Instagram Story Dimensions, Specs & Advice for 2021

Written by <a href="https://www.wyzowl.com/author/hassanali/" target="_self">Hassan Ali</a>

Written by Hassan Ali

November 4, 2021

Hassan is Marketing Manager at Wyzowl. He is an expert in video marketing, video software, promotion & analytics.

In this article we’re going to take a look at Instagram Stories dimensions, specs, and advice for 2021. 

According to Instagram, more than 500 million people interact with Stories every single day! And 58% of people have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

So there are definitely huge benefits to using Instagram Stories for brands. However, for maximum impact, it’s important to ensure you get the specifications of your photos and videos just right. 

If you don’t then your Instagram Story could be cropped or appear pixelated and, on a platform where visuals matter above all else, your brand could look extremely unprofessional. 

So, let’s take a look at Instagram Stories dimensions, specs, and advice for 2021…

Instagram Story Dimensions & Specifications

Here’s a list of all of the dimensions and specifications you need to know to create perfect Instagram Stories. 

(Note: if you’re recording or snapping a Story from directly within the Instagram app then you probably don’t have to worry about these specifications so much!)

Image file type: PNG or JPG

Image file size: Maximum of 30MB. 

Video file type: MP4, MOV, or GIF

Video file size: Maximum of 4GB. 

Aspect ratio: 9:16

Resolution: 1080px by 1920px

Video length: Each story can be a maximum of 15 seconds long, and you can shoot up to 4 at a time (to a maximum of 60 seconds). 

Note: If you’re running a paid ad through Instagram Stories then this can be slightly longer, up to 2 minutes in length.

Text recommendation: 125 characters

Top Tip: Keep your content within the “safe zone”. This means leaving roughly 250 pixels at the top and bottom free from key creative elements so that nothing important is obstructed by other things on screen, like your profile icon or the “send a message” box. 

Luckily, Instagram does highlight where the edge of the “safe zone” is with blue parameter lines. Here’s an example:

Instagram Story safe zone

And here’s what it would look like if the “safe zone” parameters were ignored. As you can see, the question box is obstructed and difficult to access: 

Instagram Story safe zone

Advice for perfect Instagram Stories

Creating the perfect Instagram Story isn’t all about getting the dimensions and specifications right. 

You need to go that extra mile to ensure your brand’s Stories stand out among the rest. Here are 5 tips for creating perfect Instagram Stories: 

1. Use editing apps 

If you have content that you want to post to your Instagram Stories but it doesn’t fit the specifications, don’t worry. You can use an editing app to help you get there. 

Canva is a great tool for editing images, and it even has an “Instagram Story” option that makes it super simple to automatically adjust your content: 

Canva Instagram Story creation
Canva Instagram Story creation

If you’re sharing videos there’s also many great video editing apps out there that can help you prep your content before posting it to your Instagram Stories. 

Check out our article: 21 Best Video Editing Apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad.

2. Make sure your content is vertical

Instagram is a mobile first platform, so vertical content works best – particularly when it comes to Stories. According to ImpactPlus, smartphone users hold their phone vertically around 94% of the time and don’t like content that forces them to turn it horizontally

As expected based on that information, vertical videos have a 90% higher completion rate than horizontal videos (on social media).

3. Use interactive elements to increase engagement 

One of the best features of Instagram Stories is the ability to easily add interactive elements to your content that can not only increase engagement, but also give you access to valuable audience data. 

Instagram Story interactive elements
Instagram Story interactive elements

You can use hashtags to increase the visibility of your story, polls and questionnaires to encourage user engagement, GIFs to catch the eye, and so much more! 

4. Add captions 

According to a survey by Verizon Media, 92% of U.S. consumers watch videos with the sound off on mobile. The report also recommends captioning videos as 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

Luckily, it’s really easy to add captions to your Instagram Stories. After recording your video, head to the stickers tab and you’ll see a “Captions” button: 

Instagram Story interactive elements
Instagram Story subtitles

Click this and captions will automatically be added to your Instagram Story – pretty cool!  

5. Keep your content fresh and exciting 

Social media content should be engaging, informational, fun, and educational. It shouldn’t be overly salesy or repetitive. 

To really make an impact with your Instagram Stories you need to ensure your content is always fresh and exciting. An example of a brand that does this well is the luggage brand, Away

Their stories are always varied, interesting, and beautifully shot. From fun ways to use their products: 

Instagram Story by Away

To Q&As:

Instagram Story by Away

And DIY games: 

Instagram Story by Away

For more inspiration to keep your Instagram Stories engaging, check out our article: 21 Instagram Story Ideas for Quick Inspiration.

Final thoughts

So many brands are using Instagram Stories right now to increase their conversion rates, boost awareness, and collect valuable consumer insights. 

By following the advice in this article, you can ensure your Stories are professional and engaging.

And if you’re looking for ideas, check out our article: What to Post on Instagram: 29 Ideas for B2B Brands.

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