Facebook-owned image sharing platform Instagram has collaborated with Giphy to announce the rollout of a new millennial-focused feature on its Android and iOS app. Starting Tuesday, GIF stickers will be available globally as a part of the Stickers tab in Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories were first revealed back in August 2016. In this time, it has grown to 300 million DAU (Daily Active Users).
Thanks to the partnership with Giphy, Instagram users can now add funny GIF stickers to their public and private stories. "Users can add as many stickers as they'd like from a growing library, and will have hand-curated recommendations to turn even their seemingly mundane moments into fun, expressive and artistic moments to share," Instagram stated. GIF stickers will be available as part of version 29 on Android and iOS.
The feature was first spotted by The Next Web in a beta update in November 2017. Gadgets 360 got early access to the official update and here are our initial impressions of GIF stickers.
GIF stickers on Instagram Stories
To access the new feature, you need to take a photo, choose one from the gallery, or record a video on the Instagram Stories tab in the app. Next, click on the Stickers icon on the top right of the screen. Within the list, you will find the new GIF button to add the animated stickers to the photo or video you chose.
Clicking on the button will take you to a list of the top trending GIF stickers. You can now choose from any of the stickers you like and place it anywhere on the image or video. You can resize the GIF sticker, place more stickers, and add text as usual. You can also tap on the GIF sticker to reverse it.
The GIF search library is commendable, and you can search for hundreds of thousands of stickers present in Giphy's GIF database. Instagram has kept things minimal without too many additional options, a good thing for social media apps. Its sibling Facebook Messenger could probably learn a thing or two.
In our testing of the feature, we searched for GIF stickers of pop culture characters like Michael Scott from The Office, Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, among others, and were impressed with the variety of stickers available for use.
Instagram recommends searching for keywords like "Accessories" to find interesting face stickers such as sunglasses, hats, lips, and so on. Searching for "Effects" will return results of stickers that you can use to enhance the ambience in your story. Additionally, stickers in the "Peekers" category give a 3D illusion; they pop up and disappear.
Alternatively, you can search for "Word Art" to get fancy words in the form of a GIF; or even search for "Emoji" to get some special emoji packs.
How it fares against competition
In terms of market size, Instagram Stories only has 'competition' from the likes of WhatsApp Stories. In terms of features though, Instagram is known to borrow several features from Snapchat in the past. Things like face filters, self-destructing private stories, and regular stickers were first seen on Snapchat. At the time of writing, Snapchat does offer animated stickers albeit with an extremely limited library. It does, however, claim that seasonal stickers are released around events like Christmas.
With the Giphy partnership, Instagram has reiterated its stronghold in the market and given users yet another chance to interact on the platform. Instagram's next public announcement will be when we find out whether users spend time on the new feature or not.
"In the coming weeks, we're also rolling out the ability to upload photos and videos of any size to your story - so you never have to lose part of a photo or cut a friend out of a group video," said Instagram in a blog post. However, we are already able to see this feature on Instagram Stories.