Last year, Facebook bought Giphy for $400 million. It made sense, considering 50% of Giphy’s traffic comes from the Facebook family of apps (Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) alone. It is worth noting that nearly one year later, Facebook’s acquisition of Giphy is facing an in-depth investigation by Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority.
So, what’s the big deal about GIFs? GIFs allow users to creatively (and often humorously) express themselves on social media. There’s truly a GIF for everything.
GIFs and stickers can also be used by other social media users, which is a great way to provide fun and easy-to-share content that your social media community will want to add to their own social media content. Social media users can share Giphy’s GIFs and stickers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
In the last couple of years, colleges and universities have also gotten in on the trend, creating GIFs to celebrate athletics, graduation, admitted students, and school pride. Creating a Giphy account has been on our #goals list for awhile, and we were excited when we launched our Colorado State University Giphy account February 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic put our Giphy plans on hold for the majority of the spring semester, we knew it was more important than ever to get graduation-themed GIFs posted in time to celebrate our Class of 2020.
We worked with CSU graphic designers and our Alumni Association to create timely, fun GIFs and stickers for our Ram Grads to use on social media for a digital graduation celebration:
Here are some helpful tips we’ve learned along the way.
Creating a Giphy brand channel
If you’ve ever searched for or posted a GIF or sticker on Facebook, Messenger, Twitter or Instagram Stories, those GIFs and stickers come from Giphy.
GIF: A looping, soundless video. Like this:
Sticker: A GIF with transparent edges. Like this:
Stickers are commonly animated graphics (like the one above), but can be photos/videos as long as they’re animated and have transparent backgrounds. Like this:
If you’re considering creating a Giphy channel for your organization/department/unit/etc. and would like your GIFs and stickers to appear in search on Instagram Stories, you’ll need to apply for a Giphy brand channel. Once you create your Giphy channel, you need to upload at least five GIFs or stickers before applying to become a brand channel. When we applied to make CSU a brand channel, the approval process took only a few hours, though Giphy warns it can take days. Here are more tips and requirements you should know about before applying.
Creating and uploading GIFs and stickers
When it comes to GIFs, Giphy makes the process pretty simple and allows users to create GIFs and stickers through their website. Find their step-by-step instructions to create GIFs here and learn how to use Giphy’s Sticker Maker here.
But, if you prefer working with the Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop has capabilities to also create GIFs and stickers. Both options work great! But, Giphy is definitely the best option for quick, easy and user-friendly GIF/sticker creation, compared to Photoshop, which requires experience with the software. If you’re interested in learning how to create a GIF using Photoshop, here are some instructions I used when making GIFs last year.
Giphy also has requirements for sticker approval, including:
- Stickers must comply with our Community Guidelines.
- At least one component of the sticker must be animated. Static images will not be approved.
- Stickers must be exported with transparency – no white or colored background. At least 20% of the first frame must be transparent.
- Stickers cannot be smaller copies of existing GIFs.
- Stickers cannot be uploaded to distribute promotional content created on behalf of third party clients, unless it is uploaded directly to the account associated with the client.
- Stickers cannot be uploaded on behalf of friends and colleagues or to commemorate private events.
- Stickers with irrelevant tags that have nothing to do with the subject matter of the sticker will not be approved.
We’ve made it to tagging, one of the most important factors to consider aside from your GIFs and stickers. When Giphy users search Giphy’s database for GIFs and stickers, they’re actually searching tags added by the GIF/sticker creator. So, if you want anyone to find (and use!) your GIFs and stickers, your tagging game needs to be on point.
Giphy has great tips and best practices for tagging, including:
What To Tag
“Tags should describe the things pictured in the GIF or Sticker. Try adding specifics like the subject’s name and actions, catch phrases, colors or other themes. Tags should also talk about how you react to the image, how you believe the subject is reacting in the image, and any other details you think are pertinent. You should try to think of the ten best tags for each of the GIFs and Stickers you upload.”
What Not To Tag
“If you try to enter more than twenty tags, you will receive an error. You may not use tags as a way to spam inappropriate search results. Make sure that your tags are relevant to the GIF or sticker in question. Also, while you are welcome to create tags that no one else has ever thought of, you should not create tags that target another person in a negative way, or use any language that violates our Community Guidelines in any tag.”
Using GIFs and stickers on social media
Once GIFs are uploaded to Giphy, they’re ready for use. You can right click and download any of your GIFs for direct upload to Twitter. Here’s how you can use your GIFs on Facebook.
When it comes to Instagram Stories, it does take some time for stickers and GIFs to appear in search. I’ve found they’re usually on Instagram Stories within a few hours, but I try to upload GIFs and stickers to Giphy about 24 hours before I want to use them on Instagram. You can also download the Giphy mobile app to your phone and copy and paste GIFs into your Instagram Story. More tips for posting to Instagram.
Giphy wants you to use its platform, so they try to make it as easy as possible to upload and share GIFs and stickers. When in doubt, Google your questions when you get stuck, because Giphy provides loads of tips and resources to help.
GIFs and stickers are a creative way to add a little fun and humor to your brand. They also invite your social media community to become part of and amplify your brand when they add your GIFs and stickers to their social media content.