How to post GIFs on Instagram

Written by Chris Bovan

Despite often looking out of place against the polished backdrop of the modern internet, animated GIFs remain a popular source of amusement. Uploading a GIF to Facebook is easy, but what if you want to post them on Instagram? Sadly, Instagram does not natively support GIFs, so posting one is not straightforward. Fortunately, you can use video — which is supported — as a workaround.

In order to upload a GIF to Instagram, you need to first convert it to a video file. Afterward, you’ll be able to post it on Instagram like you would any standard video. Here are a couple of options for how to do this.

Programmatically using FFmpeg

FFmpeg is the leading multimedia framework, able to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter and play pretty much anything that humans and machines have created. It supports the most obscure ancient formats up to the cutting edge. No matter if they were designed by some standards committee, the community or a corporation. It is also highly portable: FFmpeg compiles, runs, and passes our testing infrastructure FATE across Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, the BSDs, Solaris, etc. under a wide variety of build environments, machine architectures, and configurations.

Using FFmpeg you can easily convert GIF to MPE4 - Instagram supported video format.

$ ffmpeg -i input.gif output.mp4

Resulting video file is now be published to Instagram. If you are using Concrete Social Instagram Publishing API to publish it - you can simply pass the URL of the video.

  "caption" : "My awesome gif!",
  "media_type" : "video",
  "media_url" : "URL_TO_YOUR_VIDEO",
  "profiles": ["5c21013a8c93b0050877659d"]

How to post Gifs using Giphy

Giphy is a popular search engine for GIFs, the very one you may have already used when sourcing your GIF. The nice thing about Giphy, however, is that it lets you easily post to various social networks and automates the video conversion process for Instagram. After finding that perfect GIF, all you need to do is click the Instagram icon and enter your email when prompted. Once done, a 15-second MP4 will appear in your inbox.

How to post Gifs using Giphy

Next, open the email message on your phone — remember, you can only post to Instagram using the mobile app — and save the video to your phone’s camera roll. Then, open Instagram and post the GIF. The process is just like sharing any photo or video, meaning you’ll be able to add a caption, filter, and location. You can also download the GIF to your computer and transfer it to your phone, instead of having Giphy email it.

The process is even easier with Giphy’s mobile app. It’s similar to the desktop method outlined above, but doesn’t require you to email the video to yourself. Instead, it allows you to download the GIF to your camera roll and open it in an Instagram post.

You can also use Giphy with GIFs from other places, whether it’s from your desktop or another website (like Imgur). To do so, simply upload it to the Giphy website. Afterward, follow the same directions as outlined above to share it to Instagram. Just make sure that the GIF you’re uploading is something that you have permission to repost, or you could run into legal trouble.

There are plenty of GIF-related websites besides Giphy, but we find Giphy to have a robust library and an easy approach for uploading GIFs to Instagram.

How to post Gifs using Photoshop

If you’re a Photoshop user, you can easily convert GIFs into video files that you can upload to Instagram.

How to post Gifs using Photoshop

The process is really quite simple. First, open the GIF inside Photoshop and navigate to File, Export, and Render Video. Don’t worry about adjusting the settings — the default settings are fine. Pick a location where you want to save the GIF and hit Render. Most GIFs are relatively small, so it should take a minute or two at the most to render the video.

Next, send the file to your phone via email, Dropbox, AirDrop, or whatever method you prefer. Then, share the video to Instagram as you would any other post.

The above method is for turning an existing GIF into a movie file, but Photoshop is equally powerful for creating your own GIFs out of videos or a series of still images. But remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Be careful not to go overboard with GIFs, but when used sparingly, they will spice up your social feeds and keep your followers thirsting for more.