Ideal Instagram Story Size and Dimensions for Best Results (2024) 

Instagram is an important tool in your social media arsenal, boasting nearly 160 million users in the U.S. and 2 billion active users worldwide. On the platform, users have many features to use, including Reels, Stories, and Live, making Instagram marketing incredibly effective. To make the most out of each of these features, there are best practices to keep in mind. Here, we’re going to focus on the ideal Instagram Story size and dimensions.

Instagram Story Size

What’s the best Instagram Story size? Instagram Stories last in duration from one to 60 seconds. As their name implies, they’re short narratives that get to the point concisely and effectively. While you can include longer content, it will be broken up into smaller segments. 

Instagram Story Dimensions (Aspect Ratios)

Instagram Story dimensions — or aspect ratios — refer to the ratio of an image’s width to its height. Once square, Stories are now vertical, like Instagram Reels, to better capture the scrolling audience’s attention. 

Instagram recommends a 9:16 aspect ratio (1080×1920 pixels), although it will allow you to input Stories with aspect ratios ranging from 16:8 to 4:5. These Instagram video ad specs ensure users maintain best practices for the platform and each of its features. 

How To Create an Instagram Story

Knowing how to create an Instagram Story means starting with understanding social media’s overall trends. Content that feels native to the platform or format you’re using is much more likely to connect with your target audience. After all, your audience is on Instagram to enjoy a frictionless experience. Your Stories should fit in with those of users’ friends and other accounts they follow.

1. Plan Your Content 

Planning your content is one of the most important steps you can take. If you understand your audience, your brand, and your specific goal, you’re already well on your way to a successful social media campaign. Planning is when you should consider questions such as:

  • Who is your target demographic?
  • What’s the aim of this particular Story?
  • What’s the best time to post this Story? 
  • What are your resources?
  • What’s your brand’s aesthetic?

Spend some time learning the basics of pre-production. You won’t have to go as far as you would for a full-length narrative video, but it’s always wise to prepare.

  • Create a shot list: This list helps you know exactly what elements you’ll need to create your final product, including which shots are essential. Although Stories tend to be simple, planning can help you have a smooth production process.  
  • Recruit on-air talent as needed: Authentic user-generated content (UGC) is highly effective in Stories — that is, content that feels like a real person is extolling the virtues of your product. 
  • Create a backup plan as needed: If your location has great natural light but your shoot day turns out to be a rainstorm, what’s your contingency plan? The more flexibility you can afford yourself, the better.

2. Capture Your Instagram Story 

Now you’re ready to capture your Instagram Story. Since Instagram Stories are designed to be viewed on phones (and occasionally laptops and tablets), filming on your smartphone is usually fine. As you’re filming, consider making adjustments to lighting, background noise, and other elements to ensure you get the outcome you want. 

While Instagram used to be focused only on photos, it’s now a video-first platform. But there are many other options when it comes to Stories. For example, you can create a sequence of text-and-graphics cards through the app’s Create mode. You could also use a series of still images to create a Story. But no matter what you’re showcasing in your Stories, each video or image needs to be well-lit and styled.

3. Add In-Platform Features

Adding extras is where Instagram shines as a platform, and you can boost viewer engagement by doing so. Consider: 

  • Adding links so you can take your Story viewers directly to your webpage
  • Tagging people or companies, including your talent or brands you’re collaborating with
  • Adding subtitles and captions, which is important for accessibility 
  • Adding filters to give your Story a bit more visual polish
  • Adding polls to facilitate more interaction with your audience
  • Adding hashtags, which may help members of your target audience find your Story if they’re actively looking for brands or products in your niche

You can also add a product sticker to your Story that directs viewers to the specific product you’re selling. This can be incredibly useful, given many users begin their purchasing journeys using Instagram’s recommendations and guidance. 

4. Draft the Story If Needed

If you’re not sure whether you want to go live yet, or you want to show your Story to some trusted advisers first, Instagram now allows you to “draft” your Stories and save them for later. This handy function allows you to do some quick market research or to perfectly time your Story for when you do want to go live with it.

5. Finalize the Details 

Finalize your content before you hit “share.” That means making sure the information is accurate, the visual design is as you want it to be, and the extras — like the links — are all working.

6. Go Live 

Now it’s time to go live! You can share your Story with the world. Once it’s live, you can save it to your highlights if it’s relevant to your core content pillars. Or you can let it run its natural 24-hour course and fade into the archive. 

7. Evaluate Analytics, Likes, and Messages 

Now you have to evaluate how your Story performed. Being a part of the digital world means you have a wealth of data at your fingertips, and you can now measure your creative analytics, likes, and messages.

What can you learn after your Story has gone live? A lot! You can learn whether you’re achieving the goals you set for yourself — or whether you’ve fallen short and need to reimagine your Story strategy. 

Instagram Stories Algorithm, Explained

The Instagram algorithm matches content to users who might enjoy it, so your Story will be fed to viewers based on factors called “signals.” One of the most important signals is the content users have enjoyed in the past, and the kinds of subject matter they’ve expressed interest in before. The algorithm also considers whether your content is considered “high quality,” based on the comments, likes, and analytics from prior content that you’ve created. Broader trends regarding engagement, popular topics, and the time of day will also affect how timely your Story is and how many people it reaches. 

Read more: 10 Best Ways To Get More Views on Instagram Reels

Best Time To Post Instagram Stories

Yes, there is a best time to post on Instagram, even your Stories. There’s plenty of data on when most posts get maximum engagement, based partly on how people use Instagram. Given the difference in time zones, you’ll need to consider where the majority of your audience is for your best time. 

Instagram Story Tips and Best Practices

Fortunately, there’s a body of experience to draw on when it comes to Instagram Story tips and best practices for your brand to follow. 

Use Interactive Features

Interactive features, like polls, are a great way to develop a sense of conversation between your brand and its followers. You can directly find out what your followers are interested in while humanizing and creating a sense of warmth for your brand. 

Augmented reality filters are another great customizable feature that your users can play around with, extending your brand into their lives and turning it into entertainment they actually seek out, rather than an advertiser they avoid.

Create Visually Appealing Content

Instagram has always been a visual-first experience, so make sure your work is visually appealing. What kind of visual content will your audience enjoy? How are you going to stand out in a crowded visual field?

While you might not have all of the answers at first, you can test different types of Stories to find out what works best for your audience. 

Craft Compelling Captions

Compelling, punchy captions do a lot of work on Instagram, especially when users have their sound turned off. Make them sharp, memorable, and to the point, especially on Stories. Think about how the language looks when written as opposed to spoken — words can make their own big visual impact on a small screen.

Utilize Story Highlights

Most Stories stay up on Instagram for only 24 hours, but putting your Story in your Highlights allows users to access your content indefinitely. If your Story is evergreen, or you’re especially proud of it, put it in your Highlights for followers who are already engaged and deliberately seeking more information about your brand.

Plan and Schedule Content

Plan ahead and schedule your content. As you continue optimizing your strategy, you’ll learn when your content is most likely to make an impact. By sharing relatable content on a regular basis, you’ll give your brand an aura of consistency and reliability, cementing its place in followers’ minds. 

Read more: TikTok vs Instagram: Key Differences for Brands To Know

Instagram Story Mistakes To Avoid

While there are best practices to follow, there are also mistakes to avoid with your Stories. 

Overwhelming People With Too Many Stories

You want your audience to remain curious about your brand, not get annoyed that you’re sharing way too many Instagram Stories. Find the sweet spot so that you stay top of mind without becoming an irritant.

Being Overly Promotional

Stories are great at taking followers behind the scenes of your brand and giving them a sense of why you’re proud of your company. But if you only use Stories to sell to your audience, they can feel like late-night commercials (and not in a fun, nostalgic way). Again, it’s all about finding the right balance.

Overusing Text or Overcrowding

Don’t overcrowd your screen with add-ons: phone screens are only so large, and the human brain can absorb only so much. Since you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to make sure you’re providing the right amount of information on the screen without overwhelming your audience. 

Neglecting Engagement Opportunities

Don’t forget to engage your audience. You can use polls, questions, emojis, and more to engage with your audience through Instagram Stories. 

Ignoring Analytics and Insights

Analytics and insights are rich opportunities that can help you improve your messaging and make the Instagram algorithm work for you. Even better, make deliberate use of insights into your audience to craft compelling Stories from the get-go.

Create Engaging Instagram Videos at Scale

Creating engaging Instagram videos at scale can be daunting — but you don’t have to do it alone. By working with QuickFrame, you’ll gain access to our network of video makers and production teams who are ready to create the content you need to stand out on Instagram. 

Ready to get started? Contact us today. 

Instagram Story Size and Dimensions: Final Thoughts

When it comes to the ideal Instagram Story size and dimensions, there’s a lot to keep in mind. But with the right best practices, strategies, and video creative, you’ll be able to capture your audience’s attention and grow your presence on the platform.

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