There are always new social media websites, new functions and algorithms that are constantly being updated. This makes it difficult to keep up with social media best practices.
However, social media is here to stay. According to Instagram, there are more than a billion active users every month and more than 500 million active stories every day. Additionally, 90% of accounts follow a business on Instagram, making this platform a top choice for all types of businesses.
Instagram Stories are a popular trend that is not going away. Pamela Bump, Audience Growth Writer at HubSpot, says, “Instagram Stories gives brands the opportunity to creatively show their products, services or satisfied customers in action. Branded Instagram Stories also let viewers learn more about topics related to your brand’s industry Learn Helpful and valuable content can also enable potential buyers to trust your brand more. “
Knowing this, you want your marketing team to be ready to develop a strategy for your Instagram stories. To create this strategy, your team should decide what type of pictures or videos to post.
How are you going to take these pictures? With cell phones or professional cameras?
In the following, you will learn what dimensions the Instagram story has and why they are important for your Instagram marketing strategy.
Instagram story dimensions
The dimensions for Instagram stories are 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high (1080 x 1920 or 1080p resolution). Your Instagram story size should have an aspect ratio of 9:16. The minimum width is 500 pixels, the maximum video length is 15 seconds, and the accepted video file types are MP4, MOV, or GIF.
If you are capturing an Instagram story video with your phone, the size is likely to be 1080 x 1920 pixels so you don’t need to resize it. However, if you’re using a different camera or a custom setup, you’ll need to use a video editing app to make sure your video is the correct dimensions.
While this may seem like a lot of work, it is extremely important for the user experience and ensuring maximum engagement with your story.
Why are Instagram story dimensions important?
Instagram has provided these dimensions and sizes to ensure your story is uploaded in the highest quality possible. These dimensions are also ideal for most mobile devices and will ensure your video, picture, or GIF will display properly on various operating systems and screen resolutions.
Using Instagram Story Dimensions Also:
- Helps your brand look more professional
- Make sure the content is high quality
- Prevents unnecessary pixelation
If you don’t keep these dimensions, your pictures or videos will be cropped and the content you want to share will not display as intended. This is why it is best to resize your pictures and videos using an Instagram photo editing app.
Speaking of which, let’s go through the ideal Instagram Story image size. Spoiler Warning: It conforms to Instagram Story video dimensions so it’s easy to remember.
Instagram story image size
The Instagram Story image size is 1080 x 1920 pixels with an aspect ratio of 9:16. The platform accepts JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats. You can collage photos using Instagram’s layout function or add a maximum of 10 photos to your story.
Whether you’re uploading a video, an image, or a mix of both to your story, it’s important that your content is in a “safe zone” where it won’t be cut off or faded out.
The safe zone for Instagram story greats
The “safe zone” refers to the area in your Instagram story where the content is not obstructed or at risk of being cut off.
Instagram will automatically show blue lines when you try to move content out of the safe zone, especially if you add stickers or GIFs. When I tried to move the timestamp to the edge of the screen, Instagram wouldn’t let me go to the edge or cover my profile picture at the top.
Instagram also provides guidance on adding elements to your story so that you can center them perfectly.
When it comes to personal Instagram stories, it is common to post videos using the front camera of your mobile phone. The frame can be tilted and your face cut off. that’s all well and good.
However, in a business Instagram account, you should make sure that all videos are professionally recorded and that the element you want to promote is in the center of the screen. Most importantly, if you plan to add polls or stickers, leave enough space in the frame so that you can place that content without interfering with anything else.
Here are some additional tips for sizing your Instagram story.
Instagram story size tips
1. Before uploading, make sure your content is high quality.
Instagram compresses images during the upload process so that an already grainy or pixelated image will only get worse once it arrives on the platform.
Make sure your images are at least 72ppi resolution before adding them to Instagram.
