Jan 18, 2023
12 min to read
Content Writer @ Vista Social
What is the perfect Instagram Story size?
Why does it matter?
Learn all about the best Instagram Story dimensions, how to use them, and proven strategies for Instagram Stories to supercharge your audience engagement.
Instagram Stories are short, 15-second clips that are visible to followers and profile visitors for up to 24 hours. An Instagram Story can contain videos, photos, stickers, audio, text, and effects.
Videos up to 60 seconds can be uploaded to IG Stories, but they will be posted as four different Stories with 15 seconds each.
Instagram Stories have a file size limit of 30MB for images and 4GB for videos.
Users can find IG Stories at the top of the home feed.
IG Stories can also be saved as “highlights,” permanently visible on the original uploader’s profile.
Brands can use Instagram Stories to connect with their target audience and capture their interest organically. In addition to the reach of Instagram Stories, the platform also supports native ads, which seamlessly blend organic and paid content into the user experience.
According to a Facebook earnings call in 2019, over 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily. The data also revealed that 58% of users grew interested in brands after discovering them through Stories.
Both Instagram Stories and Reels support videos and images, but they have several differences in terms of features. While Story videos are capped at 15 seconds, Reels can be up to 90 seconds long.
Below are other distinctions between Instagram reels vs. Story:
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Instagram Story dimensions are 1080×1920 pixels or an aspect ratio of 9:16. This perfectly fits the vertical orientation of most modern smartphones.
Take note that your content doesn’t need to be exactly 1080×1920 pixels. As long as it has an aspect ratio of 9:16, Instagram automatically scales your content to match these dimensions perfectly.
Here are other resolutions that have a 9:16 aspect ratio:
The correct Instagram Story dimensions ensure your content shows properly on the Instagram app. If you use the wrong dimensions, your content will be cropped, while some visual quality might get lost.
Most mobile devices capture content with a 9:16 aspect ratio in portrait mode. As such, average users don’t need to do much to post Instagram Stories with the correct dimensions.
But for brands, agencies, and serious content creators that use tools like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Illustrator, posting Instagram Stories can get tricky.
For example, here’s a curated photo of a road on a mountainside from Pexels:
Here’s what the same photo looks like on Instagram Stories:
Of course, you can zoom in on the photo to match Instagram Stories’ dimensions. However, you need to crop a considerable portion of the image to fit.
Zooming in also causes a slight loss in the image’s sharpness and overall quality.
Without the proper Instagram Stories size, certain details of your post may get covered up by Instagram UI overlays.
Instagram Story “safe zones” are content areas that aren’t covered by UI elements or cropped out of sight.
Put your stickers and text overlays within safe zones to ensure they’re visible to your audience.
Luckily, Instagram Stories don’t have a lot of overlays—unlike Reels, which cover the bottom, right, and upper-right corners.
Pay attention to the guide lines on the Instagram Story editor to reveal safe zones.
For example, the top portion of Instagram Stories is covered by the uploader’s username and a few buttons.
The Instagram Story editor indicates this area with a white line as you approach it.
For convenience, Instagram automatically snaps Story elements to the edge of your safe zone. The line turns blue when this happens.
Grid lines also indicate the boundaries of the safe zone at the sides and bottom.
You can push your sticker or text overlay beyond the safe zone. However, it might get hidden behind Instagram’s UI elements.
This is problematic, especially if you add interactive stickers, like polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders.
Here are seven Story tips to help you maximize the Instagram screen real estate:
Set your device’s camera settings to 1080p or “Full HD” to create videos that use the correct Instagram Story size from the get-go.On iOS, launch ‘Settings’ and tap ‘Camera.’
Tap ‘Record Video’ and select any 1080p recording resolution.
Due to the number of Android devices, it’s impossible to specify the exact steps to set your Android smartphone’s video recording resolution. Just explore the settings of your camera app or use Google Search to find the correct instructions.
Don’t forget to capture videos vertically.
Even if your camera settings use 1080p, content with a landscape orientation will not look good on Instagram Stories.
Use photos that have a resolution of at least 1080p.
