8 Ways To Empower Instagram Stories Using GIF Stickers

Instagram Stories have been gaining more and more popularity, with over 300 million users as of now. The Snapchat-like feature which allows you to create photo and video sequences that disappear after 24-hours has already surpassed Snapchat’s user count in 2017 and is only bound to get bigger in the coming months.

We know that Instagram Stories pose an amazing opportunity for the many business profiles that use the platform to post engaging visual content. On an average, one in five Stories receives a direct message. This means a higher chance of establishing a relationship with a potential customer by posting an Instagram Story, which directly translates into a new lead.

Instagram’s relentless attempts to keep Instagram Stories exciting and fresh by adding cool new features to it every other week is just an added advantage.

Instagram started this year off by introducing GIF stickers in the Stories and we couldn’t have been more excited! Instagram has collaborated with GIPHY to build a whole library of fun, animated stickers that you can choose from.

Are you wondering how you can use a GIF in the Instagram Story in the best possible way? Look no further! In this post, you will find everything you need to know in terms of Instagram Stories and GIFs.

With the help of this step by step guide on how to use GIFs in your Instagram Story, you can really create some exciting new content!

Why Should You Use GIFs In Instagram Stories?

GIFs are more than just popular, looping video clips – they are a language of their own. They have been around for a long time, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. It is not difficult to understand what it is about these silly, animated pictures that people seem to love so much. They make up for a variety of emotional cues that just cannot be put into words on social media.

Simply put, they give you a chance to express yourself better. In fact, in a survey commissioned by Tenor, nearly two-thirds of millennials said GIFs did a better job than words. A majority of people in the same survey also agreed that using GIFs with people made them feel “more connected to them”.

More and more brands have realised the power of GIFs and have begun incorporating them into their brand image on social media. Using GIFs can be a great way of connecting with your customers by creating relatable content.

And Instagram is making it easier for you! Using the new GIF stickers feature in Instagram Stories has to be one of the best practices of 2018. It’s a quick way to create new engaging content. You can get creative without spending too much time, or expenses required for video content. You can liven up any dull photo!

If you still haven’t considered using Instagram Story GIFs, here’s a breakdown into why you should. Using GIF Stickers can help you:

  1. Connect emotionally with your audience.
  2. Add personality to your Instagram stories.
  3. Stay relevant in the digital world.
  4. Boost your engagement on Instagram.
  5. Save a lot of time and effort coming up with creative graphics.
  6. Build a loyal following.

Are you now ready to start embellishing your Instagram Stories with cool GIF stickers?

The Basics: How To Put GIFs In Instagram Stories

Adding a GIF sticker to your Instagram Story is extremely easy!

Step 1: After taking your desired photo or recording video content, you will see a sticker icon on the top right. This opens up a menu with a bunch of options such as Hashtags, Location, Poll. This is where you can now see a new GIF option as well.

Best way to put gifs in Instagram stories and hashtags
GIFs In Instagram Stories

Step 2: Once you tap on that, you will have access to a library full of hundreds of thousands of moving stickers powered by GIPHY.

You will see a search bar and all the trending GIFs first. You can use the search bar for something more specific if you’d like.

step by step guide for use of gifs in Instagram stories
Access GIPHY GIFs on Instagram stories

ultimate guide for using gifs in Instagram stories
How to search for GIFs in Instagram

Step 3: Once you have selected the perfect GIF, you can then pinch it to resize it and drag it to adjust its placement. You can tap and hold your GIF to pin it to a place if you are using it in a video.

It is as simple as that! You have an entire library full of dancing, swirling, blinking animations to make your Instagram Stories attention-grabbing and engaging!

The Basics: How To Plan Your GIFs In Advance

If you are a brand, you are most likely to have a certain content strategy when it comes to Instagram Stories. You must be planning your Instagram Stories days in advance by using templates.

Tools like Canva and Easil are great for making and finding ready-made templates. When creating your story using one of the templates, make sure you save space in your design where you would like to place the GIF.

