Instagram Stories was one of the best decisions Instagram ever made; one of the most popular features on the platform, it has expanded average time spent on the platform as well as ad revenue.
First launched to combat Snapchat and offer Instagram users an in-app feature that would do the same, Instagram stories have reached new heights and have more than double the users of Snapchat on a monthly basis in the US alone.
Instagram stories are able to reach their target audience and followers on a more intimate and active basis adding functionality to the platform that previously did not exist as well as offering plenty of tools for marketers on Instagram.
With a more personal way to connect with followers and new viewers, brands, businesses, influencers, creators, and more can boost their reach on the platform and start to establish a reputation that people want to get behind.
With so many people trying to beef up their Instagram stories game, it can be tough to get noticed and consistently have people watching and engaging with your stories.
In order to generate interest around your content, it’s vital that you execute on the basics first.
What are the basics? Creating engaging and successful Instagram story content as well as making sure that this content is optimized for Instagram stories.
Instagram stories aren’t the same as regular Instagram content feed posts; they have much different dimensions and if your photos don’t match the dimension, it’s not going to look right.
You may run into trouble and have poorly created IG story content on your hands.
Nobody wants this; if you want to stand out from other accounts and look professional, your content has to look seamless and perfectly tailored.
We know this can be a challenge, especially if you’re just starting out and navigating content creation, so we’re here to help.
In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- Instagram story dimension basics
- Why Instagram story dimensions are important
- How to use Instagram story dimensions
- Design apps and tools to help create Instagram content
- Pro tips for Instagram stories
After you read this article we’re sure you’ll feel confident about how to create the best Instagram story content and get more people checking out and loving your perfectly dimensioned stories. Let’s go!
The Basics of Instagram Story Dimensions
We’re sure that you’ve had some experience with the Instagram story feature either as a user of Instagram yourself or as a content creator.
In both scenarios, you know just how popular and easy it is to spend hours looking through Instagram stories.
In fact, there are many users that view Instagram or use an anonymous Instagram story viewer simply to use the Instagram story feature and watch other users’ stories, so if you’re not using IG stories, you’re missing out on a key audience group.
Keep your account set to public so that both followers and non-followers can have the opportunity to view your stories; if you are on a private account, you’ll be missing the chance to reach new users.
Not only are Instagram stories entertaining and popular, they’re also a key marketing opportunity for brands, businesses, and anyone else looking to monetize the platform.
Bloggers, artists, musicians, creators, public figures, and many, many more people in a huge range of niches can benefit from using Instagram stories.
Instagram stories are a great mix of short and accessible visual media that can reach users on a personal level, making it the perfect way to show your followers who you are, go behind the scenes of your endeavor, and much more.
In order to get the most impact out of your IG stories, you first have to ensure that they look great and add value to your account.
If they look bad or provide a bad user experience, they may actually damage your reputation.
It would be a shame to have great content that looks blurry or has half of it cropped out.
Your message won’t land on your viewers and they’ll probably make you look like a newbie.
The goal is to look reputable, knowledgeable, and credible with impactful Instagram stories in your niche.
In general, most images look fine on Instagram stories, but they may not look exactly how you want them to.
For instance, some photo types and sizes, like a portrait photo, Instagram stories will automatically zoom in on this photo so that it takes up the whole screen.
If you want to display the complete photo on your story, you’ll have to zoom out, leaving gaps above and below the photo.
This isn’t terrible, but it’s not always the best option nor the desired look. The ideal Instagram story dimensions are 1080 (width) by 1920 (height) pixels.
You’ll need to ensure your photo or video meets that before you post it. Alternatively, you can verify it by ratio, which is a 9:16 aspect ratio.
Why Are Instagram Story Dimensions Important?
By now you may have an idea about why Instagram story dimensions are important, but just in case, we’ll discuss it just a bit more.
When you adhere to the proper IG story dimensions, there will be no doubt that technically, your content aligns with IG stories in an optimized way.
If you want to create a professional and adept Instagram story feed, you’ll need to ensure that your content meets the Instagram story dimensions.
That way, nothing gets cut out and everything matches up.
If you use photos that don’t meet the ratio and are too small, vital parts of your photos could end up missing or you’ll have to zoom out and see a bunch of blank space on your IG story. No good.
You should also verify that your photos are high resolution so that they can meet the dimensions and look clear and crisp.
You don’t want to have a bunch of blurry images on your Instagram stories— that’s a no go.
When you use the 9:16 aspect ratio (1080 x 1920 dimensions), you ensure your content will look as high-quality and professional as possible, setting you up for success on IG stories.
Let’s examine how you can get your content suited to those dimensions.
How to Use Instagram Story Dimensions
We can see that using the Instagram story dimensions can allow us to have content that suits IG stories in the best way and looks most professional.
It’s also important to keep in mind that high resolution is a key factor in how good your content looks.
That said, high-resolution photos typically take up more space on your device and take longer to upload because they are bigger files than those of lower dimensions.
If you want to avoid issues with file size and storage space, you can change the number of pixels for your image which won’t affect the size or shape of the video.
