Your Own GIFs for Instagram
Adding your own animated GIF allows you to build a cohesive brand image on your social media account and have more control over what gets associated with your image.
As we mentioned, Instagram uses Giphy to power their animated GIFs.
With Giphy you can upload your very own animated GIF to use on your Instagram stories.
Firstly, you’ll need to open a Giphy account. Simply click the button (Join Giphy) to apply as an artist or brand:
Fill in your business information and contact details and submit. You’ll receive an email from Giphy letting you know that they’ll be in contact with you shortly.
In the meantime, you can start filling in your Giphy profile – ensure your Giphy account is set to public and fill in the information about your brand, including links to your website and social media accounts:
Once your application is approved and verified, you can start to add your GIFs.
If you know how, you can design your own branded GIFS, or you can hire a graphic designer, or use Giphy artists.
It’s important to upload them as stickers and not as traditional GIFs, so that the animation will be placed on a transparent background. Simply switch off the background layer when creating your GIF to transform it into a GIF sticker.
Use your business name for tags. Also, add descriptive tags to describe each of your GIFs. Your GIFs should have at least 5 tags — other Instagram users will be able to use your GIFs by searching for them in the GIF option of the sticker menu on their Instagram Stories.
You’ll be able to see your GIF’s analytics on Giphy, including views and uploads. This will let you see how popular your GIFs are with other users, as well as determining how popular your Instagram Stories are with your audience.
Your Instagram page should look on-brand and beautiful.
Highlight covers make your page look cohesive and well-branded, especially when they’re done right.
We can create 5 specially designed Story highlight covers for your brand for only $47!
What Type of GIFs to Create
When creating your brand GIFs, it’s important to consider both your audience and how other users are going to interact with your GIFs.
For example, if you’re a cosmetics brand, your followers are likely to be beauty fans, so creating GIFs relating to this subject or popular people within the beauty industry is going to entice them to use your GIFs.
When Creating your GIF Stickers, Use the Specifications Supplied by Giphy:
- Stickers need to be uploaded as GIF format files.
- 500 to 600 px in size (height and width should be even-numbered)
- RGB color
- 20% transparent pixels when exporting
- No maximum file size (will affect loading speed)
After you’ve uploaded your own animated GIFs, they will be visible on your Giphy profile page. Make sure you test your new GIFs out on your own Instagram Stories.
Why an Instagram Story GIF is Good for Engagement
GIF stickers for Instagram Stories are fairly small in size, but they’re fun and eye-catching.
You can use your own GIFs to celebrate a new product or service launch, or you can simply show off your new stickers on your Stories, making them more interesting and encouraging your audience to use them on their own.
Unlike Snapchat, which only offers users limited stickers, Instagram allows you to create your own branded GIFs can help you with a surprising number of business goals.
Show Your Brand’s Personality
People connect with the brands that show their human side. Using cute or funny GIFs in your stories gives them a personal touch.
Instead of viewing your account as a business, your audience begins to see that there is a person behind the account. By humanizing your Stories, you start to build a more meaningful connection with your audience.
Showcase a Product Launch
Draw attention to a new offering by using your branded sticker GIFs. Add humor or emotion to represent your new product, service or line. It’s much more entertaining than simply discussing your news in a conventional way.
You can use existing reactions by simply searching for ‘happy’ or ‘excited’ in the search bar to discover the perfect GIF for your Stories.
Draw Attention to a Call to Action
Want your audience to swipe up? Using an animated GIF draws attention to your request. Promote a campaign or ask your audience to vote in a poll – whatever content you decide to use on your stories, appropriate GIFs help to engage other users.
Promote your Brand
Having your own branded animated GIFs helps to promote your business via user-generated content. When others use your GIF, they’re offering you valuable marketing tools and feedback.
Vitamin brand Ritual allows users to share their branded GIFs, such as their logo and slogans:
Add Character to Your Stories
No-one wants to watch a long, boring Instagram story, especially if it’s someone simply talking to the camera. Even if your content is extremely useful, captivating your audience for any kind of speech can be difficult.
Using branded Instagram Story GIFs and regular GIFs from the search library, alongside question stickers and polls will enable your audience to feel more integrated with–and engaged by–your content.
GIFs add character to your Instagram Stories, helping to grow your audience and customer base.
Stay Relevant in an Ever-Changing Online World
The digital world is constantly evolving and, as incredibly popular as GIFs are with users, you can create unique content which helps your brand to stand out from the crowd.
Whether you wish to use your own branded GIF stickers, a GIF effect like snow or confetti over your static images, or a pinned GIF appearing at a particular moment in your video, using animated GIFs on your Instagram Stories can add an element of surprise and creativity.
Save Time on Adding Branded Graphics
Creating a library of branded GIFs which you can add to your Instagram stories saves you time in the long run on creating additional elements one at a time.
You can plan your stories in advance using a graphics platform like Easil or Canva to create your images. Just remember to save space for where you’d like to add your GIF.
You can enhance both text or images by adding animated GIFs – but use them sparingly, as too many GIFs may encourage users to swipe off.
The Perfect GIFs for Your Instagram Stories
People love using GIFs to communicate their emotions or to add a fun edge to their social media posts, and people love seeing them used creatively.
Adding branded GIFs on Instagram stories attracts your audience’s attention – whether you’re drawing attention to a call to action or adding an effect to your text or image. There are so many creative possibilities when using GIFs that sometimes a little restraint is required!
Use this new way of connecting with your audience to promote your brand and connect with users on an emotional level. You’ll boost Instagram engagement levels, build a loyal following, grow your brand awareness and enhance your own creativity.