3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories

Want to add your GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories? In this post I share 3 easy (but lesser-known) ways to create your own GIF Stickers and share them on your posts. 

You might be surprised by the potential of GIFs and GIF Stickers for your brand! 

3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Woman with Lollipop Hearts by Rohappy (Shutterstock)


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If you've been using Instagram for a while now you would have met GIF Stickers. They're the fun GIF images, videos or illustrations that you can use as overlays to place over your Instagram Stories – made possible by their transparent background.

They let you add personality and interest to your posts, making them more engaging!

Types of GIF Stickers on Instagram

The main way you find GIF Stickers on Instagram is to search for them via the Sticker menu on Instagram Stories. To find them you choose the Sticker icon:

GIF Sticker Icon on Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Here's a list of GIF Stickers that you can access on Instagram. Some of them are Instagram's in that they are features of Instagram that they make available in the sticker section. Some are available through Giphy Search where you can access 1000's of GIF Stickers via Instagram's GIF search function:

  1. Location Sticker
  2. Mention Sticker (to tag someone)
  3. Hashtag Sticker
  4. GIF Sticker (accesses the entire Giphy Sticker library for search).
  5. Clock Sticker
  6. Poll Sticker
  7. Question Sticker
  8. Countdown Sticker
  9. Emoji Sticker

And here is an overview of the Sticker selection including the stickers listed above:

Different types of GIFs on Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Why would you add your own GIF Stickers?

Most people don't even realize that you can add your own GIF Stickers to Instagram. But you can!

Now, of course, you can go the easy route and use GIF Stickers made by other brands – and by Instagram themselves – and that's a totally valid option, especially if you don't have much time.

Here's a post I wrote all about using Poll Stickers for instance. It walks you through how to use them for engagement.

So, there's loads that you can do with the Stickers available to you in Instagram already.

But there actually is a way… 3 ways in fact.. that you can add your own custom stickers to Instagram Stories.

I've shared them all below.

When you add your own GIF Stickers you can be a little more strategic about your branding and content.

And you can make your stickers your own.

And add value to your community who can potentially use them too.

One example of a brand that does this well is Target. They're always adding new, engaging Stickers that their fans and customers love to use to express their fandom on Instagram Stories:

Target on Giphy - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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So let's jump in and take a look at how you can create and share your own GIF Stickers on Instagram.

3 Ways to Create and Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories

I'm going to start with the simplest method that involves the least amount of  “work” to add your own Stickers on Instagram Stories right down to the option that involves a little more work but also gives you the most options.

You're not limited to just one option. You can use all 3 in your marketing!

Note: all of these methods involve adding Stickers with transparent backgrounds or PNG format images or animations. So make sure when you create your Stickers that you have them in this format. There should be some transparent “white space” around your actual image or GIF in transparent format.

Here are the 3 methods:

1. Add Stickers from Your Camera Roll

This one is a simple trick that I hadn't discovered until recently.  Here's how it works on my iOS smartphone:

Please note: Some people are saying that this is not currently working. And I am not aware of a workaround for Android as yet. If this is the case for you, then skip to No 2 (below) as you can share a GIF sticker from a Giphy account, so the alternative is to host it there and share from Giphy. Ahhh Social Media… the only thing we can rely on is change!

1. Open up your Instagram Story in Instagram and prepare to add a Sticker.

2.  Save your completed GIF Sticker (image or GIF Sticker with transparent background) to your Camera Roll. You can do this from Dropbox, Google Docs or via Email. In this case I'm copying this flip-flops GIF over from email. It's a simple GIF that shows the flip-flops moving from side to side.

3. I then choose the Download icon in the top right corner:

Adding a GIF to Instagram Stories via your Camera Roll - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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4. A screen will pop up with options for you to save and share the GIF Sticker. Click “Copy”.

Copying GIF Sticker from Camera Roll to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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5. Then open up Instagram again and your Instagram Story will still be there ready to go. An option to add the Sticker you just copied will pop up! Tap the “Add Sticker” Icon.

Add GIF Sticker to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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6. Voila! Your Sticker will be added to your Instagram Story, just as if you had added it from Instagram's selection of Stickers. Cool, hey?

Tap to add the Sticker to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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7. Finish off your Story as you normally would. That's it! A few simple steps and you've added your own custom sticker from outside of Instagram Stories into your Story.

While you get excited about the creative potential of that little trick, let's take a look at another way you can share your own custom GIF Stickers into Instagram Stories.

2.  Add Stickers from your Own Giphy Channel

This takes a couple of extra steps but I'm building you up to #3 where you can really do some cool stuff with GIF Stickers for your brand.

In this second option, you're going to set up a Giphy Channel to store and share your GIFs and GIF Stickers.

Honestly, I think this is a great move, and I highly recommend you do it, even if you are not ready for Step 3 (applying for a Branded Giphy Channel) yet.