Forgetting to leave some space and adding a GIF as an afterthought can result in a chaotic design for your Instagram Story, and you want to avoid that.

How to utilise Instagram GIFs to enhance Instagram
Original template from Canva

 Enhanced image after using Instagram GIFs
Enhanced image after using Instagram GIFs


In this example, we have used a template from Canva. On the left is the original template, with the upper half left intentionally blank. The image on the right is the template after it was uploaded onto Instagram Stories, with a GIF added into the blank space.

If you need ideas on how to put GIFs in Instagram Stories, we have a few tips to get you started. Keep reading for some fun, creative ways in which you can use Instagram Story GIFs!

Creative Ways For Using GIFs In Instagram Stories

When using Instagram Stories GIFs, keep in mind that the content you end up with aligns with your social media marketing goals – this means using the right GIFs that suit your brand. You want to create content that will make you stand out, that will attract a potential customers attention and make you followers want to tune in everyday for more.

Here are a few ideas you can borrow to make your brand stand out:

1. Pin Your Instagram Stories GIFs

If you want to add a little surprise element to your Stories, you can ‘pin’ your GIFs so that they only pop up at certain moments! Like so:

Best way to put GIFs in Instagram stories for best engagement
Interesting way of using GIFs in stories

This makes your Stories interesting and fun!

To pin your GIF, tap and hold your GIF where you want to pin it. You can further adjust its placement by scrolling along the bar at the bottom. When you are happy with your placement, hit the button ‘Pin’ and wait for the magic!

By pinning your GIF to your Instagram Story video, you can make sure they pop up at the perfect moment and keep your viewers hooked.

2. Create Different Effects Using GIFS

Have you grown tired of the filters that Instagram has to offer? Now you can create your own effects using Instagram Stories GIFs!

By resizing and changing the direction of GIFs, you can add some great creativity to your content. To resize your GIF, all you have to do is pinch it or expand it with two fingers – like you would any other sticker or text.

You can find tons of cool effects in the GIPHY library. You can then choose one of them, enlarge and move them to a specific place and then you’re done!

Try searching ‘snow’ for instance, if you want to give a lively wintery effect to your photo or video!

Steps to create a snow effect on Instagram stories

Step by step guide to create a snow effect on Instagram stories

You can also search ‘effects’ and you will be lead to a number of sparkly, animated confetti, which you can then add for some magical effect!

How to use Instagram GIFs to beautify the stories

If your GIF isn’t as you want it to be, you can easily adjust its placement or flip it. Changing the direction of your GIF can help you ensure it fits well on your screen.

3. Use Instagram Stories GIFs To Liven Up Your Text

Ever since Instagram introduced the new ‘Type’ Mode in Instagram Stories, things have been easier for brands who wish to post text-heavy content.

The problem with text-only Stories, though, is that not a lot of people pause to actually read them, skipping through your Stories to the next one instead. If you want to grab your viewer’s attention, you can add GIFs to highlight your text.

Look at Liza Chloe, an art director who often adds sparkles to the edges of her texts.

This makes the text stand out and immediately demand to be read. Try searching for keywords like ‘sparkle’, ‘stars’, ‘highlight’ and other keywords related to your text that can help your text stand out! Here are a few extra examples:

The GIPHY library also has a huge collection of text based GIFs, which you could incorporate in your Story, by replacing a word with a GIF for instance. Just put your desired keyword in the search bar and select what you like! Remember to test out multiple keywords to make sure you find exactly what you are looking for.

Guide to create GIFs and use on Instagram Stories

Ultimate guide for Instagram GIFs

4. Make Your Photos Come To Life With Creative GIFs

While you don’t want to take away value from your photo, adding a small GIF can really bring your image to life. A little movement can attract your viewer’s attention and make them want to look at your photo a little while longer.

You want to make sure that you use Instagram Stories GIFs sparingly, so as to not distract the viewer from the actual photograph. If your Story is filled with too many moving GIFs, the Story can get quite confusing, which will result in the viewer skipping it.

