New social media sites continue to emerge, new features are added, and algorithms are always being updated, making it tough to keep up with social media best practices.
In fact, Instagram Stories are a popular trend that isn’t going away. Pamela Bump, audience growth writer at HubSpot, writes about Instagram Stories in this blog. She says, “Instagram Stories serves as an outlet for brands to creatively show their products, services, or happy customers in action. Branded Instagram Stories also enable audiences to learn more about topics related to your brand’s industry. Helpful and valuable content might also allow prospective buyers to trust your brand more.”
With this knowledge, you want your marketing team ready to develop a strategy for your Instagram Stories. To create this strategy, your team should decide what kind of images or videos they want to post. How do you plan on taking those images? With phones or professional cameras?
Below, you’ll learn the Instagram Story dimensions and why it’s important to add Instagram Stories to your strategy.
Instagram Stories dimensions are recommended to have an image and video ratio of 9:16 and 16:9 and 4:5. That means the recommended resolution is 1080 x 1920 pixels. The minimum width is 500 pixels and the maximum aspect ratio is 90 x 160. Instagram Story videos are 15 seconds long.
You might be asking, why do you need to know about the specific Instagram Stories dimensions? There are instances in which you might find that your Stories aren’t uploading with the quality that you’d like. The following tips can help you isolate the problem and improve the look of your brand assets:
Instagram will compress images during the upload process, so an already grainy or pixelated image will only get worse it gets to the platform.
Check that your images are at least 72 ppi resolution and clear on your computer before you add them to Instagram.
Instagram is strict about adhering to its dimensions in order to ensure quality photos and videos. When you upload a vertical image or video from your phone, you most likely won’t have to think about these dimensions because Instagram will automatically format them.
However, if you have horizontal photos that don’t fit the dimensions, Instagram will crop your photos, zoom in on content, or zoom out (making your image look small and placing it on a background). This typically results in lower quality images and videos.
Photo editing apps can help you control the quality of your Stories and ensure you’re always using the right dimensions. In order to edit your photos for Instagram, you can use sites including:
With these tools, you can input the specifications, upload images and videos, and complete the editing process. These work well if you have higher quality images taken with a camera or want to add graphics or text to your images or videos.
Here’s what the process would look like for Canva. Click on “Templates” and choose “Instagram Story” to see templates that are the right dimensions for Instagram.
Image source: Canva
If your internet connection is poor, Instagram stories will appear lower quality than the would on a faster connection.
Instagram does this to save resources for user experience as you interact with other areas of the site. Consider asking someone you know if the quality is low on their end as well. They — and your audience — may be viewing your stories with no issues.
Data saver is a feature that prevents videos from loading in advance, which helps reduce your data usage.
If your connection is fine but you’re still having issues with quality, this feature may be lowering the quality of your feed on your end.
As a last resort, test whether there’s a difference in quality between your phone’s integrated camera vs. the Instagram camera. The photos you take with your phone’s camera vs. the in-app camera (or vice versa) may weather Instagram’s compression settings better.
Why should you care about Instagram Stories? Here are a few stats from Instagram:
Sophia Bernazzani, HubSpot blog writer, wrote about how to use Instagram Stories for business in this blog. She says you can use Instagram Stories to:
Using Instagram Stories is a tactic that all marketers should consider. With active and engaged users, using Stories can improve your discoverability and increase brand reputation and awareness.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.