7 Creative Ways to Use GIFs on Instagram Stories

By Lexie Carbone

Published May 28, 2018

8 minute read

Using GIFs on Instagram is a great way to grab your viewer’s attention and highlight certain elements in your story! Discover new ways you can add GIFs to your Instagram Stories that your followers will love.


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If you’ve been looking for ways to create content that is more attention-grabbing, creative, and engaging, using  Instagram Stories GIFs might be the answer!

Earlier this year, Instagram teamed up with GIPHY to build a library of high-quality GIFs on Instagram Stories. Now you can add fun, expressive GIF stickers to any photo or video in your story.

GIFs are also a great tool for businesses to create perfectly branded Instagram Stories that are guaranteed to delight your followers!

Ready to get started? Here are 7 creative ways to use GIFs on Instagram Stories:

How to Add GIFs on Instagram Stories

Adding GIFs on Instagram Stories is easy! When you tap to add a sticker to a photo or video in stories, you’ll now see a new GIF option. Tap it and you’ll find a library full of hundreds of thousands of moving stickers powered by GIPHY.

To access the GIF stickers, tap the add sticker button at the top of stories as usual. From there, select the new GIF option and a library of GIFs will appear.

Here you’ll have the option to browse trending GIFs on GIPHY, or search its entire library. Once you find the perfect GIF, select it to add it to your photo or video:

With the new GIPHY integration you now have a library filled with blinking, flashing, and swirling animations to keep your viewers tuning in for more!

Using this feature in a consistent way can add a ton of personality to your Instagram Stories and help you build a loyal following. You can get a step-by-step Instagram tutorial about how to add GIFs to Instagram Stories here.

Tip #1: Use Instagram Stories GIFs to Direct Your Followers’ Attention

Using Instagram Stories GIFs is a great way to grab your viewer’s attention and highlight certain elements in your story.

For example, you can search for GIFs with call-to-action keywords like “swipe-up,” “link in bio,” “sound on” and other cues to let your audience know exactly what you want them to do:  

You can also add arrows and other signals to help direct your followers to the next slide.

While many people tend to speed-tap their way through Instagram Stories, viewers are much more likely to stop in their tracks when a flashy, moving sticker catches their eye.

Tip #2: Pin Your Instagram Stories GIFs

Want to add a surprise element to your Instagram Stories? You can “pin” Instagram Stories GIFs to a specific location on your video, so they only pop up at certain moments. This makes your story stand out and keeps it more interesting!

Pin your GIF in the desired location by tapping and hold the screen until you see a little bar at the bottom that says “pin.”

Find the subject in the video you want to pin to by scrolling along the bar, moving the GIF to where you’d like it placed, and then hitting “pin.”

If you aren’t happy with the placement, you can tap and hold the GIF and repeat the process.

By pinning GIFs on Instagram Stories videos, you can make sure they show up at the perfect moment and keep your viewers engaged!

Tip #3. Resize & Reverse Instagram Stories GIFs to Create Different Effects

Changing the size and direction of your GIFs on Instagram Stories are a great way to add some creativity to your content.

You can increase and decrease the size of any GIF by pinching or expanding it with two fingers — just like you would for regular Instagram Stories stickers or text.

The GIPHY library has tons of cool effects you can add to your story — for example, by enlarging your GIF you can easily create a snowy background for a winter scene:

Want to add some magic to your image? Throw in a bit of sparkle with a shimmering animation:

If your GIF isn’t in the right position, simply tap to reverse its direction. Changing the direction of your GIF can help you make sure it fits well with your image or video.

Want to take your Instagram Stories to the next level? Watch this free video to learn how you can design stunning stories:

Like what you see? Watch more videos like this in our free Instagram Stories for Business course!

Tip #4: Use Instagram Stories GIFs to Highlight Your Text

If you want to make your text stand out, Instagram Stories GIFs are a great way to grab your viewer’s attention and keep them from skipping through your story.  

Art Director, Liza Chloe often adds some sparkle to the edges of her text to catch her audience’s eye:

Enter keywords such as “sparkle,” “stars,” or “highlight” in the GIF search bar to find GIFs that can help make your text stand out.

If you’re looking for a common word or phrase, the GIPHY library also has a huge selection of text-based GIFs you can add to your story. While it may take a bit of searching, there are hundreds of different options to choose from! Make sure to try out different keywords in your search to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Tip #5: Use GIFs To Make Your Images Come to Life

Make your images come to life by adding an animated element to your photo. While your GIF shouldn’t take away from your image, adding movement to your story is a great way to catch your follower’s interest.

Here’s an example of a cute cafe, including a small GIF in the scene. As you can see, the GIF doesn’t take away from the photo, but adds a fun element to the story:

While adding different GIFs to your Instagram Stories can be a lot of fun, you’ll want to make sure you use them sparingly. Only add GIFs to your story where they make sense and are a good fit for the content you’re sharing.

Since GIFs are moving stickers, adding too many can be distracting or confusing, and will probably  result in your followers exiting your story.

As with anything you post on social media, you’ll want to ensure that your story content aligns with your business’ branding and overall marketing goals – and that now includes choosing the right GIFs!

Tip #6: Take Your Selfies to the Next Level with GIFs on Instagram Stories

We all love a good selfie filter, and now you can create your own using Instagram Stories GIFs!

Now sure how?

The GIPHY library offers hundreds of animated props such as sunglasses, moustaches, hats, jewelry and more to help you add some fun to your selfies:

GIF via Instagram

Fashion Designer, Anine Bing recently shared this selfie rocking a pair of GIF sunglasses:

While you should steer clear of spamming your followers with too much of this type of content, don’t be afraid to have some fun! Instagram Stories is a great place to show off your personality and give your audience a behind-the-scenes look.

Instagram Stories are a free, easy, and effective way to stay engaged with your Instagram followers – even if they don’t see your regular posts. Learn how you can grow your business using stories in our free 30 minute course:

Tip #7: Create Your Own Instagram Stories GIFs with GIPHY

Did you know you can create your own GIFs on Instagram Stories?

Creating your own collection of stickers is a great way to increase brand awareness and add a fun, branded element to your Instagram Stories!

This year, Girlboss created a set of GIFs during the Girlboss Rally, giving attendees a fun, new way to share their content from the event with their Instagram Stories viewers:

Gary Vaynerchuk also created a collection of GIFs that are searchable in the Instagram Stories GIPHY library by searching “garyvee” among other popular business-oriented keywords:  

Gary Vaynerchuk’s GIF collection includes different icons and text stickers that align with his brand — by doing the same, you connect with your audience and promote your brand in a fun way.

According to GIPHY, “A good sticker is simple, eye-catching, and fun. They can be made from video content or illustrated. Because stickers are shared at a fairly small size it’s important to keep them visually sharp and well defined — small details will get lost.” 

In order to have your GIFs searchable in Instagram Stories, you’ll need to have a verified brand page, you can click here to learn more.

With their GIPHY integration, Instagram Stories has continued to roll out new features to help you show off your brand’s personality. With a few simple tricks and a little bit of creativity, you can use  Instagram Stories GIFs to stay top of mind with your followers and keep them coming back for more!

It’s time to take your stories seriously – watch our free Instagram Stories for Business course today!

Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!


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