Instagram Stories are still driving tons of engagement.
This feature has witnessed tremendous growth since its launch and is still wildly used on this platform, with 600 million people using it on a daily basis.
Whether you’re already using IG Stories or not, it’s crucial to be aware of the best Instagram Story size you can use.
This article is going to help you understand much better the mechanism behind this feature and how to approach it from a visual perspective.
Let’s get started.
Table of contents:
- What are the recommended dimensions for Instagram Story?
- What is the Instagram Story safe zone?
- Why it’s important to use the correct Instagram dimensions?
- Why are Instagram Stories important for brands?
- Best practices for creating Instagram Stories
- Types of content that works best
The recommended Instagram Story size is 1080 x 1920 pixels. For this size, the images and videos you post here will have an aspect ratio of 9:16.
- The minimum width is 500 pixels.
- Accepted file types for images: JPG and PNG; maximum size of up to 30MB.
- Image stories are visible for five seconds (each slide).
- Accepted file types for videos: MP4 or MOV; maximum size of up to 4GB.
- The Instagram Story length for videos can be up to 60 seconds.
However, the images and videos you post don’t necessarily have to be 1080 x 1920 pixels, as long as you keep the 9:16 Instagram Story aspect ratio.
You can also upload other Instagram Stories resolutions:
- 720 x 1280 pixels
- 1440 x 2560 pixels
- 2160 x 3840 pixels
When you create Instagram Stories, you also need to consider the safe zone.
I’ll explain what the safe zone is and I’ll also show you in the screenshots below how they look like whenever you want to post a story.
For this example, I used a random photo from my phone of a cute coffee shop, and I also added a heart sticker so I can play with it.
In the first image, you can see that, when viewing a story, at the top left corner of the screen, a user will also see the profile icon and profile name of that account. At the top left corner, you have the option to close that story and return to your Instagram feed.
Because I wanted to move the sticker at the top of the screen, Instagram showed me that I would cross the safe zone line if I were to do that.
At the same time, it was extremely helpful to see how my image was centered. That way, I would be able to adjust it accordingly in case I was going after a super-symmetric visual or simply use the grid to center certain elements in my story.
As you can see from these screenshots, thanks to these grids, you will know where’s the middle (vertically and horizontally).
In this last screenshot, you’ll see that at the bottom of the story, a user has the option to respond with a message or a picture, send that story to another user, or, if that particular account has over 10k followers and added a link to that story, it will show the “Swipe up” button.
Otherwise, it won’t be visible. Luckily, Instagram is here to help and with these helpful grids, your IG story game will be on point.
Ideally, to take advantage of the entire screen, you should upload a portrait photo or a vertical video.
To make sure that important information is not cut off by this, Instagram will show you a temporary grid. This is extremely helpful when creating images, especially when you want to add text to them.
When you create an image or video, Instagram recommends leaving approximately 250 pixels of the top and bottom free from text, logos, or other elements.
The safe area is considered within 1080 x 1420 pixels.
More resources on Instagram sizes and formats:
- The ultimate guide to Instagram ad sizes
- 10 Instagram ad examples
- The ultimate guide to creating Instagram carousels
Whether you’re already using Instagram Stories or not, knowing the exact Instagram Story size is crucial.
Use the correct dimensions to ensure that your Stories will show flawlessly on Instagram. Otherwise, you risk getting your images/video cropped or stretched.
This will lower the quality of the image/video you posted while cropping important elements you may have included.
In order for your audience to pay attention to your Stories, you need to make sure that your message is clearly visible.
A study found that almost 58% of people said they’ve become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in an Instagram Story.
Here are the most important reasons why IG stories are important for businesses:
- Active and engaging user base. This IG feature has the highest rate of engagement out of all social media platforms so it’s definitely a must if you want to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
- Test new and creative ideas. Since stories are deleted after 24 hours, it allows you to get creative and test plenty of ideas to see what works for your audience. Moreover, with a creative tool such as Creatopy, creating images or animated content is easier than ever.
- Be playful. What’s great about the Instagram Stories format is the fact that it comes with plenty of tools that you can play with, such as stickers, drawing capabilities, augmented reality filters and much more. These are going to help you make the stories stand out even more.
- Improve discoverability. Thanks to Instagram hashtags, which are clickable, you can the chances of your account being discovered by other people. This means that the right hashtag has the power of putting you in front of the right audience, even if they weren’t connected with you beforehand.
