GIFs and Instagram stickers are changing the game for marketing and social media managers. In an age of short attention spans and instant gratification, GIFs are creating emotive, interactive and engaging content that just screams to be shared with friends.
The most popular GIF platform, GIPHY boasts over 500 million daily users in all corners of the world. Over half of GIPHY’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps, so it’s no surprise that in May 2020, Facebook acquired GIPHY. This will make it easier than ever to integrate GIFs as part of your social media strategy, particularly on Facebook and Instagram.
But first, you’ll need to create some stand-out GIFs for your business! Check out our Digital Brand Pack to learn how our team can design and produce digital assets that will set your brand in motion.
All you need to know about GIPHY marketing and Instagram stickers for brands
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about GIFs in 2021, why your brand should add GIFs to its content strategy, how to find and use them to stand out on Instagram, awesome examples of brands killing the GIF game, the approval process for GIPHY, and how to analyse GIF engagement.
What are stickers and GIFs?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format (mind = blown). They are an image file type, similar to JPEG or PNG, but can be used to create animated images. We say animated images because they aren’t really videos – more a digital flipbook of images.
In short, GIFs are soundless videos that continuously loop, without the viewer needing to press play. Stickers are GIFs with transparent backgrounds. These stickers are found on Instagram, Snapchat and other social sharing platforms.
History of GIFs
The creation of GIFs goes all the way back to 1987, when software writer Steve Wilhite was looking for a way to animate images in the smallest file size possible. Debate sparked when Steve announced that it’s pronounced ‘jif’ not ‘gif’, but most people think he’s wrong.
Animation Factory was the first commercial GIF animation company that started in the 90s. They produced and sold every GIF imaginable. Their library consists of thousands upon thousands of them, lots of which are still used today! Many of their GIFs were used in web design in the early stages of the internet.
As web design became more professional and structured in the 2000’s, GIFs declined in popularity. However, with the rise of Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit, they were reborn and became a social sharing tool, to express emotions and communicate with others.
These days, there are loads of GIF platforms, Giphy being the most popular. GIFs were once considered to be juvenile and unprofessional. Now, they are an essential tool in social media marketing.
Types of GIFs
There are three main types of GIFs: standard photo GIFs, animated with background and animated without background.
1. Standard photo GIFs are created by stitching two or more photos together, with short transitions between.
2. The animated with background type is created from clips of videos, which are converted into GIFs. Most pop culture referencing GIFs are in this format.
3. Animated without background GIFs are usually graphic animations with transparent backgrounds. They can also be created from videos that have had the backgrounds removed.
Why add GIFs and stickers to your brand content?
How we communicate is evolving
As our technology changes, so does our way of communicating. First it was a phone call, then a text, then an emoji, now it’s with GIFs! They are a great way of personalising messages and connecting with people on an emotional level through culture.
As our attention span shortens, GIFs allow users to quickly share information. The short, loopy, continuous format grabs the attention of users and provides them with instant gratification.
According to GIF Factory, over 7 billion of these image formats are sent everyday. If you’re a savvy marketer looking to be a part of the conversation, GIFs are the way to go.
Digital marketing is becoming more engaging
‘Stories’ are on the rise and are quickly becoming the primary way people share content throughout their daily lives.
Brands will need to continue developing strategies for feed posts, but will also need to start thinking about creating exciting content for Stories. One way to do this is via GIFs. (We’ll explore this in further detail below).
GIF use is surging
The popularity of GIFs has increased exponentially over the last few years. According to GIF Factory, the Tenor mobile app boasts over 12 billion GIF searches each month and GIPHY has over 500 million daily active users.
GIFs have become popular and easy to use through third party integrations with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, iMessage, WhatsApp, Tinder, Slack and many more social sharing platforms.
Put simply, GIFs are everywhere! We’re seeing them on our Instagram feeds, email newsletters, blogs, websites – pretty much all digital channels!
Branding needs to be cohesive and compelling
GIFs provide the perfect balance between official branding and casual, personal social media posts. They are a great way to share your logo and branding, while also engaging in popular culture references and shareable content. Sharing your favourite GIFs on your brand’s social media channels show a bit of personality to your followers. This visual content is authentic and engaging, connecting to audiences on a deeper emotional level.
It’s totally free!
The cost of adding GIFs or stickers to your social media platforms is ZERO (yep, you heard us right). Then, they are shared around for FREE. Users share gifs with each other to convey feelings and emotions. If your GIF with your logo branded on it gets shared around, you will likely see huge engagement rates. It’s probably the most cost-effective brand awareness campaign you will ever undertake.
Using GIFs to stand out on Instagram
If you’re looking for a way to create attention-grabbing, engaging content on Instagram stories, branded GIFs are the perfect solution. By including different icons and text stickers that align with your brand, you can connect with your audience and promote your brand in a fun and engaging way.
Keep in mind that the content you enhance with GIFs and Instagram stickers should align with your social media marketing goals. They should make your customers feel something and prompt them to take a desired action.
GIFs can be used to raise brand awareness, add CTAs, promote campaigns, draw attention to elements of the story, persuade viewers to continue engaging with the story, enhance product shots and stay current with seasonal trends.
Raise brand awareness
Create a collection of GIFs specifically for your brand, products, slogans and logo that are on hand to use any time you’re creating a new story.
You can also create GIFs for relevant keywords or highlight keywords with animated graphics like twinkling stars or sparkles.
Enhance product shots
Turn run-of-the-mill product shots into captivating images by adding a playful, relevant GIF. Audiences on Instagram don’t want to see standard product shots, but placing a fun sticker on top is a simple way to promote the product in a fun and engaging way.
Include in-story Call To Actions (CTAs)
While Instagram doesn’t allow you to put clickable links in feed posts, you can link to your website on stories, if you have over 10k followers on a business account. Adding CTA GIFs such as “click here” “swipe up for more info” “link in bio” “sound on” can prompt users to take a desired action, pushing them through the sales funnel.
Promote specific campaigns
Using GIFs to promote a contest or giveaway is a great way to draw people in. Flashing icons such as “win” “special offer” or “on sale” instantly grab the attention of viewers.
Draw attention to links or swipe up to learn more
GIFs are a great way to grab the viewer’s attention and focus on specific elements in the story. You can ‘pin’ it on a specific part of the story, draw attention to links or entice the viewer to “swipe up” and learn more.
Persuade viewers to keep tapping and engaging with the story
Strategically using GIFs can help persuade viewers to continue tapping through the rest of your story. Placing squiggly lines and CTAs entice viewers to continue clicking through the ‘slideshow’ of your story.
Stay current with seasonal content
GIFs are an easy way to promote different events, campaigns, products and holidays throughout the year. Save your seasonal creation and reuse it next year!
Get inspired by these awesome branded GIFS
There are so many brands already killing it with GIFs. Here are some of our favourites.
We couldn’t write a whole blog post without mentioning the awesome GIFs and Instagram stickers we’ve created for our own brand!
Our team uses GIFs in our email signature to send branded seasonal messaging.
We also create Instagram stickers for our team members to add that personal touch to our social channels.
Check out more of our Instagram stickers.
Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports
This mountain sports retailer in the UK showcases multiple products in seconds with a single eye-catching GIF.
Tech giant Samsung creates GIFs to promote new product features.
Sporting matches are full of great opportunities for GIF content creation. The Australian Open turns match highlights into GIFs that can easily be shared by users to communicate emotions. This in turn spreads awareness of the event.
KFC Australia expertly builds brand loyalty and positivity with funny GIFs featuring the Colonel in situations that the target audience can definitely relate to.
Getting approval for GIFs on GIPHY
Facebook (the proud owner of Instagram) has recently taken over GIPHY too, making it even easier to compile an online library of animated stickers that anyone can browse and use. Before it’s viewed and used all over the Instagram world, each GIF must be approved through your GIPHY account.
Setting up a GIPHY account isn’t difficult, but it can take up to a week to have your account approved. There’s a few ways you can apply for a GIPHY account:
Become a branded channel – this is for companies, artists and public figures that create or own content.
Become an artist channel – this is for artists who want to create and distribute their own content via GIPHY.
If you want your channel to appear as a search result on GIPHY, you need to verify your account. This involves upgrading your channel and filling out a verification form. Verified channels receive a blue verified badge that appears next to the user name.
Once your account is approved, you can start creating, uploading and downloading GIFs.
How to upload stickers on GIPHY
- From within your GIPHY account, select the stickers you would like to upload.
- Set the order in which you want the stickers to appear.
- Add tags to the stickers. This makes it easier for people to find the stickers when they’re searching GIPHY.
- Click upload to complete the process.
Speaking of tags, here’s some words of advice to optimise your tags:
- Separate the tags with commas
- The tags will be applied to all stickers uploaded at the same time
- Limit the number of words used in each tag
- Incorporate trending catch phrases
- Use tags that describe colours or themes of the sticker
- Aim for around 10 tags per sticker
Finding and adding GIFs to Instagram Stories
A good Instagram sticker is simple, eye catching and fun. With just a few simple steps you can add GIFs to your Instagram stories:
- Open the Instagram app on your phone
- Tap the blue + button to create a story
- Take a photo, video or upload from your camera roll
- After you’ve selected the photo or video you want to use, you can edit it
- Tap the square smiley face icon
- Tap the “GIF” icon or search for the right one using the search bar
- When you’ve found the perfect GIF for your story, tap it and it will appear in the in the middle of the photo
- To move the GIF, press and drag it with your finger
- To resize it, pinch and zoom in or out with two fingers
- When you’ve finished editing, press the ‘Your Story’ icon at the bottom of the screen to publish it
If you’ve created your own branded GIFs that you want to use, simply search for your GIPHY account name after selecting the square smiley face icon.
If you save the image with GIFs posted on your story, you can also post this image to your Feed, although the GIFs have to play for more than 3 seconds before looping.
Analysing GIF performance
As with every marketing tactic, measuring and analysing results is key to determining the success (or failure) of the tactic, to refine and improve your marketing strategy over time.
You can measure audience engagement with GIFs on GIPHY and on Instagram itself. We’ll outline both strategies below.
With GIPHY, the only engagement metric is GIF views, how many times your GIF has been served through GIPHY’s services or technology. You can find this metric in the lower right hand corner of the GIF detail page, directly below the share icons.
Official GIPHY partners and artists can access a Dashboard, where they can see cumulative views on their account and download a report.
With Instagram Insights
While you can’t directly track engagement with GIFs on Instagram Insights, you can conduct A/B testing of similar stories with and without GIFs and measure the difference in performance metrics. The main metrics to look at include:
- Reach and impressions
- Story features
- Taps back, taps forward and exit rate
- Clicks on location and hashtag stickers
Get unique GIFs for your brand!
Redback designs, creates and uploads GIFs for all kinds of businesses. We can build GIFs and stickers for all your social media campaigns, taking into consideration your tone of voice, brand colourways and imagery, crafting appealing designs for your target audience.
Our Digital Brand Pack includes:
- Using Photoshop and other professional graphic design tools to create GIFs
- GIPHY account management and handling GIF approval process
- Uploading GIFs to social media channels
- Testing different types of GIFs
- Measuring engagement and analysing effectiveness of GIFs
Let’s get your brand moving!
In 2020, it’s not a question of if you should use GIFs as part of your marketing campaign, rather than how. These branding game changers are fun, engaging, attention grabbing and shareable. With easily accessible third-party integrations on all major social networking sites, your brand can’t afford not to use GIFs.
If you’re ready to stand out on social, our team is here to deliver once-off GIF creations or an ongoing suite of these exciting animations. For more information on GIF and sticker production with Redback, head over to our digital creative services!