For example, if you use an image that’s only 720p, Instagram will scale it up to match the 1080p Instagram Story dimensions. This noticeably degrades the image’s quality, making it appear “stretched” and blurry.
Remember this when using content you didn’t create, including downloaded stock photos and images received via Bluetooth.
If you receive content that’s less than 1080p, consider using tools like Img.Upscaler to increase the size of images while minimizing quality loss.
Switch the aspect ratio of your smartphone’s camera to 9:16 so you don’t have to scale or crop photos for Instagram Stories.
Whether you’re an Android or iOS user, there’s an easy way to set a different aspect ratio for your camera app.
For example, iPhones use a 4:3 aspect ratio in their camera app by default.
Change this by tapping the “more settings” button at the top of the screen (up/down arrow) and tapping ‘4:3’ in the menu bar.
Select ‘16:9’ as your new aspect ratio, and you’re done.
Note that this is the same as the 9:16 aspect ratio; the only difference is the orientation (9:16 is vertical, and 16:9 is landscape).
When importing photos for Instagram Stories, always download using the PNG file format.
PNG offers the best sharpness and vividness than other image formats supported by Instagram (PNG, GIF, and JPG). However, PNG images may have enormous file sizes, especially in higher resolutions.
If you want to download content from stock photo sites like Pexels, consider downloading your image at 1080px by 1920px. This will reduce your image’s file size without significant changes in visual clarity.
Use VistaCreate to craft engaging, perfectly-cut Instagram Story videos.
VistaCreate is a powerful graphic design tool with extra video editing capabilities. It features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you whip up professional-looking visuals in minutes.
VistaCreate has pre-optimized templates for social media content, including Instagram Stories.
Just switch to the ‘Templates’ tab, click ‘Social Media Posts,’ and select ‘Instagram Story.’
From there, choose one of the customizable Instagram Story templates available. These templates are already created to match the ideal Instagram Story dimensions.
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You can also use VistaCreate through the Vista Social integration.
From the Vista Social dashboard, go to ‘Media’ and click ‘Add Media’ in the upper-right corner. Select ‘Add video’ and click ‘Design with Vista Create.’
Under “Select type of video,” select ‘Instagram Reel or Story’ then click ‘Design with Vista Create.’
This will launch VistaCreate directly on top of Vista Social. More importantly, you’re given a blank canvas with the perfect Instagram Stories dimensions to work with.
Start composing your Instagram Story content by combining stock videos, music, animations, and graphics. When done, click ‘Export’ and choose a file format to save it to your Vista Social library.
Use lossless compression tools if your content is larger than Instagram’s file size limit for Stories (30MB for images and 4GB for videos).
For images, a free tool like Kraken.io should be enough to shrink content to acceptable file sizes. Just select ‘Lossless’ to prevent any visible quality loss after compression.
For videos, use video editing tools with built-in lossless compression. Other tools like VEED offer a standalone video compression tool with adjustable quality settings.
Use a premium graphic design tool like Canva to create Instagram Stories with perfectly-sized templates.
Similar to VistaCreate, Canva also features a drag-and-drop interface that makes graphic design and basic video editing easy. It’s also accessible through Vista Social, streamlining your workflow from content creation to scheduling.
To launch Canva from Vista Social, go to your media library, click ‘Add media,’ select ‘Add image,’ then click ‘Design with Canva.’
Select ‘Instagram Story’ when you see the list of Canva design categories. Click ‘Design with Canva’ to fire up the tool from Vista Social.
Canva speeds up the content creation process with pre-designed templates, which you can customize with various design tools. Insert filters, text effects, animations, data visualizations, and more.
These templates are best designed to match the ideal Instagram Story dimensions perfectly.
Here are additional tips and ideas to help you make the most out of Instagram Stories:
Generate more engagement with your Instagram Stories by asking questions or polls.
Simply create a Story and insert the “Question,” “Poll,” or “Quiz” sticker. Follow the on-screen instructions to write your question and potential answers for quizzes and polls.
The challenging part is finding the best questions to ask on Instagram Story.
Think of something fun and capable of producing meaningful insights for your brand.