When you use the 9:16 ratio, you can use photos that have lower resolutions.
This includes photos with resolutions like 720 x 1280 or 450 x 800.
You won’t have as much definition and clarity as in higher resolution photos, but you’ll have smaller file sizes and better upload speeds.
Test a couple options and see what works best for you overall.
Use Design Apps And the Right Instagram Story Size for Content
So, you may be wondering how you can get your content to the right size ratio and dimensions.
There are plenty of tools that can help you do that, and we’ll list a few of them here:
- iPhone photos: for those iPhone users, you can adjust your photo ratio right from within your iPhone photos on your camera. All you have to do is click the edit button at the top of the photo you want to edit; you’ll then click the crop and rotate button at the bottom of the screen. Once there, the first icon on the right, sizing windows, will allow you to choose from preset ratios and select the look that you want for your photo. Very easy way to edit photos to the 9:16 aspect ratio.
- iMovie: unfortunately in the photo app you can’t edit videos, but you can edit them via iMovie and change the ratio and dimensions there.
- Photoshop: another alternative is Photoshop; for those that like to edit photos on their computer or laptop and are savvy in photo editing, Photoshop can be a great choice. There is a bit of a learning curve if it’s your first time using Photoshop, so be patient and check out some tutorials to help you get the hang of things.
- Canva: Finally, an awesome free online tool with amazing templates and graphic creation is Canva. You’ll be able to select the template you like and start creating your content. You can set the custom dimensions for Instagram stories (1080 x 1920 pixels) and create the IG story content of your dreams.
You can even create awesome quotes and lettering for your Instagram quotes on Canva. Other options are Textgram and Image Quote.
Pro Tips for Using Instagram Stories
Now that we know how to optimize the size and look of our Instagram story photos, let’s take a look at 5 pro strategies that can help you to take your Instagram story content to the next level!
Although we typically think of hashtags as something we use on our in-feed Instagram content, hashtags are vital for Instagram stories as well.
Remember, the hashtag is the universal symbol for content discoverability.
You can get many more people looking at your content when you use the right hashtags.
Just make sure your profile is set to public so that new viewers can access your story and feed content.
How can you choose the right hashtags for Instagram?
The good news is that there’s a tool for that as well. You want to ensure that your hashtags are niche-specific and optimized for more reach to your target audience, and that’s exactly what an Instagram hashtag generator can help you do.
You’ll get the best results and you can filter them with any relevant filters that you are interested in.
Once you have the hashtags that are right for you, you can then organize them and create groups for easy posting and quick reference.
2. Create Content with Calls to Action
Instagram stories are all about reaching and connecting with your target audience, so you’ve got to provide them with ways to participate as viewers.
The more you engage with them, the more valued and seen they will feel, building bonds and loyalty.
Instagram implemented a variety of ways to do this via Instagram stories with interactive stickers like question stickers, polls, ratings, quizzes, and more.
Use a healthy balance of these and also find ways to make your stories interactive and fun!
Not only will your users love it but your engagement levels will also go up, which will benefit your content validity and reach in terms of the Instagram algorithm.
3. Don’t Forget Lettering and Stickers
Another important part of Instagram stories is to make sure that everything looks fun and engaging; you can do this through proper lettering and use of stickers.
IG offers you tons of stickers and animated GIFs that you can use on Stories, so take advantage of them when they’re relevant and useful for your content. Be creative!
What’s more, make sure that your text flows well with your image, is readable, and adds value to the visuals of your story.
You can use tools like Canva or others mentioned above, or do it right in the IG story app.
Just keep in mind your options will be much more limited on fonts and looks if you don’t use an outside app.
4. Post Story Sequences
You can connect with your followers and viewers even more when your stories are viewed as a cohesive unit that tells a story and takes users through an experience, not simply individual, isolated IG stories.
You can create images that go together in sequence and offer different visuals and information to your followers as you go.
You can also add elements above like hashtags, text and visuals, as well as interactive story stickers.
The possibilities are endless on IG stories and you really have a great chance to be original and creative in how you present your stories. Use it!
5. Announce New Content, Products, and/or Events
Finally, if you’ve already got some rapport built up or you want to start to draw attention to your Instagram content, products, services, events, and more, you can mention it on IG stories.
In order to direct traffic to your main IG feed from your stories, you can use the “new post” strategy where you share your post to your story and tease it to your viewers.
This proves effective if you do it in a sly and engaging way.
You can also use IG stories to announce info directly to your followers through video and story tags.
You have to enjoy engaging with your audience and getting them to participate! Find ways to make everything you do interesting and engaging for them.
Final Thoughts: Instagram Story Dimensions
Instagram stories are one of the best features that Instagram has put forward to date.
It is extremely valuable to both users and to marketers, so take advantage of all that it offers.
Be creative, get to know your audience, experiment, have fun, and be yourself! Social media is all about experimenting and making connections with people.
As long as you optimize your content for the proper IG story dimensions and that 9:16 aspect ratio, your content is bound to be professional and well received!