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The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and Feed

February 25, 2020

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The proliferation of the smartphone and the rise of social media has empowered everyone to become a creator. With the right eye, lighting, and filters, you can earn yourself a few hundred double taps, and before you know it you’re on your way to Insta-fame. But that’s not all there is to it. There’s a technicality that goes into posting high-performing content on Instagram. 

The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and FeedAfter learning the ropes of taking a good photo or video, the next step to success is focusing on optimizing it for social. If you’re a brand reaching consumers through a variety of platforms and channels, unfortunately, one size does not fit all, and without implementing some best practices for sizing, your content performance will undoubtedly suffer. 

The Importance of Sizing For Instagram

It’s plain and simple—Instagram has rules, and you have to follow them. For great story content, you should aspire for a minimum width of 450 pixels and a height of 800 pixels, with the optimal being 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high. These dimensions equate to an aspect ratio of 9:16. If you choose not to follow these requirements, your photo or video will either be cropped or zoomed in and because you don’t have control over how your content will be cropped, your most important visual element can get cut out completely. 

The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and Feed

For photos posted on your grid, stick to the following three sizes: 

  • Square -  1:1 aspect ratio, 1080 X 1080 pixels
  • Portrait -  4:5 aspect ratio,  1080 X 1350 pixels
  • Landscape - 1.91:1 aspect ratio, 1080 X 608 pixels

The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and Feed

Since Likes Have Taken a Step Back… 

Last year, Instagram decided to start testing the hiding of public likes. The impact?  Brands and content creators have shifted to prioritizing other forms of engagement such as comments, video views, and story responses. There has been an unmissable shift to story content, in particular, over the last few months. 

This all means the importance of content quality and volume will only continue to become higher than ever. Unlike a quick double-tap, more considered interactions from followers require content that is not just likable but also eye-catching, authentic, engaging and interactive. 

The previous formula of a perfectly color-coordinated, curated feed no longer works in today’s Instagram world. It’s now about standing out and setting yourself apart from any other influencer or brand — and there’s no set template for that. 

The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and FeedSource: https://www.instagram.com/netflix/

@netflix gets all kinds of engagement from their followers through comments, views, and story reactions.

Size is Correlated to Engagement

Ever since Instagram introduced a choice of size options, marketers are left to question — what works best? Sizing is important for engagement because different sizes tell different stories. What’s happening in your content? Does the action require a longer portrait size that fills most of the screen? Or does it require a wider, landscape shot? 

The Importance of Sizing for Instagram Stories and FeedSource: https://adespresso.com

@touchofmodern goes with an immersive vertical video to attract potential customers.

A common theme of high performing content is to take up the maximum amount of screen space with eye-catching and scroll stopping creative. Successful Instagram posts tend to:

  • Be bright
  • Have plenty of background or white space
  • Use a single dominant color (although smaller pops of color catch the eye!)
  • Contain interesting textures

But while playing with the space on the screen can be fun, marketers must also keep in mind what this means for their profile grid. In grid view, all posts get cropped into squares, so taller images will get cropped vertically and wider images will get cropped horizontally. Some marketers prefer to keep all of their posts square because it’s a fool-proof way to keep their grid even and clean—the first snapshot of their brand that a user will see before deciding to follow or exit their page. 

In the end, just like selecting a filter, picking the right size for your grid depends on your brand aesthetics. One thing you can do to ensure you get the most engagement is not to just post more portrait-size images, but to create a robust content strategy, it’s important to play around and find which solutions work best for your brand: in-feed, in-stories, and in-grid. 

Interested in learning more about creating high-performing content for Instagram? Check out the Creative Best Practices Workshop in the 2020 Q1 edition of the Marketing Mag