Instagram Story Dimensions: A Comprehensive Guide on Crafting Impactful Narratives

Jan 26, 2024 3:00:00 AM

Statistics from Startup Bonsai recently highlighted that half a billion people engage with Instagram Stories every day.


What makes a feature, which essentially disappears after 24 hours, so captivating?

In the visually dynamic world of social media, Instagram Stories are crucial for anyone looking to captivate their audience.

It's not just about posting and forgetting about it. 

It's about making an impact within that brief window of visibility. And the key to unlocking this impact lies in the aesthetics.

It starts with mastering your Instagram Story dimensions.

Whether you're an aspiring influencer, representing a brand, or simply sharing your daily experiences, understanding and utilizing the right story dimensions is crucial.

And that’s what we’ll delve into in this blog.

We'll explore everything from the basic requirements to advanced optimization techniques for your stories and draw inspiration from some examples of brands and creators who are doing it right.

A platform that can help you make interactive stories for Instagram is Creatopy, an AI-driven creative automation platform.

Join us as we guide you through the process of refining your stories, ensuring they're not only seen but also leave a lasting impression.

  1. What are Instagram Story Dimensions?
  2. Why are Instagram Story Dimensions Important?
    1. Professional and Polished Look
    2. Enhanced User Experience
    3. Avoidance of Content Overlap
    4. Increased Engagement and Follower Retention
    5. Optimal Content Display Across Devices
    6. Maximized Impact of Visual Content
  3. 5 Best Instagram Story Dimension Examples
    1. Levi's
    2. Kyle Nutt
    3. Microsoft
    4. OnePlus
    5. Wipro
  4. Tips to Optimize Instagram Story Dimensions
    1. Select the Right Template
    2. Keep Your Key Elements Within Safe Areas
    3. Use High Quality Images
    4. Cross-check on Multiple Devices
    5. Employ Design Grids and Guides
    6. Simplify Your Design
    7. Optimize Text for Readability
    8. Optimize for Video Content
    9. Utilize Instagram's Preview Feature
    10. Stay Updated on Instagram's Changes
  5. Instagram Story Dimension Mistakes to Avoid
    1. Not Adhering to The 9:16 Aspect Ratio
    2. Overlapping with Instagram Story's Interface Overlays
    3. Using Incorrectly Oriented Images
    4. Overcomplicating the Design
    5. Ignoring Platform Updates and Video Constraints
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What is The Perfect Instagram Story Dimension?
    2. How do You Make Dimensions for Instagram Stories?
    3. Does Changing Instagram Story Dimension Affect Video?

What are Instagram Story Dimensions?

At its core, Instagram Story dimensions refer to the ideal height and width of images or videos that you upload to your Instagram Story. 

These dimensions are more than just numbers; they are the key to ensuring your content looks its best when viewed by your audience, a glimpse of which you can see here.

instagram story dimensions example

So, what exactly are these magic numbers? 

The optimal size for an Instagram Story is 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high as can be seen here. 

instagram story dimensions, aspect ratio and size

This size follows an aspect ratio of 9:16, which is essentially the same as a standard smartphone screen. 

Think of Instagram Story dimensions like a tailor-made suit. 

Just as a suit is crafted to fit perfectly, your story should be tailored to these dimensions to look its best. 

Whether you're sharing a stunning photo, a short video clip, or a creative graphic, one thing is for certain. 

Adhering to these dimensions means your content will display clearly and effectively, capturing your audience's attention just as you intended.

Why are Instagram Story Dimensions Important?

Understanding the importance of Instagram Story dimensions is akin to knowing the rules of a game before you play. 

It's about using the platform's framework to your advantage, ensuring your content not only fits but also thrives within the given space.

As such, here are some reasons that make Instagram Story dimensions an asset when it comes to enhancing your online presence on Instagram.

1. Professional and Polished Appearance

Using the correct Instagram Story dimensions is crucial for presenting content that looks professional and polished. 

professional instagram story

This attention to detail enhances the credibility and appeal of your stories, especially vital for branding or business purposes. 

A well-sized story reflects a commitment to quality and can significantly influence how your audience perceives your brand.

2. Enhanced User Experience

Adhering to the recommended dimensions ensures that your stories are neither stretched nor shrunk, maintaining the intended visual flow. 

This is essential for keeping viewers engaged and preventing them from quickly losing interest. 

Properly sized stories offer an immersive experience, crucial in today's digital landscape where capturing and retaining audience attention is more challenging than ever.

3. Avoidance of Content Overlap

Correct story dimensions prevent important parts of your content from being overlapped by Instagram's interface elements, such as the profile picture and message box as can be seen here. 

instagram story interface elements

Incorrectly sized content can lead to these overlays blocking critical aspects of your message or visuals, resulting in a frustrating experience for viewers.

