Instagram Story Dimensions and How to Use Them Like a Pro

Instagram has become a hot-bed for brands looking to market themselves online. With over a billion monthly active users, it’s one of the biggest social media platforms out there. 

However, Instagram Stories are one of its greatest success stories with over 500 million daily active users. Using this feature of Instagram, you can easily update your followers about the latest happenings in your life. These Stories appear as a vertical photo or video and are available for only 24 hours.

If you want to keep them beyond this duration, you need to add them to Instagram Story Highlights, which are then accessible from your profile. 

It’s due to these qualities of Stories that more brands have started using them for marketing. However, smartphones come in varied sizes and this makes Instagram Stories tricky to use. However, you need to get your Instagram Story dimensions right to ensure that it’s visible to your complete target audience.

Let’s look at Instagram Stories dimensions in detail. 

Instagram Story Dimensions and How to Use Them Like a Pro:

Dimensions of Instagram Stories

Dimensions of Instagram Stories

The dimensions of Instagram Stories are 1080x1920 pixels. This means that your content should be 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels in length. These dimensions form an aspect ratio of 9:16. 

Instagram is strict when it comes to the dimensions of Instagram Stories. If you upload any video or photo that doesn’t fit the required dimensions, it’ll either be cropped out or zoomed in. This may lead to a loss in quality and some of the important visual elements may get cut out too. 

This is especially true for photos and videos that have been shot in the landscape mode. Most of the visual content would get cropped out in such a situation. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that your content must adhere to the Instagram Story dimensions. 

Now that you know the importance of sticking to the dimensions in Instagram Stories, let’s look at how you can create perfect Stories. 

How to Create Instagram Stories With Perfect Dimensions 

1. Use Your Smartphone 

The easiest way of creating Instagram Stories that have accurate dimensions is by using your smartphone. If you want to create content for your Instagram Stories, you should shoot the photos and videos from the smartphone. This will ensure that the media sticks to the 1080 px by 1920 px dimensions. 

However, if you want to create more professional-looking images and videos, you’ll have to use other tools like Photoshop or Lightroom. When you’re using them, it’s crucial to ensure that the dimensions you’re setting are exact. If you end up changing the dimensions, you’ll lose valuable details in the content. 

2. Use Design Tools

When you wish to create a branded Instagram Story, you can’t stick to your smartphone. While Instagram’s built-in editor works well, to get more professional content, you need to look for a design tool. 

There are loads of design tools available online such as Canva that allow you to do this. All you need to do is create your design and upload it through your smartphone onto Instagram. 

The best part about tools like Canva is that you can set custom dimensions for the designs that you wish to create. This ensures that your design will be 1080 px by 1920 px and will be visible completely in Instagram Stories. 

Now, let’s try to understand how you can ensure complete visibility of your images and videos with different dimensions too. 

Use Aspect Ratio to Your Advantage

While the standard Instagram Story dimensions are best, you can find workarounds as well. Images and videos that are shot in these high-quality dimensions will typically be large files that’ll take up a lot of space in your smartphones. In addition, owing to their sizes, they’ll take time to get uploaded as well. 

In such a situation, you can use the aspect ratio of 9:16 to your advantage. You can make a fair compromise between the quality of the content and its size. This not only ensures that it occupies less space and gets uploaded quickly but also makes it easy for your audience to view it. 

When you change the number of pixels but keep the aspect ratio constant, the shape of the content doesn’t change. This means that dimensions such as 720 px by 1280 px and 450 px by 800 px will also work well with Instagram Stories. Not only will these upload faster but will also be accessible to your audience quickly. 

Now that you’ve understood how you can get your dimensions and quality right in Instagram Stories, let’s see how you can use them like a pro. 

Using Stories Like a Pro

Here’s how you can leverage Stories like a pro

1. Add a Call-to-Action

If you’ve got over 10k followers and have a business profile, you can add links to your Instagram Stories. When you do so, your followers will be able to swipe up and reach a particular webpage that you want them to visit. 

This can help you generate traffic for your website and if you’re selling something, you might get some valuable leads as well. 

However, all’s not lost for those who can’t add calls-to-action (CTA) to Stories. You can promote your posts and ask your followers to click on the link in your bio. This, in turn, will take them to the relevant page that you want them to visit. 

LensCulture, uses this method to get more submissions for their photography contests by adding the CTA to loads of their Stories. 

2. Recycle Content

Creating quality content regularly can be an arduous task. This is especially difficult when you have to deal with Instagram Stories and posts separately. In such a situation, recycling your content is a great way to go about things. 

You can pick up content that has performed well in the past and repurpose it for Instagram Stories. For instance, you could take your blog post, images, or videos, and re-purpose them for Stories. 

3. Leverage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is one of the best ways of coming up with unique content for your Instagram Stories. To gather it, you can create a branded hashtag and encourage your followers to use it when they’re posting Stories or posts. 

You can then pick up quality content from this content pool and use it for your Instagram Stories. Just make sure you get permission from the content creator first. Your followers will usually be happy when you do this as well because they’ll get recognition and may get a few new followers too. 

Mark Mercury is a travel photographer who frequently shares photos clicked by others on his Instagram stories. 

4. Behind the Scenes and Sneak Peeks

You can use Instagram Stories to connect on a deeper level with your audience by giving them sneak peeks and behind the scenes stories of your brand. Not only can this show them your company culture but it will also make them feel that the brand is more transparent with them. 

Yet another advantage of doing behind the scenes stories is that you can build up excitement about your new products. You can give them a sneak peek of what awaits them and make them anticipate the new arrivals. 

For example, Leo Burnett uses this method to give their audience a behind the scenes look of their advertising shoots. 

5. Instagram Story Takeovers

Instagram Story takeovers are a great way of promoting your brand. This is true because the takeover usually happens with an influencer who will most likely generate buzz about it. 

In addition to the heightened excitement levels in your audience, you’ll also get access to theirs. This way, you’ll be able to reach out to a combined audience, which can help in growing your reach. 

Such collaborations also seem similar to brand endorsement and can increase your brand trust as well.   

People Know How is a local charity in Edinburgh which recently got one of their volunteers, Alice, to takeover their Instagram Stories. 

Wrapping it Up

Unlike Instagram posts, the dimensions of Instagram Stories are fixed and you need to adhere to them to ensure that your content is visible completely. You can, however, reduce the size of your content by keeping the aspect ratio constant to ensure that nothing important gets cropped out. 

To get the most out of your Instagram Stories, you can add calls-to-action to them. Using user-generated content platforms can also help you come up with unique content for them. 

You could also do takeovers with other influencers or your employees to increase your reach. Lastly, giving a sneak peek or behind the scenes look at your brand can help you too. 

Give these methods a shot and start creating Instagram Stories like a pro.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.