Longtime fans of the GIF, now is your time! Instagram has finally given us something we never knew we needed, in the shape of GIFs for Instagram Stories.
The platform, which hosts more than 40 billion photos, has partnered with GIF powerhouse, Giphy, and now allows users to choose from a host of transparent-background GIF stickers to add to images on Instagram Stories. In the company’s latest move to differentiate Instagram from its competitors, and in a way, from itself.
Billed as the biggest online pr and marketing trend of 2017 the GIF celebrated its 30th birthday last year, and continue to dominate the web. Yes, according to w3techs.com, GIFs are shared more often than jpeg and png files – perhaps due to their popularity, and ability to convey a message over and above still images, while also being cheaper to produce than short videos.
Quite astonishingly, according to CEO Alex Chung, Giphy has capitalised on its cultural currency to amass an audience of more than 300 million people who see a GIF from Giphy every day, and who share more than 2 billion GIFs each day across Giphy.com and its many partner platforms.
Instagram introduced Stories back in August 2016 (I can’t quite believe it was long ago!), and quickly became a place to share quick, fun content – think more ‘snaps’, and less carefully curated content for which Instagram has earned its stripes. If it’s not good enough for the grid, it’ll probably do for stories.
Instagram Stories continues to evolve and challenge its biggest rival, Snapchat. Arguably, it’s never really nailed the filter offering, but the continuous addition of new features like GIFs, emojis and text, really does tip the balance in its favour – for both personal and business use.
Still not convinced? According to Hubspot, Instagram Stories offers users a significant potential user base, when compared to Snapchat content, which needs to be promoted regularly across channels to be seen. On Instagram, hashtags, geotags, and the Discover section increase the chance of content being found. This makes Instagram Stories a great place for brands to experiment with a user base and similar features to Snapchat, without making the leap, or additional investment!
For anyone still questioning the merit of Instagram and it’s Stories function, Hubspot summarises this rather perfectly: “Where Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are for networking and sharing and promoting content, Instagram is the platform where a company can show its human side.”
Or perhaps you’re still not convinced that GIFs are engaging? Research by dating apps Bumble and Tinder has shown that GIFs are the ‘most rewarding method of communication’. Bumble says: “not only does sending a GIF increase responses by 30 percent, but using them can also make your conversation last twice as long.” So if you’re looking for engagement… GIFs have you covered!
It’s probably right to give the final word on GIFs to Alex Chung… “the average GIF contains sixty frames, then they’re capable of conveying 60,000 words – the same as the average novel.”
But if that wasn’t enough exciting Instagram news, this week, the company has also added a feature that lets users schedule posts! You’ll need to be using a third party management tool like Hootsuite, but we couldn’t be happier. The platform has also introduced the upload and resize of images of all sizes and new fonts for Stories, AND that it could soon launch a one-to-one private video chat feature. What a week!
So what are you waiting for? *scrolls through GIFs*.
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