4. Increased Engagement and Follower Retention

By adhering to Instagram's story dimension standards, you demonstrate an up-to-date understanding of the platform and a serious approach to your social media presence. 

This can lead to higher levels of engagement, more consistent follower retention, and ultimately, a stronger online impact.

5. Optimal Content Display Across Devices

Proper Instagram Story dimensions ensure that your content is displayed optimally across various devices, regardless of how they’re designed. 

instagram story display across various devices

This uniformity is key to delivering a consistent brand message and visual experience, regardless of how or where your audience is viewing your stories.

6. Maximized Impact of Visual Content

The right dimensions allow your visual content to shine. 

They ensure that images and videos are showcased in the best possible way, maximizing the impact of your visual storytelling and helping your content stand out in a crowded social media landscape.

5 Best Instagram Story Dimension Examples

1. Levi’s

levi's instagram stories

Levi’s is a fairly recognizable brand, known popularly for their denim jeans. 

Not surprising when you realize that they have been in operation for more than 150 years.

But as brands evolve, they also need to adapt to the evolving market that they are a part of to maintain brand identity and continue growing their business.

Social media has been a great tool to help brands do this and Levi’s is no exception here.

By using their Instagram Stories, Levi’s forms a connection with their social media audience and keeps them updated on their clothing products in a variety of fun ways.

Notice how they utilise Instagram Story dimensions to show their clothing products without any obstructions. 

They go on to use the additional space to add various story elements like links and quizzes to increase engagement on their stories.

2. Kyle Nutt

kyle nutt instgram stories

It is safe to say that filmmakers know more about aspect ratios than your average joe.

But careful observation can show how aspect ratio plays a huge role in influencing the emotions of your viewers and how filmmakers use it to their advantage.

Can the same be said for Instagram Story dimensions?

Let’s understand this closely by having a look at filmmaker Kyle Nutt’s instagram stories.

He makes it a point to add his main content (be it pictures or videos) at the center of his Instagram Stories, making sure his audience notices the most important parts first.

Notice how he spaces out the story elements in a way that they don’t interfere with his main visuals, making everything look clean and professional.

3. Microsoft

microsoft instagram stories

Now that we have established how spacing is one of the best utilizations of Instagram Story dimensions, let’s drive the point home with this example from Microsoft.

Even though they have shared an update to their Instagram Stories via Threads, that doesn’t change the fact that they have used spacing to their advantage here.

By using even spacing between their main content and Instagram’s overlay elements in their story. 

This makes the additional white spaces seem less distracting and instead contributes greatly to the overall aesthetic of their Instagram Stories.

4. OnePlus

oneplus instagram stories

A 2024 Instagram Stories Benchmark Report by Rival IQ found that brands increased their frequency of posting Instagram Stories to 13 stories a month.

In other words, we can say that the reliance of brands on Instagram Stories have increased quite a bit, be it for brand awareness or new product launches.

But where does Instagram story dimensions play a role in all of this? 

We’ll let OnePlus answer that with their Instagram Stories.

They use a 3D animated video to give a more immersive look to their upcoming product on their Instagram Stories.

But it’s how they have designed the video to fit the Instagram Story dimension that truly takes the cake here.

5. Wipro

wipro instagram stories

Just like we saw in Kyle Nutt’s case, centering your main visuals in your Instagram Stories does a great job of instantly grabbing attention.

Mostly because the center space of your stories is what your audience will first lay their eyes on.

Notice how Wipro uses this same strategy along with their Instagram Story dimensions to better promote their blogs and articles.

They have designed their visuals in such a way that it aligns perfectly with their Instagram Story size in a minimal yet impactful manner.

Tips to Optimize Instagram Story Dimensions

Optimizing your Instagram Story dimensions can significantly enhance the impact of your content. 

Here are some specific, actionable tips to help you make the most of your Instagram stories:

1. Select the Right Template

Always start with a template designed especially for Instagram Stories that takes into consideration the safe areas, 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high to be precise as shown here

instagram story aspect ratio

This ensures your content fits perfectly within Instagram's designated story space, preventing any automatic resizing or cropping that can distort your message.

2. Keep Key Elements Within Safe Areas

Design your story with critical elements like text and important visuals well within the central safe area which should look something like this.

instagram story safe area examples

This approach ensures that Instagram's interface elements, such as the profile picture overlay or the message box, don't obscure your content.

3. Use High-Quality Images

To combat Instagram's image compression, always use high-resolution images.

This practice ensures that, even after Instagram compresses the image during upload, your content remains clear and visually appealing.

4. Cross-check on Multiple Devices 

Preview your Instagram story on various devices to ensure it looks good on all screen sizes.

This step is crucial to ensure that your story's visual appeal is consistent, whether viewed on a small smartphone or a larger tablet or on a computer screen.