2. Upload the correct size, shape and aspect ratio.
Instagram strictly adheres to its dimensions to ensure high quality photos and videos. Most likely, when you upload a vertical picture or video from your phone, you don’t have to think about these dimensions as Instagram formats them automatically.
However, if you have horizontal photos that don’t fit the dimensions, Instagram will crop your photos, enlarge or shrink the content (which will make your image look small and place it on a background). This usually results in lower quality images and videos. So make sure you stick to the 9:16 aspect ratio.
3. Use photo editing apps.
With the help of photo editing apps, you can control the quality of your stories and make sure you are always using the correct dimensions. To edit your photos for Instagram, you can use the following tools:
This is the perfect option for creating pictures for your Instagram stories. To start with, Canva has templates designed with Instagram dimensions in mind. Canva offers free and paid plans.
This software makes it easy to create videos for Instagram Stories. Once you start creating a video, you can choose the correct dimensions on the platform. Lumen5 offers both free and paid plans.
Easil offers Instagram story templates that you can use to create engaging content. You have templates for single images and stories with multiple cards. Easil offers free and paid versions.
Adobe Spark makes it easy to create images and video graphics for Instagram Stories. You can create your own stories using their typography and image options. Adobe Spark offers free and paid plans.
Embed Social is another type of Instagram Stories tool. Embed Stories allows you to make your stories shippable by adding CTAs and creating embeddable code that you can add to your website. Embed Social has free and paid offerings.
These tools will allow you to enter the specifications, upload pictures and videos, and complete the editing process. These work well when you have a professional camera to take higher quality images, or when you want to add graphics or text to your pictures or videos.
4. Upload vertical content.
While Instagram posts are more flexible in terms of orientation and dimensions, Instagram stories work best in a vertical format. Make sure your photos and videos are vertical before posting. If your content doesn’t align vertically, consider posting it as a regular post instead.
5. Stay below 30MB in file size.
Pay attention to your file size. Instagram only accepts up to 30 megabytes. This should give you plenty of wiggle room to upload high quality photos and videos.
If the quality doesn’t look right, it’s time to troubleshoot.
How can I correct the quality of my Instagram stories?
There may be cases where your stories are not uploaded with the quality you want. Let’s go over a few quality questions as well as some troubleshooting tips.
Why are my Instagram stories blurry? Why is the picture quality changing in my Instagram story?
Your Instagram story can be blurry for two reasons:
- Instagram compressed the video or picture so much that it looks blurry.
- The dimensions or the aspect ratio are disabled.
To fix this, you should check the quality of the uploaded picture or video. How big is the file? Is it at least 72 ppi? If the file size is too small or the ppi is too low, Instagram’s compression process has deteriorated further. Consider making a higher quality version so Instagram doesn’t look pixelated when it compresses.
Next, check the dimensions. Try to use the full 1080 x 1920 size for the highest quality possible.
If these two check out and your story is still blurry, follow these tips to help isolate the problem.
1. Check if the quality is better on other devices.
If your internet connection is poor, Instagram Stories will show lower quality than if you connected faster.
Instagram does this to save user experience resources as you interact with other areas of the website. Ask someone you know if the quality ends up being bad too. You – and your audience – can view your stories with no hassle.
2. Disable Data Saver.
Data Saver is a feature that prevents videos from being preloaded, which can help you reduce your data usage.
If your connection is fine but you are still having quality issues, this feature can affect the quality of your feed.
3. Test photos from different cameras.
As a last resort, test if there is any quality difference between your phone’s built-in camera and the Instagram camera. The photos you take with your phone’s camera versus the in-app camera (or vice versa) can better withstand Instagram’s compression settings.
Instagram story sizes are essential to any Instagram strategy
All marketers should use Instagram Stories. While posting to your feed regularly is a great tactic, adding stories to your strategy will result in a better ROI of your time and resources spent on the platform. Instagram Stories can improve your discoverability, increase your brand reputation and awareness, and help you and your business grow better.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for completeness.