It starts with a simple question: “Who the heck decides which Instagram GIF is available for use via Stories?!”

Instagram story gifs how to use

And 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: It’s free exposure! When it’s 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

You’ll need at least five GIFs to get your official Giphy Brand Channel activated. You must have an official Giphy Brand Channel for your GIFs to populate through the Instagram GIF search function.

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

Giphy Brand Channel activation

giphy brand channel application instagram stickers
  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 – anything “off” may fail your application.

    Add a working link to the website field. Social accounts do not qualify – 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.   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. If they’re not appearing or your application was denied, connect with Giphy support – they’ll walk you through the necessary steps to get your app approved.

Ideal GIF export settings

Something extra! 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% or and colors to 128.
best gif export settings transparent dither
Check your stats

Observe the impact of your work by  reviewing your Giphy  analytics. In the top right-hand corner, select your username > Dashboard >   Channel Activity. Here, you can review weekly, monthly, and all-time results. This is especially useful to gauge impact on GIFs for special events or timely releases. 
giphy brand channel analytics

IG Story GIFs can be easily overlooked. But, they make an appearance across thousands of Stories every day. 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

Looking for more ways to elevate your IG presence? Consider hosting an Instagram Story Takeover. Our education The Complete Guide to Running Amazing Instagram Story Takeovers: Use Influence to Attract New Customers has all the step-by-step instructions you need to kill it.

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