Using the Instagram GIF Feature

“Who the heck decides which Instagram GIF is available for use via Stories?!” It all starts with this very simple question. 

Instagram story gif examples

Then, if you’re anything like us you’re asking yourself, “Okay, now how can I get a GIF on here for my brand and clients?” If you’re not thinking like this yet, you should be since it’s free exposure! After it has been done well, you’ve got hundreds, even thousands of users utilizing your branded GIFs.

A little background – Instagram’s GIF function is powered by Giphy. A huge bank of GIFs & animated stickers. So, they make the rules when it comes to Instagram’s interactive GIFs.

The rules go like this

As a rule, you’ll need at least five GIFs to get your official Giphy Brand Channel activated. That is to say, you must have an official Giphy Brand Channel for your GIFs to populate through the Instagram GIF search function.

Also, if you don’t already have someone on your team that’s familiar with GIF creation, we recommend connecting with an experienced freelancer. In the past, we’ve had great luck finding freelancers on Fiverr or Upwork.

Giphy Brand Channel activation

Firstly, you’ll need to activate a Giphy Brand Channel. 

1. Create a new account using a brand-designated email address. Examples: hello@yourbrand.com or social@yourbrand.com

Your GIPHY username must accurately reflect the name of your business. Get rid of any non-applicable numbers, underscores, or other special characters. In other words, anything “off” may fail your application. 

Add a working link to the website field. Although, social accounts do not qualify. For example, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Your website must be public.

Add an avatar, preferably your brand’s logo. 250×250 JPG, PNG or GIF files are all supported.

2. Upload five GIFs minimum. In this step, take care to fill out their tags section with branded key words and common phrases that apply to the product or service you’re spotlighting.

3. Apply for a brand channel. Here’s the application.

4. Wait 1-4 days for your application to process. If your application is approved, GIFs will populate on the Instagram GIF search function. However, if they’re not appearing or your application was denied, connect with Giphy support. In this case, they’ll walk you through the necessary steps to get your app approved.

Ideal Instagram GIF export settings

Secondly, adjust your export settings! If you’re making these GIFs on your own in Photoshop, use these settings to export clean transparent images:

  • Colors: 256
  • Dither: 88-100%
  • Diffusion Transparency Dither
  • Adjust as needed to export your GIF – if you’re met with an error message, decrease dither to 88% and colors to 128.

Check your Instagram GIF stats

Lastly, observe the impact of your work by reviewing your Giphy analytics. In the top right-hand corner, select your username > Dashboard > Channel Activity. Moreover, you can review weekly, monthly, and all-time results. Certainly, this is useful to gauge impact on GIFs for special events or timely releases. 

In short, IG Story GIFs can be easily overlooked. But, they make an appearance across thousands of Stories every day. So, it only makes sense to get in on the fun and create a set of five branded GIFs for your own brand + clients.

branded instagram gifs

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