Free exposure on social media? GIF stickers for brands

We created a set of Easter-themed GIF stickers this year and uploaded them to Giphy, hoping to reach 1 million impressions to prove the viability of a new marketing tool for brands. Two weeks later, we hit 20 million. That’s a solid 1900% above target.


What are GIF stickers?

It’s simple, really. GIF stickers are GIFs with a transparent background that are set to loop forever. While they are available on many different platforms, Instagram is perhaps the most popular and well-known platform where users add colourful, funny or useful stickers to their own stories.

Although still a fairly new domain for marketers, many brands have started experimenting with these animated stickers and are reporting impressive reach and engagement levels. They are free to upload to Giphy and publicly available for anyone to use in their stories, so the trick is to create something that can stand out in the search results.

GIF stickers for brands
Hoppy Easter

Back to our Easter experiment, we had a simple goal: to create a set of Easter-themed stickers in the new Harleys brand colours to test engagement levels for this potential new campaign deliverable. We were hearing stories from fellow UK marketers about six-digit views for what is essentially a very simple, low-cost marketing asset, so we were curious.

After an initial planning session, we settled on a set of six stickers:

·       Two selfie stickers: bunny ears and sunglasses with egg lenses

·       Two fun animations: a vanishing egg and an egg surprise with a T-rex

·       And lastly, two text-based stickers: a straight-forward “Happy Easter” and a cute “Hoppy Easter” version


Harleys' GIF stickers
Going live

We decided to upload our stickers at the start of April, which would give us two weeks of build-up to Easter. On 2nd April, we had 53.7K views – this was our starting point. (To apply for a brand account, you need to upload five GIFs to show what kind of content you intend to share, so even our test GIFs gave us a good amount of traction.)

Just two days later, on the 4th April, our views increased to 199.2K. The next day we hit 300K in the morning and 329.5K before we even left the office.

However, it’s worth noting that the only metrics available are Total GIF Views, described as “total views across all uploads”, and Top GIFs, which show each sticker ranked by total views. This means we only have a basic view of how our assets performed; we know which ones were the most popular, but we don’t know if they were viewed in search results or in users’ stories. We also don’t know which hashtags worked and where/how our stickers were used.

As a brand, this can be a difficult blind spot to manage and something we can only hope that Giphy will improve as more marketers start working with them.


Free user-generated content in the millions

We started with 53.7K views and hit 2 million before Easter. Then it all went nuts – by Easter Sunday we had 10 million views. Two days later, a staggering 17 million. Yes, we’d calculated that our stickers would be used in the run-up to Easter and then see a weekend of high activity, but we never thought it would take off at such a rate. By the time Easter was over, our GIF stickers had been served over 20 million times.

That’s a lot of free exposure and, crucially, user-generated content.

Think about it, you could create stickers that your target audience uses in their own social media content to share with friends, family and followers. All organic.

There’s clearly a lot of potential here, and frontrunner brands are seeing good results. For example, cinema chain Odeon use GIF stickers to engage with customers through animated popcorn buckets, branded cinema tickets, nachos, their own loyalty card and even animated versions of their own logo. Their total GIF views currently stand at 9.9 million for @ODEONCinemas.

And then there’s supermarket chain Lidl with an impressive 293 GIF uploads and 170.8 million total views for their Dutch channel @lidlnederland.

Curious? We can help you plan, create and launch your very own GIF stickers, either as part of a wider marketing campaign or as a stand-alone asset to complement your current communications strategy. Get in touch.