Instagram is a platform where visual content shines brightest. It’s all about the aesthetic and the vibe your brand portrays through your posts.
There are no strict rules for posting content. But following fundamentals help brands highlight posts in the best way possible. Fundamentals can include post size, resolutions, and more.
So before uploading photos and visuals, you need to understand the following.
Aspect ratio and image resolution help prevent blurry, cropped, and low-quality photos and videos. Here’s a quick explainer of what these terms are:
Instagram is programmed to crop images above 1080px and enlarge those below 320px. As a rule of thumb, photos should be uploaded at an optimal resolution and aspect ratio.
An image’s aspect ratio is expressed in width and height. For example, horizontal posts traditionally are 16:9, square posts are 1:1.
After uploading your photos, Instagram compresses them to reduce the file size on their servers. Having a higher resolution ensures high-quality photos despite compression.
If you want to get the best possible photos, here are the guidelines to look into:
Instagram allows users to upload content in different areas on the platform. You’ve got your feeds, stories, reels, Instagram Live, and more.
You need to optimize your posts’ dimensions for each of these types. This ensures that your content is represented the way it’s intended.
Here’s a rundown of each post dimension your brand should look into:
Photos and videos on the Feed can range from 16:9 to 4:5. Instagram recommends an aspect ratio of 16:9 for horizontal photos. The height of these photos should be at least 1080px.
Standards for Square photos are 1:1 with the resolution being 1080px by 1080px. Meanwhile, vertical posts have a standard ratio of 4:5 with an image size of 1080px by 1350px.
Vertical photos hold an advantage since most users are on mobile. They take up more space when users scroll through.
Stories have an amazing advantage over post feeds. Content can take up the entire screen! Go for a 9:16 aspect ratio and 1080px by 1920px resolution if you want to fill up the space.
The minimum ratio allowed on stories is 1.91:1. But when using smaller dimensions, you can follow photography’s rule of thirds, grid layouts, or just center the photos.
Another option is to use stickers and other calls to action (CTAs) to make use of the extra space. When it comes to stories, you can get as creative as you’d like.
Carousels can be square, horizontal, or vertical. But, the rest of the photos will be cropped to follow the orientation of the first.
Before uploading a carousel, ensure that the photos already have the same dimensions, theme, and even color palette. If not, photos might end up janky and unappealing.
Instagram stories and reels allow the same dimensions. Both cover the entire screen. To recap, that’s an aspect ratio of 9:16 and a resolution of 1080px by 1920px.
But there are certain factors you need to consider.
Profile pictures on Instagram are shown in a 1:1 aspect ratio with a 110px by 110px resolution. But you can use up to 180px by 180px on your profiles.
It’s recommended that profile pictures be cropped into a square before being uploaded. This ensures that your final image will be perfectly proportioned without any need to crop.
You’re free to choose larger photos to upload as your profile picture but you need to crop it so it falls under the recommended ratios.
Instagram thumbnails are displayed in 161px by 161px. But remember to upload your thumbnails in 1080px so that they won’t lose that much quality.
After uploading, Instagram will store thumbnails with a maximum size of 1080px by 1080px. You need to upload the highest-quality photos possible to avoid pixelation.
Videos are more engaging than photos. Just like photos, videos can be uploaded either horizontally, vertically, or squared. Here are the optimal video sizes for each:
Videos lasting 10 mins have a maximum file size of less than 650MB. Meanwhile, the maximum size Instagram allows for videos up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB.
For cover photos, Instagram recommends 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio). Cover photos for your videos can’t be edited yet.
Instagram designed its Live platform to be viewed on mobile devices. That means the videos should be displayed vertically with an aspect ratio of 9:16.
Luckily, you don’t need to do much when it comes to Instagram live. You won’t be able to change the aspect ratio of the stream.
With the introduction of IGTV previews in the main feed last year, Instagram experienced a 300% rise in IGTV usage.
This year, Instagram upgraded the IGTV previews within Stories, further integrating the platform into the main app and increasing viewer counts.
IGTV allows both horizontal and vertical content. Like reels, previews in the feed default to a 4:% ratio. You also need to account for your IGTV cover photo.
Horizontal videos are 16:9 with a 1080px by 566px resolution. Vertical videos are 9:16 with a resolution of 1080px by 1920 px. And, the cover photo should be 1:1.55 with a resolution of 420px by 654px.
If you want to be aggressive with your marketing campaigns, Instagram ads are an excellent investment. Instagram ads demand more work than regular posts but reach more people.
Since you’re paying for these ads, you need to make sure that the content fits Instagram’s standards. This can help maximize your campaign’s ROI and improve engagement.
Here are the types of ads and their dimensions:
Image Ads are the typical ads that you’d find on your feed. As users scroll, Instagram can present them with personalized ads that depend on their activity. Marketers typically use the following dimensions for these ads:
Video Ads are more engaging than still images. It provides a good opportunity for brands to showcase their products and services in a way that easily grabs attention. Here are the standard dimensions:
Story Ads are a powerful tool for driving conversions and engagement since 70% of Instagram users view stories daily. If you want to optimize your stories, use the following dimensions:
Carousel Ads help you fit different pieces of content that follow the same theme. Make sure that this consistency remains when choosing the photos’ dimensions.
With all this talk about dimensions and image resolutions, do any actually affect how photos end up on your feed? The short answer is No!
Brands worry that mixing landscape, portrait, and square photographs may make their Instagram feed appear disorganized, but that’s never the case.
Your feed automatically displays content as squares. Only when content is opened will users see landscape or portrait photos.
Instagram offers a variety of avenues where you can upload your content. Each one of them should be optimized to ensure maximum engagement.
Here are important details regarding Instagram post dimensions:
After understanding the fundamentals of post dimensions, you’re free to upload whatever content you desire. But if you’re feeling stuck, try out these Instagram post ideas from Publer!
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