Why? Because it allows you to:

  • Host your GIFs and GIF Stickers in a central place.
  • Share the links to your GIFs and GIF Stickers with your audience to use on social media.
  • Allows you to easily share your GIFs by links as well.
  • It's the first step in helping others discover your GIFs for your brand – whether they be regular GIFs or GIF Stickers.

Then, when you're ready, you can apply for a Branded GIF Channel, but for now let's get you started with a regular GIF Channel.

Set up a Giphy Channel

Setting up a Giphy Channel is easy. You just simply sign up for a Giphy Account here.

I won't go into the how-to's of creating and uploading GIFs in this post, but suffice to say Giphy has some cool tools to enable you to create GIFs from images or videos and to edit and upload them.

If you're looking for other articles about creating GIFs, head to the end of this post, where I'll share some.  

GIF Maker in Giphy - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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You can create GIFs from images or video using Giphy's GIFMaker

Once your channel is set up, all you have to do is start creating and uploading GIFs. Then you can share any of your channel GIFs to Instagram using the following method:

Adding your GIF Sticker to Instagram Stories

This is super simple, and takes just a few clicks, just like #1 above.

1 Firstly, open up your Intsagram Story ready to add your Sticker.

2. Then go to your Giphy account and find the GIF you want to share. In this case I am going to find the “Marketing Besties” sticker from my Socially Sorted account. You'll need to open up Giphy on your phone and open your account. You'll see a selection of GIFs and GIF Stickers that you have uploaded.

Socially Sorted GIF Stickers on Giphy - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Note that even though I have a branded Giphy Channel, this works for regular Giphy Channels too.  

3. Tap to choose the sticker you want to use, ready to copy. The following screen will open up, with the single sticker you choose:

Adding GIF Stickers from Giphy Account to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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4. Tap and hold as directed to copy the GIF to your camera roll. Then open up your Instagram Story again in Instagram – just like the example above. The GIF Sticker you just copied will appear in the corner of your story ready to tap:

Add Sticker to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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5. Now you're ready to roll, with your GIF Sticker added and pumping. In this case, the heart is literally pumping as the sticker animates. You can check it out here.

Sticker added to Instagram Stories - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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I've kept the background simple to show you how it works, but obviously I would add this to a photo of me and my speaker friends or marketing team – however you want to use it. Scroll down to see a fun example below.

And feel free to use this one if you work in Marketing .. you can find it on Instagram by searching the hashtag #sociallysorted to see my stickers.

What about regular GIFs (that aren't Stickers?).

You can also do this with GIFs that are regular GIFs (without the transparent background that makes them “Stickers”) or even regular PNG static images.

Here's a regular GIF without any transparency that I can share to an Instagram Story by copying and pasting in the same way:

Adding Regular Sticker to Instagram Stories via Giphy - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Basically this will work for any GIF, image or transparent image that you want to share into an Instagram Story. All you have to do is copy the image and then add it as a “Sticker”.

Note: the above examples are all from an iOS phone. I am not sure if it works on an Android but if you know a process for making this work, please share in the comments and I'll add it to the post. Note that Intsagram has been playing wiht a Sticker feature that allows you to instantly add a sticker from your camera roll, but so far it is only available to a small number of users. I'm not sure if it will be rolled out to everyone but fingers crossed that it will be!

Now it's time to look at the Holy Grail for adding Stickers to your Instagram Account: A branded Giphy Channel.

3. Add Stickers via Search from a Branded Giphy Channel

I have had a Branded Giphy account for a while now and it has many added benefits:

  1. Acknowledgement by Giphy that you are a Company, Recording Artist, Brand or Public Figure.
  2. The ability to add searchable GIFs to your Giphy account. This means that you – or anyone – can search on your GIFs via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Which is very cool.
  3. Tracking of “views” of your GIFs. You get to see basic stats on how your GIFs are being viewed.

I'll get into how you can apply below, but first, here's my channel:

Check out Socially Sorted's Branded GIF Channel

You can check out my Branded Giphy Channel here or click the image below.

At the time of writing this post, I have 12.3 million views of my stickers. Partly because they are viewed a lot on Instagram Stories.

My account got off to a great start when the Ellen show used one of my early GIF Stickers on their Instagram Story. That one Sticker alone now has over 3 million views. #TrueStory.

How other Brands can use your GIF Stickers from Giphy - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Ellen's team used my Sticker to get Y'all to Swipe Up ;o)

So far I am using my channel to experiment with reach and to experiment with the potential of GIFs for myself and also so that I can advise the brands I speak for and consult with.

I'll be adding more GIFs over time, and in the meantime you can access them by searching on #sociallysorted via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter search. You'll also see regular GIFs too that you can use in social media engagement.

