11 Minute Read
Posted by SocialSellinator Team on Apr 11, 2024 7:55:30 PM

Understanding Instagram Story Dimensions, Importance of Correct Sizing

If you're looking for quick information on instagram story sizing, the magic numbers are 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high. This size, with an aspect ratio of 9:16, ensures your content looks its best, fitting perfectly on your audience's screens.

In the sea of digital content, Instagram Stories stand out as fleeting glimpses into our lives and businesses, yet their impact is anything but temporary. With half a billion people engaging with Stories every day, getting the dimensions right is not just a detail—it's a necessity. Whether you're aiming to boost your brand's online presence, share moments from your day, or showcase your latest products, the clarity, and appeal of your Stories can dramatically influence viewer engagement.

Understanding and using the correct Instagram Story dimensions is akin to framing a picture perfectly; it ensures your audience sees the full image, just as you intended, without any awkward cropping or blurring. This introductory guide will unveil the importance of these dimensions and how adhering to them can elevate your Stories from good to great.

Detailed infographic illustrating optimal Instagram Story dimensions, including visual examples of correctly sized content and advice on avoiding common sizing mistakes. - instagram story sizing infographic infographic-line-3-steps

By ensuring your content fits these dimensions, you're not only enhancing its visibility but also its potential to leave a lasting impression. Let's explore how you can master Instagram Story sizing to captivate and engage your audience effectively.

Understanding Instagram Story Dimensions

When we talk about Instagram Story dimensions, we're focusing on a specific set of numbers: 1080px by 1920px. This is the golden ratio for your Instagram Stories, ensuring they display crisply on virtually any smartphone screen.

Why this size? It's all about the aspect ratio—the relationship between the width and height of your image or video. For Instagram Stories, the magic number is 9:16. Imagine your phone screen as a tall, narrow canvas. That's the space your Story needs to fill perfectly.

Now, let's talk formats. PNG and JPG are your go-to formats for images. They strike a good balance between quality and file size, making them ideal for quick uploads that still look great on screen.

For videos, Instagram supports MP4 and MOV formats. Keeping your video files in these formats ensures smooth playback for your viewers, without any annoying hiccups or delays.

Instagram Story Dimensions - instagram story sizing

Sticking to these dimensions and formats isn't just about avoiding awkward crops or blurry images. It's about presenting your content in the best possible light, making every Story a polished piece of your brand narrative.

In the next section, we'll explore how to optimize your content within these dimensions for maximum impact. Whether it's capturing the perfect vertical video or choosing the right editing tools, mastering these basics is your first step towards Instagram Story success.

How to Optimize Your Instagram Stories

Optimizing your Instagram Stories isn't just about following the rules. It's about making your content pop, engage, and leave a lasting impression on your audience. Let's dive into how you can achieve this.

Capture Vertical Content

Smartphone Camera Settings: Before you start filming, adjust your smartphone camera settings to shoot in vertical format (9:16 aspect ratio). This ensures your content fills the screen without any awkward cropping. On an iPhone, you can do this by selecting the 16:9 option. Android users can find similar settings in their camera app.

Vertical Videos: Always aim to record your videos vertically. This might feel counterintuitive, especially if you're used to shooting in landscape, but vertical videos look better on mobile devices. They take up the entire screen, making your content more immersive and engaging.

High-Quality Content

Resolution and PPI: Instagram recommends uploading images with a resolution of at least 72 pixels per inch (PPI). This ensures your photos and videos look sharp and clear across different devices. Before uploading, check the PPI using photo editing software and adjust if necessary.

Instagram Compression: Instagram compresses your content to make it load faster, which can affect quality. To combat this, upload the highest quality possible within the file size limits. This helps retain the integrity of your content even after Instagram's compression.

Editing Before Uploading

External Editing Apps: Don't rely solely on Instagram's editing features. Use external apps like Captions for more control over your content. These apps offer customizable AI captions, unique stickers, and effects that aren't available on Instagram. Plus, you can adjust your aspect ratio and resolution to ensure your content looks its best.