5. Use Instagram Stories GIFs To Grab Your Viewer’s Attention

We have established by now that GIFs can be great for grabbing your viewer’s attention. And not just for your text, either!

You can add specific call to actions using GIFs, so that they are more appealing to your followers. For example, you can type up some call to action keywords in the search bar such as ‘swipe up’, ‘sound on’, ‘link in the bio’, ‘new post’, etc. to let your viewer know what exactly you want them to do.

You can even add animated arrows and other animated cues to direct your audience where you want them – arrows pointing upwards if you want them to swipe up or arrows pointing to the next slide.

A flashy, moving arrow directing them where to go is exactly what will make your audience stop in their tracks and follow your cues.

6. Use GIFs as reactions

Remember that a large part of the GIF world consists of reaction GIFs that people use especially to express themselves on the Internet. As a brand, the best way you can connect with your audience, is if you understand their behavior and align your own brand image along those same lines.

By using reaction GIFs, you can connect with your audience on an emotional level to get your message across. For example, if you are telling a real story or explaining some facts, it’s a good idea to throw in some reaction GIFs to make sure it doesn’t get boring.

These can lighten up the story, give it a personality and show your customers that you too are human.

You can put in keywords like ‘sad’, ‘happy’, ‘dancing’, ‘bored’, etc, to find the perfect reaction GIF.

While adding reaction GIFs to your Stories is fun, do make sure you aren’t going overboard with them. Using only one or two per slide is advisable.

7. Improve Your Selfie Game By Using Instagram GIFs

Make your selfie extra cute by adding some animated props!

The GIPHY library offers some great animated props such as hats, sunglasses, moustaches, jewellery and more to help you create your own custom filters!

Best way to include the GIPHY library on Instagram Stories

While you won’t be posting this kind of content to your Instagram often, it’s a great way to show your followers some behind-the-scenes content and add personality to your brand name.

Don’t be afraid to have some fun! Engaging with your followers isn’t always easy, but Instagram is constantly helping you experiment and analyse what kind of content works best for you! You followers may not be encouraged to engage with your brand if all you post is formal-sounding, commercial advertisements.

8. Create Your Own Branded Instagram Stories GIFs With GIPHY

You can create your own GIF stickers with GIPHY!

Creating your own stickers allows other people to use them in their Stories, which allows you to increase brand awareness and have fun at the same time!

Last year, Gary Vaynerchuk created a collection of GIFs that you can search in the GIPHY library with the keyword ‘@garyvee’ along with other popular business-related ones. His collection includes various animated texts and icons that align with his brand. By doing the same, you can promote your brand and connect with your audience!

You will need to have a verified account to create GIFs with GIPHY. GIPHY itself advises you that a good sticker is simple, eye-catching, and fun. They can be made from video content or be illustrated.

To learn more about how to create searchable GIFs with GIPHY, click here.


Instagram integrating with GIPHY to give us the new GIF Stickers feature is the best thing to happen in 2018.

People already love GIFs because they are a way to communicate emotions without having to put them into words, something that gets difficult when it comes to social media. Having the ability to put GIF Stickers in Instagram Stories means a new, fun way to express yourself. And for marketers, it means a new, fun way of engaging with your audience. You can measure the impact of your Instagram Stories through a social media analytics tool like Unbox Social.

There are loads of creative ways to use GIF Stickers in your Stories! You can make them pop up at certain moments in your video by pinning them. You can use them to create effects, props for your selfies or even just to add sparkles to your texts! Most importantly, you can attract your followers’ attention by using GIFs to highlight your call to actions.

Your audience is bound to love them! It can help them relate to you on an emotional level. This can do wonders for your engagement rate!

There are no limits to how you use GIF Stickers in your Instagram Stories, the creative possibilities are endless! Just remember to have fun and don’t overdo it.

Hope you enjoyed all the Instagram stories best practices. Tell us in comments which one was your favourite.


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