Here are some examples:
Repost your Instagram Reels and feed posts as Stories to maximize their exposure to your followers.
Sharing Reels as Stories, in particular, give your audience two ways to enjoy your content. They can watch the shortened version on the Story or tap ‘View Reel’ to watch the full version.
Take the opportunity to incorporate Instagram Story features, like polls and clickable link stickers (which aren’t available on Reels).
Do this on your content or curated Reels from popular Instagram users to increase interactions.
Compile and publish photo dump stories from “leftover” assets on your device or online media library.
Photo dumps, be it on Instagram Stories or regular feed posts, are great for busy social media marketers. They’re easy to make, engaging, and can give your audience a glimpse of your internal company culture.
If you don’t know how to add multiple photos to Instagram Story and create a photo dump, here’s a quick recap:
Cross-promote content from other social campaigns to Instagram Stories—and vice versa.
Instagram Stories are highly effective in promoting to users who already follow your account. But they’re not as effective in reaching new audiences.
Use the in-app share button to promote your Instagram Story on other channels.
Instagram Stories can be shared through email, instant messaging apps, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other content channels via a link. In turn, you can share all types of content on Instagram Stories—from blog posts to tweetable quotes.
Seasoned markets even know how to share a YouTube video on Instagram Story. You can share a YouTube link or download-reupload your video on Instagram.
Streamline your cross-promotions by connecting all your channels to Vista Social—an all-in-one social media management platform.
Vista Social features auto-publishing to all nine major networks, namely:
The unified Vista Social publisher lets you schedule posts across your profile group in one go. Select the profiles you want to use and customize your post for each network.
Unlike other scheduling tools that automate reminders, Vista Social auto-publishes directly to every network. This includes Instagram Reels, TikTok, and Facebook Reels.
Feature Story highlights on your profile to create content groups about specific topics, like FAQs, events, new product releases, and so on.
Make your Story highlights more eye-catching with custom covers. Launch the Instagram app and head to your profile. Tap and hold the highlight you want to edit, and tap ‘Edit highlight.’
Tap ‘Edit cover’ and choose the new cover you want to use.
Remember to use thematic highlight covers that match the tone and personality of your Instagram brand.
Promote user-generated content (UGC) such as customer reviews, testimonials, comments, and posts with brand mentions on Instagram Stories and boost your authority.
Vista Social has three useful tools for this:
If you find user Stories posted about your brand, consider sharing them via Stories yourself—or take a screenshot and repurpose the content. (To avoid needless issues, reach out to the user and ask permission before using their Story.)
You may ask, “Does Instagram notify when you screenshot a Story?”
Long story short, no—Instagram doesn’t notify users if someone took a screenshot of their Stories. Instagram only sends notifications in some instances when sending content via direct messages (i.e., using “Vanish” mode).
Increase the searchability and engagement factor of your Instagram Stories with trending sounds.
Get trending audio suggestions using Vista Social’s publisher.
When creating a new Story, click the tripe-dot settings menu in the video’s thumbnail and click ‘Pick sound.’
Vista Social will present a list of trending audio suggestions for Instagram. Select the one you like and click ‘Apply sound.’
If your Instagram Story appears low-quality despite using the correct resolution and aspect ratio, try the following:
Instagram Stories are 1080px by 1920px in size—an aspect ratio of 9:16. This size perfectly fits the screens of most smartphones and tablets.
In terms of file size, Instagram Stories can be up to 30MB for images in the following formats: PNG, GIF, and JPG. For videos, the file size limit is 4GB (MOV and MP4).
As of writing, Instagram currently doesn’t support 4K videos on both Stories and Reels. If you try to upload video content with these dimensions, Instagram automatically scales them down to 1080×1920 (1080p), which causes a slight loss in quality.
Publishing high-quality Instagram Stories is just one aspect of getting exceptional results from your Instagram marketing campaigns.
You need to publish consistently and at the correct times for sustainable growth.
Use Vista Social to automate an endless supply of Stories and keep your followers hooked. Take advantage of engagement generation features like trending audio, social media listening, review management, and more.
Get started today with a free Vista Social account. Good luck!
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