Aspect Ratio Adjustments: If your content doesn't naturally fit the 9:16 ratio, use editing apps to adjust it without compromising quality. For example, if you have a landscape photo, you can add a blurred background to fill the vertical space without stretching the image.

File Size Limits

30MB for Photos, 4GB for Videos: Instagram allows up to 30MB for photos and 4GB for videos. Anything above these limits gets compressed, potentially reducing quality. Use an app like Captions to pre-compress your content. This gives you control over the compression process, ensuring your Stories look crisp and clear.

Pre-Compression: By compressing your files before uploading, you can manage the quality loss. Tools like Captions let you adjust the resolution, frame rate, and video quality, giving you a preview of the final file size. This way, you can make adjustments to stay within Instagram's limits without sacrificing quality.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize your Instagram Stories to not only meet the platform's requirements but to truly stand out. High-quality, well-edited content that fills the screen can significantly increase engagement and keep your audience coming back for more.

Best Practices for Engaging Instagram Stories

Creating Instagram Stories that capture and keep your audience's attention requires strategy, creativity, and a bit of know-how. Let's dive into some proven practices that can help your stories stand out.

Content Series

Gary Vaynerchuk is a prime example of someone who masters the art of content series. By focusing on Recurring Themes, you can build a strong connection with your audience. This approach keeps your content consistent and engaging, making it easier for your followers to know what to expect. Think of it as your own mini-series on Instagram where each story contributes to a larger narrative. This not only simplifies content creation but also ensures your audience keeps coming back for more.

User-Generated Content

Highlighting User-Generated Content is a powerful way to build community and show appreciation for your followers. Brands like Mercedes Benz excel at showcasing their products through the lens of their customers. This not only provides authentic content for your stories but also encourages more users to share their own experiences with your brand, hoping to be featured. It's a win-win; your feed stays fresh and your followers feel valued.


Giving your followers a Behind-the-Scenes look at your business or personal life can significantly boost engagement. It adds a layer of Transparency and authenticity, showing there's more to your brand than just products or services. Whether it's a sneak peek at an upcoming product, a day in the life of your team, or the process behind your work, these stories can make your audience feel like they're part of the journey.

Polls and Quizzes

Incorporating Polls and Quizzes into your stories is a fantastic way to foster Engagement and Interactive Content. This feature not only entertains your audience but also provides valuable insights into their preferences and opinions. It’s a direct line to your followers' thoughts and a fun way for them to interact with your content. Plus, it’s a great tool for making decisions, whether it’s choosing between product colors or deciding on your next blog post topic.

By implementing these best practices, you can elevate your Instagram Stories, making them more engaging and effective. The key is to stay true to your brand while being creative and interactive with your audience.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Instagram Story Sizing

When it comes to Instagram story sizing, even the smallest details can make a big difference in how your content is received. Here are some common pitfalls you'll want to steer clear of to ensure your stories hit the mark every time.

Long and Redundant Stories

It's tempting to share every detail of an event or thought process in your stories, but less is often more. Instagram Stories are designed for quick consumption, so it's crucial to keep your content concise and to the point. Viewers tend to lose interest in stories that drag on or repeat the same message in multiple segments. Aim for brevity and impact, ensuring each part of your story has a clear purpose and contributes to the overall narrative.

Excessive Text

While text can be a powerful tool to convey your message, overloading your stories with too much text can overwhelm your audience. Many people are quickly swiping through stories and may not stop to read a dense block of text. Use short, punchy sentences or keywords to get your point across and complement your visuals. This approach keeps your stories accessible and engaging, even for those just glancing.

Irrelevant Hashtags

Hashtags are a fantastic way to increase the discoverability of your stories, but using irrelevant or too many hashtags can backfire. It not only clutters your story but can also come off as spammy, potentially deterring viewers. Stick to a few relevant hashtags that directly relate to the content of your story. This strategy ensures your stories reach the right audience without sacrificing aesthetics or clarity.


