Update: September 20, 2018: The GIFs you know and love in Instagram Stories are coming to Direct. Starting today, you can tap the new GIF button in a DM to see trending GIFs and search for your own. There's also an "I'm feeling lucky" element to the experience — tapping "random" will send a random GIF related to the ones you have searched.
(lThis piece was originally published on January 23, 2018.
Your Instagram Stories feed is about to be taken over by crying Drakes, flying wads of cash, and squirrels waving pom poms in the air. Starting today, you can access all the quirky, animated wonders of Giphy on Instagram with new GIF Stickers. The news arrives following last week's reports that Instagram was testing the tool.
Using the new GIF stickers is easy: Open Instagram Stories and take a photo or video. Tap the stickers icon on the upper righthand toolbar. In the second row, you'll see a new sticker, showing a search bar with the word GIF fittingly spelled out in animated letters. Tap that, and you'll see a screen with trending GIFs you can choose from, or you can type a keyword into the search bar to find a more specific GIF in the GIPHY library.
If you want to find text-based GIFs, look for "word art." Searching for "effects" will provide sparkles and fireworks you can use to decorate your Story scene, while "accessories" will pull up bunny ears, lip-licking mouths, wagging tongues, and other appendages you can use animate someone's face. A personal favorite is the search for "peekers", which produces GIF stickers that pop up and disappear or dangle over an edge, like the legs above.
When you find the sticker you like, tap to place it on your story. You can add multiple GIF stickers to a single Story and resize them as you would any other stickers. Tapping a GIF sticker once reverses its direction. To remove it, simply press and hold to drag it to the trash.
In addition to today's news, Instagram announced another, more practical change that will roll out in coming weeks. Soon, the app will support photos and videos of any size in Stories, meaning you'll no longer have to worry about landscape or portrait images being cut off or distorted. A color gradient matching your image will appear in the space surrounding images that don't fill the entire screen.
Stay tuned for that rollout, but in the meantime, enjoy playing with the new GIF stickers at your disposal. We know we sure will be.