Why Instagram Post Size Matters to Your Brand

If you’re feeling a little confused about Instagram post size, you’re not alone.

Back in the days when doing it for the ‘Gram was still new, optimizing your image dimensions and aspect ratios used to be pretty simple. Instagram only allowed for a single orientation for all your photos and videos, so all you needed to do was upload and enjoy.

Of course, now that Instagram is constantly rolling out new updates to the #IG experience, like Instagram Stories, IGTV and more, there are many more Instagram post size rules to be aware of.

Instagram Post Size and Aspect Ratio

When it comes to determining Instagram post size, there are two things you need to know. The first thing is the actual “size” of the image, that refers to the number of pixels making up the height and width of your photo or video.

The other element to consider with Instagram post size is the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio refers to the width of a picture in relation to its height. As the name suggests, aspect ratio is expressed as a ratio, such as 9:16. The aspect ratio for a standard square is simply 1:1

The Issue with Instagram Post Size Compression

The important thing to keep in mind with Instagram post size and aspect ratio is that when you share a video or photo on Instagram, the account will store multiple sizes of that video or photo. The image that gets displayed on Instagram will generally be a lot smaller than the one you uploaded.

What does this mean to you?

Simply put, you want to give Instagram the widest range of potential pictures to choose from possible. When your Instagram post size is compressed, the bigger your picture, the better your resolution will be. That doesn’t mean you need to go way over the top with your photos, but it does mean that #HD is best.

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Instagram Post Size – The Sizes You Need to Know

Now that we’ve covered why Instagram post size is so important, it’s time to cover how you’re going to get the best images on your profile.

When you’re loading up your pictures, keep in mind that your size will reduce automatically, but that doesn’t mean that you should compromise on your visuals. A better resolution will lead to a better image.

Square Instagram Post Size & Aspect Ratio

The square Instagram post size usually shows up as 600 x 600 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 1:1

Though there are now many compositions available aside from square, this still happens to be one of the most popular orientations on Instagram.

To get the most out of your square images, we recommend uploading at a resolution of at least 1080 x 1080 pixels.

Landscape Instagram Post Size

Landscape images are much trickier to manage than their square counterparts. Instagram suggests an aspect ratio of about 1.9:1 – but it’s not always easy to get that on your phone or camera. Fortunately, you have some wiggle room. Most people snap their Instagram landscape photos at 16:9.

In terms of size, you’ll be looking for around 1200 x 628 pixels. If you can, take your photo up a notch so that the height of the picture is at least 1080px, which would make the width about 1600 pixels. This will give you more scope for a sharper photo.

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Vertical Instagram Post Size

Vertical or portrait images on Instagram are growing increasingly popular as ‘grammers continue to embrace the mobile movement. If you want to earn followers with your vertical photos, the best bet is to stick with an aspect ratio of 4:5. Anything beyond that and you’ll end up having your picture cropped – which means that you won’t be able to see all of those critical details you captured.

In terms of size, your vertical images will display at approximately 480 x 600 pixels, so we recommend choosing a size of around 1080 by 1350 for the full high-def effect. Remember, you can always crop your photo in editing mode if you need to.

Instagram Stories Post Sizes

As you know, there are many different types of posts that you can publish on Instagram today, aside from the standard photo. Stories are easily some of the most popular pieces of content on the Instagram news feed, and one of the best ways to engage with your followers.

Around half of all brands, today have already used Instagram stories to boost their online strategy. What’s more, the decision to bring Stories to Instagram has helped to make the social platform one of the most popular channels in the world.

Just because stories are more dynamic than your average Instagram post doesn’t mean that can overlook size and aspect ratio. Here’s what you need to know.

Instagram Post Sizes for Picture-Based Stories

If you’re creating your Instagram Stories with images and Gifs, rather than videos, then you should stick with the aspect ratio of around 9:16. Remember, all of the photos that you upload will need to be in PNG or JPG format, and they will also need a maximum size of around 30 MBs.

The great thing about Instagram Stories is that you have a lot more flexibility with what you publish. While the standard photo posts on Instagram have stringent guidelines, you can share virtually anything on stories with a maximum ratio of 9:16.

We’d recommend an image no smaller than 1080 px by 1920 px.

Instagram Post Sizes for Video Stories

If you decide to switch to video for your Instagram stories, then once again, the aspect ratio is 9:16 and the best size is 1080 x 1920 pixels. The maximum size of your video shouldn’t go above 4 GB, and you’ll need a minimum resolution of at least 720p. Remember, resolution counts when it comes to videos

For your standard Instagram video posts, you can follow the same sizes and aspect ratios listed for picture posts, just remember not to let your resolution drop under 720p. Anything less and you’ll end up showing your customers blurry and hard-to-watch content. Nobody wants that!

Instagram Post Sizes for Carousel Ads

Finally, if you’re using Instagram Ads to drive additional engagement to your company or brand’s page, then you’re going to need to know the right Instagram post size for your carousel content.

Carousel content came to Instagram from Facebook, were it proved to be a very popular way to drive attention to branded content. The ad format allows companies to show off a bunch of different images at once. For instance, you could highlight your newest range of lipsticks if you’re a beauty company or show a new selection of socks.

Instagram Carousel ads use the same aspect ratio and image sizes as the standard square photo – so 1080 x 1080 pixels, or 1:1 for aspect ratio.

You’ll need to upload your photos either in PNG or JPG format and remember that you’re only allowed up to 10 images per ad – so don’t go too crazy. Another point to keep in mind? Your maximum size for any image is 30MB – so you may need to compress larger photos.

Get Your Sizing Right!

Ultimately, it’s easy to ignore Instagram post size and assume that it’s just another component you don’t really need to think about when you’re creating your social strategies. However, the truth is that post size matters on any social media network.

Posting an image at the right size means that you don’t end up with squashed, pixelated or otherwise sub-par pictures on your news feed. While pristine images will boost your reputation anywhere online, they’re particularly important on Instagram, where image is everything!

A high-quality post formatted at the right size and cropped to perfection could be the key to earning more followers for your Instagram campaign.

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By Rebekah Carter

Hi! I'm Rebekah, a full-time writer specializing in the spaces of digital content, business, social media and tech.

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