Finally, a common mistake brands often make is overpromoting their products or services in every story. While Instagram Stories can be an effective marketing tool, balancing promotional content with engaging, informative, or entertaining content is crucial. This balance helps maintain your audience's interest and fosters a genuine connection with your followers. Before posting a promotional story, ask yourself if it adds value or offers something unique to your audience.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can create Instagram Stories that are not only correctly sized but also compelling and enjoyable for your audience to watch. Keep these tips in mind as you plan and execute your story strategy, and watch your engagement grow.

Remember that the key to success on Instagram lies not just in adhering to technical specifications like story sizing but also in understanding and engaging with your audience effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions about Instagram Story Sizing

When it comes to Instagram stories, there are a few questions that pop up time and time again. Let's dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to help you master the art of Instagram story sizing.

What’s the Best Aspect Ratio for Instagram Stories?

The best aspect ratio for Instagram Stories is 9:16. This means for every 9 units of width, there should be 16 units of height. In pixels, that translates to a 1080px width by 1920px height. This size makes full use of the mobile screen, giving your audience a complete and immersive viewing experience.

How Long Do Instagram Stories Last?

Instagram Stories are designed to be ephemeral, lasting just 24 hours from the time they are posted. However, if you want a story to remain accessible beyond this timeframe, you can add it to your "Highlights," which stay on your profile until you remove them. Highlights are a great way to categorize and archive stories that hold lasting value for your brand or personal profile.

Does Changing Instagram Story Dimensions Change the Shape of Videos?

Yes, changing the dimensions of your Instagram story can indeed change the shape of your videos. If your video does not match the 9:16 aspect ratio, Instagram may crop or zoom into your video to fit the screen, potentially cutting off important parts of your content. To avoid this, always aim to shoot or edit your videos in the recommended 9:16 ratio. This ensures your videos look their best and that your audience sees everything you intended.

Instagram Stories are a powerful way to connect with your audience. By sticking to the optimal sizing and understanding the basics of how stories work, you can create engaging content that resonates with your followers. Whether you're sharing a behind-the-scenes look, a quick update, or a creative video, the right dimensions can make your content shine.

As we continue to explore the vast world of Instagram Stories, keep these FAQs in mind to enhance your storytelling technique. With the right approach, you can turn simple moments into captivating stories that engage and inspire.


In wrapping up, it's clear that Instagram story sizing isn't just a minor detail—it's a pivotal part of your brand's visual communication strategy on social media. At SocialSellinator, we understand the power of a well-told story. Our goal is to help you harness that power by ensuring your content not only fits perfectly within the Instagram story dimensions but also captivates and engages your audience.

Why does sticking to the right Instagram story sizing matter? It's simple. When your stories are optimized for the platform, they appear more professional, are easier to view, and don't risk losing important elements to cropping or distortion. This attention to detail reflects on your brand's commitment to quality and enhances the overall user experience. Every story you post is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your audience.

Enhancing brand engagement through Instagram stories is about more than just selling a product or service; it's about telling your brand's story in a way that resonates with your followers. By leveraging the full potential of Instagram's storytelling format, you can create a narrative that is both compelling and visually appealing. Whether it's through behind-the-scenes glimpses, user-generated content, or interactive polls and quizzes, your stories can foster a sense of community and loyalty among your followers.

In conclusion, the journey through understanding and utilizing optimal Instagram story sizing is one that offers numerous rewards. From increased viewer engagement to stronger brand loyalty, the benefits are clear. At SocialSellinator, we're here to guide you through every step of this journey, ensuring your stories not only meet the technical requirements but also capture the essence of your brand.

Let us help you turn your Instagram stories into a powerful tool for connection and engagement. Explore our resources, and let's create stories that not only fit perfectly in the frame but also leave a lasting impression on your audience.

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SocialSellinator Team

SocialSellinator is a full-service digital marketing agency for startups, small and mid-size B2B/B2C businesses. Our clients benefit from increased brand awareness and leads, created by our data-driven approach to social media marketing, content marketing, paid social media campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO).