If you’re already an Instagram user, then it’s pretty likely (like, 100% certain) you’re all across the concept of using gif stickers on the ‘gram.  

GIFs are those eye-catching, moving stickers that you see sprinkled through all of your fave Insta stories.  They add personality and fun to otherwise dull stories and help to convey emotion and entertain your audience, without the need for words – winning!

And it’s no secret that I don’t love social media so if you’re going to be on there, may as well have a bit of flippin’ FUN, eh?

Herein lies the dilemma: you love adding a GIF or two when you’ve jumped on to create a story, but you can’t seem to find ones you like.  

You want them to be on point, or match your aesthetic but there’s slim pickin’s when you type in keywords you thought would work.  Never fear – I’m here with a list of some of my fave ever GIF accounts that you can find next time you’re whipping up a story.  

What is a GIF?

GIF stands for Graphical Interchange Format.  Although the first glimpse of GIFs on Instagram was in 2018, it’s actually a retro file type created in the 1980’s.  The GIF format means files can support both static and animated stickers (like the one below).  The reason they are so widely available is because their simplicity means they can be used across many applications and operating systems.

Although GIFs are handy (and awesome) they also come with some limitations.  

The file format means the best kind of graphics are sharp-edged line art like logos.  So if you have any intricate/fine line work, it tends to pixelate without a solid contrasting background colour to support it.  They also don’t allow for high-resolution video, meaning quality can be lost when converting a video clip to a GIF file.

GIFs also have a limited colour palette (256 colours) which means that if your chosen colour isn’t available in the palette, your image will default to the nearest available colour.  This can skew brand colours and impact contrast if there isn’t a huge amount of difference between shades.

Not terrible problems but worth keeping in mind if you plan to make your own custom GIFs in the future.


What can GIFs be used for?

There are so many different gif stickers in circulation there’s literally one for every occasion. GIFs help drive engagement on stories. For example – you have a new product you want to promote, you can create a story featuring your latest post and ask people to click here using a gif sticker.

Instagram stories aren’t the only way you can use these fun graphics.   Other social networks also allow the use of gifs in the content you share.  GIFs actually have many applications outside of your Instagram feed.

These moving graphics and video clips can be used in things like:

  • Posts on other social media platforms (including Instagram feed posts)
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Video content (think: YouTube videos)
  • Website pages e.g. a blog post

Why use GIFs?

Adding a GIF to your Instagram stories is an easy way to convey emotion and meaning without the need for words.  In this way they function much like stickers or emojis.  Sometimes words just don’t do things justice, or can sound a little blunt.  GIFs add lightheartedness and fun and are the best way to get your message across without having to type it out.

They also add interest, helping with engagement and whether people actually decide to stay on your story for longer.

Pro tip: As a business owner, having your own set of custom GIFs is also a great way to boost brand awareness and emphasise your brand’s personality.  Many business owners create GIFs of themselves pointing, dancing, clapping and more! These quirky little snippets make for fun visual content for your brand.


Where to find Instagram GIFs.

It’s super simple to add GIFs to your Instagram Stories and Reels with most (if not all? – Don’t quote me on that) accounts having the functionality.  Instagram is linked to GIPHY app – the world’s biggest online GIF library.  GIPHY has a massive database of creators and users who upload their own static and animated GIFS for others to use on the interwebs.  (yes, you could also be uploading your very own GIFs too – more on this later).

Here’s a quick step-by-step for adding GIFs to your Instagram stories if you aren’t sure how it works.

1. Film your story/reel or add your photo from your camera roll as usual, then tap the GIF icon in the top right corner.


2. Click the GIF icon.


3. Search for your GIF by keyword or username in the search bar.


4. Once your GIF is added to the screen you can make it smaller or larger using two fingers to pinch/expand the sticker. 

Move it around and get it into the perfect position and then hit POST!

The best Instagram story GIFs by account name

How to create your own GIFs to search on Instagram

If you’re a personal brand or small business owner there’s a good chance you’ve wondered whether you can upload your own Instagram stories gifs to be available in the search tool.  The good news is, yes!

Even better is that it’s completely FREE to create your own collection of these fun graphics.

There are many YouTube video tutorials that walk you through how to create your own GIFs and with software like Canva even having a GIF export option, the opportunities are endless!

Some tips for creating the perfect gif for your brand to be seen on Instagram:

  • Use a transparent background – these are known as gif stickers and are what shows up in the search tool.
  • Make sure they match your brand colours and vibe to keep things consistent.
  • Use descriptive tags – use the option to add descriptive tags and describe what your gif is actually about so it has more chance of being seen.

In order for your custom GIFs to be searchable on Instagram, you need to upload your graphics to the GIPHY app so they are available in the giphy library. This is the database that Instagram pulls gif stickers from when you search using the tool.

You can also hire someone (like me!) to create your very own custom GIFs without having to trawl through tutorials or figure out all the nitty gritty.  I take the fuss out of designing and creating your very own gif stickers in your custom colours, fonts and style.  I’ll also arrange to create your account and upload your custom GIFs to the giphy app so they become searchable on instagram for your brand or business.  Nifty, huh? 

Get in touch for more information and let’s see how I can help you add a little fun and flavour to your instagram stories game.

Want more?

Want your own custom biz GIFs? Contact me for more information and to book in

I advocate not to rely on them but I still use them! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook.