How To Use Instagram GIFs in Stories – The Best Ways

Instagram stories was first introduced in 2016, and it’s become one of the most popular content formats on Instagram. In 2018, they became even more fun with the launch of Instagram GIFs. They’ve become one of the most-used stickers available for stories. 

GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format, and they are basically loop images that can create animation on repeat. Both static images, as well as animated images, are supported. They were invented in 1987, and they made their way to Instagram with a bang. 

GIFs help users to express how they feel and add an element of movement and fun to Instagram stories. They’ve been incredibly popular among regular users and influencers, brands, businesses, and content creators alike. 

When an Instagram story features a GIF, it engages the user more, allowing them to connect emotionally with the content or better understand what they should do after seeing the story.

In this post, we’ll explore 10 different ways you can use Instagram GIFs to expand your stories’ content strategy, helping you to engage your audience and boost your content performance.

Let’s get started. 

Instagram GIFs Are a Welcome Addition to Stories 

Even though you can use many different elements on Instagram stories, including music, links, videos, filters, and more, GIFs add a flair that none of those other elements can. 

You can attract your viewers’ attention almost immediately when you use a GIF, and you can even represent emotions and direct your users to take action more easily with these little images. 

Here are some ways to use them in your stories for more impact. 

How to Use GIFs in Instagram Stories 

The following 10 tips help you to understand just how much of a difference using Instagram GIFs can make in your stories and give you some new ideas for using them, even if you’re already doing so. 

1. Add Movement and Bring Your Instagram Content to Life 

Instagram GIFs 1

GIFs don’t take the place of creating professional and branded content for your Instagram marketing campaign, but they can sure make it better. You still want to include your product images, brand logos, promos, and all of that good stuff. 

Don’t just slap on any old Instagram GIF and hope for the best. You want to ensure that it fits seamlessly into your image and can help to accentuate whatever message you’re giving off. You want the GIF to resonate with your audience and keep them interested. 

You can use Instagram GIFs to give your content that little something special with a boost of creativity. The more creative you are, the more engaged your followers will be. If you post a static image, for example, you can add a GIF to create some movement in the photo and include an element that wasn’t there in the original photo. 

You should always stick by this principle: your GIF should fit your story. It has to read into the content that’s already there, and you want it to complement your content, not detract from it. They should make your content more impactful. 

Instagram lets you rotate GIFs, flip them, and pinch them to make them bigger and smaller, so use those options to get them into your stories meaningfully. 

2. Add GIFs to Complement your Text 

Instagram GIFs

GIFs are really easy to consume because your story viewers can identify what they’re supposed to mean as soon as they see them. It helps to illustrate complex ideas and emotions with a simple moving image, which is a lot less tedious than reading a bunch of text. 

If you need to use text in your stories, that’s totally okay! You need to keep your followers and viewers up-to-date with what’s happening, and Instagram GIFs can only help you do that. Your text can be elevated to the next level when you include these fun moving pictures. 

You can highlight your text or draw attention to it by using Instagram GIFs. When you are posting an Instagram story, you can search for the right one using the “search” tool— simply enter the keyword that you’re going for and they will appear. 

Some great ones to search for if you want to accentuate some type of text in your story include “sparkle,” “highlight,” “stars,” “moving lines,” “hearts,” and anything else that is a simple accent. 

This will add a pop to your text and direct viewers’ attention to that element in your story. 

If you want to use a simple phrase in your story, you can also make it a GIF so that it stands out more. For example, if you want to use, “coming soon,” you should look for that in the Giphy search box. 

The text will then be in a nice font and will also be animated, drawing more attention to your story. 

3. Add GIFs as a Call to Action 

The whole idea behind Instagram stories is to get your viewers to take some action. You likely want to direct them to a new post, check out a product, funnel traffic to your bio or external website, etc. 

No matter what goal you’ve set for your Instagram story campaign, you can use Instagram GIFs in effective and engaging ways to highlight the action you want your users to take. 

For example, if you’re showcasing a new post in your stories and want to add a bit of mystery, you can cover parts of the image with a “new post” GIF so that users know to navigate to your profile and check it out. 

You can also direct users to the “swipe up” feature by typing that in the Giphy search bar and posting it into your story. Search for other complementing GIFs like “arrows” or “fireworks” to add a little extra pizazz. 

Other common ones you may want to use include “sound on,” “buy now,” “click the link,” and more! 

4. Add Instagram GIFs for Reactions 

Instagram GIFs

If you’re running different engagement campaigns via Instagram stories, you can implement GIFs to help make things more interactive. 

Instagram released a variety of different interactive stickers that allows you to engage with your followers in stories, including: 

  • Questions
  • Polls
  • Quizzes 
  • Rankings 

You can use all of these different stickers along with GIFs to create fun stories that incites your users to respond to you and interact with you, helping you to further content creation in the future as well as do market research through these stickers. 

Putting in these looping images to establish an element of fun and emotion with your followers, building your relationship and connection with them. 

