What Ideal Format for Instagram Stories (Videos and Images)?


Instagram, a social network originally dedicated to sharing photos, has since its takeover by Facebook extended to sharing videos and stories. Now used by more than 400 million accounts, Stories have become a means of communication in their own right for brands. Here’s which format to choose to get the most out of videos and photos shared in stories.

Today, a social media communication strategy can hardly do without Instagram Stories. These are now widely used by companies to promote their brandmaintain their relationships with their customers and even find new ones at the same time (notably thanks to Instagram Stories ads).

Only a year after their launch, Instagram stories had reached more than 250 million users, which was already a feat compared to Snapchat. From now on, more than 400 million users use Instagram stories daily compared to 191 million daily users for Snapchatthe pioneer of this format.

To ensure the success of this approach, you must of course take care of your stories and choose the appropriate format so that the photos and videos put in stories are readable, not pixelated and adapted to all smartphones.

What then are the formats to use according to the goal you want to achieve?

Table of Contents

The ideal format for effective Instagram Stories

Individual or company? It does not matter who is behind the stories, it is strongly recommended to follow the format imposed by Instagram and some best practices so that the contents do not lose their quality and are not blurry.

Unlike a photo posted in the News Feed which is now automatically resized to a square format on the profile, all photos or videos uploaded as stories must follow the format predefined by Instagram. It is therefore necessary to comply with them otherwise the application will adapt them for you as it sees fit, which could significantly degrade their quality.

What is the ideal format for images shared in stories?

Regarding the images first, the size recommended by Instagram is 1080 x 1920 pixels.

It is strongly recommended not to take photos directly with the camera offered with the stories feature because the latter will be automatically compressed and therefore of very average quality, even if you have a smartphone capable of taking very good photos.

For a better rendering, we therefore advise you to rework your photos on external software and then integrate them on Instagram to share them in stories.

What is the ideal format for videos shared in stories?

For videos, the most popular story format, here are Instagram’s official recommendations (valid for traditional stories and sponsored stories):

  • Minimum video width: 500 pixels,
  • Ideal video format: 1080 x 1920 pixels,
  • Accepted video formats: 9:16 and 16:9 to 4:5,
  • Video file size: 4 GB max,
  • Portrait or landscape: portrait,
  • Duration : 1 to 60 seconds,
  • The video must be saved in one of the following file formats: MOV, .GIF or .MP4

Finally, Instagram recommends H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128 kbps and above.

If you want to create an advertisement displayed in Instagram stories, you will only need not integrate more than 10% of text on the latter and ensure do not insert text at the bottom and top of your video (14% top and bottom). If your video is created in 1080 x 1920 format, you should therefore not include any text in the first and last 250 pixels of your video in portrait format. This will prevent your profile icon or call to action from obscuring part of your advertising message.

Finally, just like the images, we strongly recommend that you:

  • Take your video with your smartphone with your phone’s native video functionality and not the video recording functionality integrated into stories (the quality of your video will be degraded)
  • Reprocess your video with specialized software before integrating it into stories: the filters and editing options available on Instagram video stories are very limited

The audio format to follow for video Stories

It’s not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when posting a story on Instagram, but audio also has its role to play. Even if some of the users do not consult the stories with the sound activated, it must be taken care of.

By default, Instagram provides a bitrate of 64kb per second. Ideally, you should opt for a bitrate of at least 128 kb per second to offer the best possible experience to your followers.

How long should an Instagram Story be?

First, a story itself is limited to 15 seconds. But, you might combine several of them to tell a story or create something interactive. It is this duration that must be limited. You have to be as concise as possible to avoid losing the attention of the person looking at you. If you want to do something longer, that tells more in depth, you should consider using another format.

You now have all the information to create optimized Instagram stories, with the right format. If you have other tips on this subject, do not hesitate to share it with us in the comments or on our social networks.



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