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  • Emma O'Loan

How to create your own GIPHY stickers

If you’ve ever posted an Instagram story, you might well be aware of the option to add a sticker to your post. Maybe you’ve highlighted a new post, brought attention to a swipe up link or maybe you’ve just wanted to add an animated element to the post.

But have you ever wondered how to create these stickers, how they’re made, where they’re used and how they can enhance your content? Here are a few pointers to get you started.

What is a GIPHY sticker?

You’ve most likely heard of using stickers across different social media platforms which tend to be static. GIPHY stickers are slightly different, as they are animated and can be added as overlays to pictures posted on the Instagram or Snapchat.

GIPHY stickers are hosted on, a powerful database that stores millions of GIF and video files. They serve over 10 billion pieces or content per day to over 700 million people. GIPHY powers the sticker search tool found on Instagram and other social media platforms, which was introduced back in 2018.

Stickers are slightly different from normal GIFs. They are transparent, requiring 20% transparency in the first frame to become a sticker, which allows for them to be overlayed onto existing content. Stickers can be something as simple as a flashing piece of text, full animated faces, pieces of video content or reactionary imagery.

How are GIPHY stickers made?

There are a number of ways you can create GIPHY stickers.

The first method is using an online sticker maker such as the one found on GIPHY’s own website. This would allow you to upload existing content and create an animation from a piece of static content instantly. However, there is a limit to what you can do using this method.

The second method is using software such as Photoshop or After Effects. If you have the skills and access to software, you can animate frames from an existing video OR create a completely new piece of creative work. Creation of stickers follows the same method as traditional GIF’s BUT they must feature a transparent background.

At Hydrogen our design team has the experience and skills to create an array of different stickers, allowing for full creative control for our clients.

Sticker rules checklist

GIPHY has a number of guidelines which you must follow to export your GIFs to stickers.

  • Do not include a background. It is necessary to have 20% transparency on the first frame of the GIF.

  • Set the GIF to loop forever.

  • Crop your stickers correctly so they do not turn out too small or too big.

  • File type MUST be a GIF. Mp4 and other video files are not accepted.

  • File size MUST be below 100MB.

  • Maximum length of GIF is 15 seconds; however 6 seconds is ideal.

  • Try to stay away from borders or edges, as these tend to bring quality of the sticker down

  • Make sure your sticker does not feature explicit content, as GIPHY has a strict policy about this.

How do you upload a GIPHY sticker?

To upload your stickers and make them searchable, you need to have either an artist’s account for creators to upload their original content OR a brand account for client specific stickers.

Once your sticker has been created, run through the checklist and be certain it meets the technical requirements. Once you’re happy, upload your stickers to GIPHY and remember to add keywords to make them searchable. Now, it’s time to wait.

Processing stickers can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

GIPHY has a strict system in place to approve stickers, you need to be aware of this if you plan on using them for brands. Leave plenty of time for them to go live.

Where are GIPHY stickers used?

GIPHY stickers are primarily used with the story function on social platforms such as Instagram. They are searchable when creating a story in the top search bar which GIPHY powers.

Ideally, stickers should be used to enhance story content and not overpower them. A maximum of 2 stickers per story is advised due to story content performing worse with more stickers. However, they enhance video content 83% of the time.

How can brands use GIPHY stickers?

For brands, stickers can be a powerful tool to highlight their content on story posts for their followers to see. There are many ways which brands use them including:

  • Highlighting a new post which has just gone live.

  • Introduce a call to action to click on a post or swipe up on a link.

  • Emphasising a new product release.

  • Bring attention to new content, campaigns or competitions.

  • Add bespoke stickers to plain stories to brand story.

  • Add an aesthetic element to a plain story.

  • Encouraging post engagement.

  • Generating curiosity by hiding post underneath stickers.

  • Making content funnier.

Benefits of using your own stickers

You might be thinking, why should I bother creating my own GIFs when there are thousands already out there? There are a few reasons you might think of creating brand specific stickers.

  • They can be totally unique to the brand, meaning you can use brand colours, fonts, assets and style. This helps make your Instagram content consistent across the entire platform.

  • With a GIPHY account you can access analytics for the entire sticker library you create. This lets you see how each sticker performs, which gives organic indication of how well or not they do and how many people have engaged with specific content, which can inform future content.

  • For specific events, having branded stickers related to that event (e.g. a festival or expo) your audience can use on their stories helps to increase UGC and brand awareness.

Are they worth the hassle? In short, yes. They’re a great way to add another element to story pieces as long as they don’t take away from the actual content. It can bring awareness to important posts and it’s a really nice way to jazz up some content. Although not a source of income, they beat that in the way content is engaged with and how much you can get from looking at the stats generated from the content.

GIPHY stickers are a great way to extend the reach of your brand without a huge media spend. They work across major platforms like Instagram and TikTok, allowing you to tap into your audience’s personal networks on these channels. We’ve delivered GIPHY stickers for brands and organisations such as Highland Park Whisky and City of Glasgow College, which have racked up well over a million views over a short space of time. If this is something you’re considering for your channel strategy, you need to carefully plan your approach in order to capitalise on the free brand awareness.

  • Create relatable content the end user will want to add to their story – self awareness is hugely important here, just look at Starbucks poking fun at itself over pumpkin spice latte season

  • Check out your competitor’s accounts, look to GIPHY’s own site which showcases trending gifs and stickers, but also just view your audience’s stories to identify what they typically share

  • Add your branding or logo where you can – but don’t overdo it

  • Make sure to tag relevant key words and search terms when uploading to GIPHY

  • Views of each upload can be tracked on your GIPHY account to give you an idea of how well they’re performing

You only need 5 uploads to get your brand channel started, and the results are limitless!

Here are some stickers we've created for our client, Highland Park Whisky.


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