GIFs can include fun images, clips showcasing facial expressions and emotions, phrases, and more. If you feature user-generated content, you can also include these types of GIFs to highlight how you feel about the content and add energy to the story. 

5. Add Instagram GIFs to Set a Mood 

Instagram GIFs

Your goal on Instagram should be to stir up emotions and feelings from your followers, as they are more likely to want to support you or take action after seeing your story. This can be on any type of story, from product launches or showcases, to updates, to collaborations, and so much more. 

If you want to get your followers in their feels and get them interested in what you’re posting about, you can use GIFs to get those emotions directly into your story without using any words to express it. 

This is especially popular through using reaction GIFs from popular culture, including movies, music artists, and even actors from popular series like Friends, The Office, Parks and Rec, and more. 

Audiences love these types of reactions because they’re relatable and accessible. If you’re running a giveaway, for instance, you’ll likely want to use an excited GIF to generate buzz. This is just one example— the possibilities are truly endless! 

6. Add Instagram GIFs for Product Demos 


One of the best types of campaigns you can run on Instagram stories is product launches and demos. You can give an inside look into your products, whether they’re new or not. They’re a more intimate way to give an overview of your product’s appearance as well as features. 

There are many creative ways to feature your product, and Instagram GIFs can help you to accentuate those products in ways that will captivate your story viewers. You can use GIFs that resemble the product itself, or use ones that highlight the product as an accent. 

7. Add Instagram GIFs and Pin Them to Videos 

While you may normally think that GIFs only belong in still photos on Instagram stories, the platform offers you a great way to include them in video content as well. 

You are able to set the Instagram GIFs to appear at the right moment in your video, which can emphasize that apex or crucial moment in the video. 

It’s not that difficult once you know how. Here’s the step-by-step: 

  1. Once you upload or record your video, go to the Giphy library. 
  2. Hold your finger on the screen and move the GIF to where you want it to appear.
  3. If you don’t like the placement, you can use the bar at the bottom of the video to skim the video. 
  4. Once you’re satisfied, tap Pin. 

And that’s it! You may want to play around with it a bit, but it can be a very useful tool. 

8. Add Instagram GIFs to Animate Data 

You can use GIFs in Instagram stories to share useful and pertinent information so that you keep your followers informed. When you need to present data and infographics, you can include animations that will make it more stimulating for those that are viewing your story, animating text and numbers as well. 

9. Add Instagram GIFs to Stay on Trend 

One of the most important things for your Instagram marketing strategy is that you stay relevant in terms of trends and what your followers are interested in, as well as talking about. You always want to make your content a part of the conversation. 

This means you should be taking a look at current events and trends that are happening on Instagram. The Giphy library is constantly updated, so they are also following along with these trends. You’ll certainly have stickers to keep your stories in line with what’s happening out there. 

Some of these GIFs are animations of popular hashtags like #TBT or #Friyay. Others include different holiday GIFs, ones related to the news, movies, new media, memes, and more. 

10. Create Your Own GIFs with Giphy 

Instagram GIFs

Not liking what you’re seeing in the search feature? Well, don’t worry— you can create your own Instagram GIFs! This can help you to put your brand out there in a way that aligns with people on the platform and boost your own notoriety in the Instagram community. 

You can produce these GIFs to align directly with your Instagram strategy, and this is great if you’re launching something new or trying to drum up interest around your current campaign. 

If you want to create a GIF for Instagram, you’ll need to become a verified brand on Giphy. It’s worth the effort though— your viewers will also be able to use your GIFs in their own stories, which boosts brand awareness and gets your logo (or even your face) out there to other users. Consider creating ones that feature your slogan, products, or anything else relevant to your brand. 

When you create Instagram GIFs, consider the following: 

  • Use relevant keywords to make your GIFs searchable, including your brand name as well as any other words that relate to the product or image you’re featuring. 
  • GIFs are small, so make them sharp and well-designed. Sloppy GIFs won’t help you much. 
  • Movement is good— people prefer GIFs that move over static ones. 

Final Thoughts: Instagram GIFs in Stories 

Now that you’ve got some great tips in your back pocket for using Instagram GIFs in stories, you’ll have a much more creative way to capture the attention of your users and hopefully drive your real-world goals through your story campaign. 

GIFs may seem very simple, but they are definitely a way to identify and connect with your audience only a second after they view your content. You should always ensure that the Instagram GIFs tie into your story in a way that adds to them. Don’t simply slap one on just because. 

Searching for GIFs like arrows, stars, hearts, shapes, and calls-to-action can also direct your viewers’ focus to where it needs to be, delivering better results and driving your metrics through Instagram stories. 

You’ve got so many options when it comes to using Instagram GIFs, so where are you going to begin? Have fun! 

Looking to direct more traffic to your Instagram stories? Growthoid can help! Get more real Instagram followers with organic growth strategies. Head over to the free trial and give it a try. 

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