Adding GIFs from a Giphy Branded Channel

Anyone can simply open up Instagram Stories and search (via the GIF Sticker) for the GIF Sticker that they want. For example, I could search “Excited” and a whole bunch of GIFs open up for selection.

Here's a few ways this works really well:

1.  It means that your audience or anyone random can find your stickers via search (Hello, Team Ellen).  It's Instagram + Giphy, so the potential numbers are mind-boggling.

Let's take a look at the image above for example. Ellen's team usually have their own Sticker overlay for “Swipe Up” but I am presuming that they wanted to post something quickly so searched and selected by Sticker under the search for #SwipeUp.

2. You can also search for your own GIF Stickers and use them in branding. So I can open up Instagram Stories and search for my own GIF Stickers by using the hashtag #SociallySorted – as I have added that hashtag to all of my stickers for search in Giphy.

I can alternatively search on keywords that I know will bring them up, like “Swipe Up” or “Queensland” for my pair of Flip Flops. Yes, they rank for high search terms, because… well… not many people are doing this as yet!

Socially Sorted GIF Stickers - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Now I can add my stickers easily to my Instagram Story, in this case a post about getting excited to speak at Social Media Marketing World… and one of my favourite photos of fellow speakers and attendees from previous events!

Add a GIF Sticker on Instagram to any Photo - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Shout out to some of my marketing besties, Azure Collier (TripleSeat), Viveka Von Rosen (Vengresso), Elena Verlee (Tech Marketing Strategist), Steve Dotto (DottoTech) and Ian Anderson Gray (iag.me). Shenanigans. 

3. You can also give your audience the search hashtags or particular search terms for them to find your GIF Content in Giphy Search.

For example, if you are “Target” you might tell your Instagram audience to go crazy with their #Target #Valentines Day Stickers. Oh, and look… they show up on search!

Valentines Day Search on GIF Stickers for Target - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Target has perfectly optimized their GIF Selection for Valentine's Day, knowing their fans will love to share the Target love on Instagram.

The Target GIFs are branded, yes, but they are also super fun and some of them will suit any generic post (aka GIF Stickers for “relationship goals”).

It may not always be super branded, but it is super target with an ROI in mind but it is entertaining to their audience. They are giving their Instagram-loving, Target-loving audience another reason to love them. Check out their Brand Channel here.

I could go on about the potential of this, but let's jump in to how you can apply for a branded Giphy Channel:

Applying for a Giphy Branded Channel

Applying for a Giphy Branded Channel takes 3 simple steps:

  1. Set up a regular Giphy Channel as I outlined above.
  2. Add some GIFs to your channel. I recommend you include a few GIF Stickers too (ie GIFs with transparent backgrounds).
  3. Apply to become a Giphy Branded Channel.
    1. You can apply to be a Brand Channel with this form.
    2. You can apply to be an “Artist” Channel with this form.

If you are lucky to be accepted you'll get a welcome message, something like this:

Approval for Giphy Branded Channel - 3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Giphy recommends that to be successful with your application you need to:

  • ensure that your e-mail address is a company domain, otherwise it will be rejected. They are looking for legitimate applications, naturally.
  • provide a functioning company website address (ie social accounts are not going to make the cut and will cause your application to be rejected).

My application was accepted quickly but others have taken longer or even two attempts. Some people have not had any luck at all. How it all works is not entirely clear, so it's hard for me to dive difinitive advice.

However, Giphy are providing more and more tips for getting accepted so I would I would follow their recommendations and add a mix of branded and non-branded GIFs that your audience would love to use and share .. and cross your fingers! 

I believe it's worth applying if you already have a Giphy Channel set up. It takes just a few minutes to do the form and apply. Unfortunately it's getting harder to get accepted as more and more people apply, but it's worth a shot! 

Want more GIF Posts?

You can read more about GIFs in these posts:

How to Create Animated GIFs that Stand Out

How to use Cool GIFs in Marketing to WOW Your Audience (Infographic)

Our calendar posts for each month of the year – find them here

How to bring Still Images to Life – Social Media Examiner Podcast

Tools for Creating GIFs

If you want some tools for creating GIFs, I use:

Easil (for creating my graphics)

EzGif (for editing my GIFs)

Giphy (for hosting and sharing my GIFs)

Wrapping it Up

While not always connected to direct returns or sales, GIFs and GIF Stickers can be great branding tools for replying and engaging on social media channels.

They can also be fantastic for creating content for your audience to use –  that taps into your brand and helps them to tell your brand story. That's the potential I am excited about.

Over to You

Are you excited about the creative potential of GIFs and GIF Stickers?

Are you creating or sharing GIF Stickers? Let me know in the comments below.

3 Easy Ways to Add Your Own GIF Stickers on Instagram Stories
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Woman with Lollipop Hearts by Rohappy (Shutterstock)
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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