A study run by Buffer, where they analyzed over 20k IG Stories from the world’s top brands, revealed some best practices for Insta Stories:
- Your best Story should be posted first. Their research showed that, if the first frame does not capture the audience’s interest, then people are more likely to exit the story and search for something that’s more appealing. At the same time, a trick that works is to encourage the user to move to the next story
- The ideal Story length is 7 frames. If a story is too long, you risk losing people’s interest and they are high chances of them swiping right. However, you should experiment to see what works best for your brand.
- The best time to post Instagram Stories is outside working hours. Post your Stories when everyone is at home, relaxing after work and checking out new content on Instagram.
- Be consistent. Since it’s one of the most engaging social media channels at the moment, you need to post regularly. Your audience might be waiting for new content from your brand.
- Look at the data. It’s recommended to experiment when you post a photo or video to your Instagram story but at the same time, you shouldn’t ignore the data. Look at the completion rate, reach and impressions, exit rates for each story frame, and more.
Nowadays, there are so many businesses that are leveraging IG stories, so you need to create amazing content that stands out and makes your audience come back for more.
Here are some ideas to get inspired by:
- Discounts/promotions. If you’re selling products or you provide services, you can definitely use Instagram as a way of promoting your offer. You can even test this out to see how many of your followers take advantage of your promotions exclusively through Insta Stories. To do this, you can give them a special discount code that they can use. In the screenshot below, you can see how Target used a simple Insta story image to promote a sale they were having.
- Promote website content. Your blog content or any other pages for that matter need all the traffic they can get, which is why it’s important to leverage all the channels and tactics you have at your disposal, including IG Stories. If your Instagram business account has over 10k followers, then you can easily promote a blog post by adding the Swipe Up button to a frame. To entice people to take action, adding a block of text as a preview is ideal. In the screenshot below, you can see how Buffer used this tactic to promote a podcast that they posted on their blog.
- Show behind the scenes. Behind-the-scenes content can be extremely appealing to your followers because it will make your brand more human. When people love and follow a brand on social media, they are usually curious about the process that goes into creating a product, organizing an event, shooting for a magazine editorial, or simply showing the company culture. You can see in the screenshot below how Sephora used this tactic to show the process that goes into creating a makeup tutorial and what the setup looks like.
- User-generated content. People will usually produce and post content with the brands they love, whether it’s a product or a place. This is why you need to capitalize on the power of this type of content. It’s authentic, it’s unique, and it’s also relatable to your audience. Encourage your followers to post about your brand and tag you so you can, later on, repost that content on your Stories. In the screenshot below, you can see how a coffee shop has integrated UGC into their Instagram marketing strategy. The picture is so appealing that it almost makes you want to go to this place right away and buy some delicious coffee, am I right?
- Create tutorials. Tutorials represent a great way to provide educational content in a easy to digest manner. You can create how-to videos for this purpose that revolve around the products you’re selling or are connected to your industry. They can be anything from makeup tutorials, product demonstrations, cooking videos, editing hacks, styling tips for brides, and the list can go on. The screenshot below shows an ad from GoPro promoting educational content in the form of a video while showing something useful to the customers that have the GoPro 7 Hero Black model.
- Get your audience involved. Even if IG Stories is one of the most engaging channels, you still need to encourage your followers to interact with you. Luckily, Instagram provides a lot of fun tools you can play with, such as polls, questions, and quizzes. You can use these features to boost engagement, get feedback from your followers on certain issues, receive questions from them or answers to your stories. Here is how Hubspot uses the quiz feature in one of their stories.
- Sponsored story. The high engagement rates on IG Story make this a great channel for running ads and reaching a larger audience. When swiping through stories, users will also see Instagram Stories Ads so it’s a great opportunity to capture more followers. Before setting up a Story Ad, it’s best to narrow down the information about the target audience you want to reach, which will oftentimes include the location, gender, age, interests, behavior. The Instagram Story Ad specs are the same as in the case of a normal story. Take a look at the screenshot below to see for a Sponsored Story appears on the screen.
Make use of the Instagram Story format to promote your brand and engage your audience. Experiment with all these different ideas I mentioned in this article and see which ones work best for you.
Remember to use the recommended Instagram Story size so your content will be uploaded at the best quality possible and show flawlessly.
At the same time, creating content for IG Stories shouldn’t be a hassle, so use Creatopy’s Instagram story maker to make this process effortless and seamless.
In case you’re using Stories as part of your Instagram strategy, let me know in the comments section below what your experience has been so far and what you have learned.