5. Employ Design Grids and Guides

Utilize design tools like grids and guides to align and balance the elements in your story.

This not only enhances the visual appeal but also ensures a professional and polished aesthetic that looks even from all sides.

6. Simplify Your Design

Avoid overloading your story with too many graphic elements.

A clean, simple design is more effective in conveying your message without overwhelming your audience.

simplified instagram story designs

As you can see in this image, try separating the visual elements from the textual elements in your Instagram Stories as much as possible, maintaining even spacing throughout.

7. Optimize Text for Readability

Choose fonts and colors that are easy to read on small screens. 

instagram story text optimization

The text should stand out against the background, ensuring that your message is easily noticeable at a glance, as demonstrated in the image above.

8. Optimize for Video Content

Keep video stories engaging and to the point, ideally within the 15-second limit per story segment.

This length keeps viewers engaged and more likely to watch your story to completion.

9. Utilize Instagram’s Preview Feature

Before posting, use Instagram's preview feature to see exactly how your story will appear to viewers.

This is your chance to catch and correct any issues with layout, text readability, or image quality and optimize your story further.

10. Stay Updated with Instagram's Changes

Regularly update yourself on any new features or changes in Instagram's story specifications.

Adapting to these changes ensures your stories always comply with the latest standards, keeping your content fresh and relevant.

Instagram Story Dimension Mistakes to Avoid

Creating the perfect Instagram Story involves more than just great content. 

It's also about understanding and effectively using the platform's format and the dimensions of your Instagram Stories to your advantage. 

But some key mistakes might make your Instagram Story uploading process not the smooth sailing you were hoping for.

Let’s look at these mistakes and how to avoid them in detail here.

1. Not Adhering to the 9:16 Aspect Ratio

The most crucial aspect of Instagram stories is maintaining a 9:16 aspect ratio. Ignoring this can lead to your content being awkwardly cropped or not fitting the screen properly as seen here.

incorrect use of instagram story aspect ratio

Ensure that all your visuals are tailored to this ratio, whether they are images or videos, to provide a seamless viewing experience that covers the entire screen without any distortion.

2. Overlapping with Instagram Story’s Interface Overlays

Instagram overlays certain interface elements like the profile picture, top and bottom action bars, and message box on stories. 

Placing crucial text or important parts of an image too close to the edges can form a distracting overlap between the visuals of your Instagram Story and the interface elements. 

instagram story interface elements overlapping

Always design with these overlays in mind, keeping key information centralized and within the 'safe' middle area of the screen.

3. Using Incorrectly Oriented Images

We saw the importance of high-resolution images earlier and understood why they are vital for clarity and professionalism in your stories. 

But the orientation of your images (or videos for that matter) are also equally crucial. 

Vertical images work best with the 9:16 format, while horizontal images may need cropping or reformatting.

4. Overcomplicating the Design

A common pitfall is overcrowding your story with too many elements, such as excessive text, stickers, or emojis. 

overcompl;icated instagram story design

This can overwhelm your audience and detract from your main message. Aim for a balance between creativity and simplicity. 

Use a clean and focused design that effectively communicates your story without unnecessary distractions.

5. Ignoring Platform Updates and Video Constraints

Instagram frequently updates its features and specifications.

Not keeping up with these changes can result in your stories being less effective. 

Additionally, for video content, remember Instagram's 15-second limit per story segment.

Longer videos need to be segmented properly to ensure a smooth and engaging viewer experience. 

Regularly check for updates and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is The Perfect Instagram Story Dimension?

The ideal dimension for an Instagram Story is 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high, conforming to a 9:16 aspect ratio.

This specific size makes your story occupy the entire screen of a smartphone, offering an immersive and complete viewing experience. 

There are no awkward borders or parts of the content being cut off when using this aspect ratio, which is essential for maintaining the visual integrity of your story.

Furthermore, the resolution of 1080x1920 is optimal for Instagram as it strikes the perfect balance between high-quality, crisp visuals and manageable file size. 

2. How do You Make Dimensions for Instagram Stories?

The process begins by setting up your canvas or document to the ideal Instagram Story dimensions, which are 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high. 

This can be done in any graphic design tool or app like Canva, Adobe Photoshop, etc. 

Starting with these dimensions ensures that your design space aligns perfectly with the space Instagram Stories will occupy.

For those who might not be as familiar with graphic design tools, utilizing pre-made Instagram Story templates is also a highly effective alternative. 

This approach simplifies the process, allowing you to focus more on the creative aspects of your story without worrying about technical specifications.

When incorporating existing photos or videos into your stories, resizing or cropping might be necessary to fit the aspect ratio. 

It's important to maintain the 9:16 aspect ratio during this process to prevent any distortion of your images.

Before finalizing your story, always preview it. If you notice any issues during the preview, such as elements being cut off or looking stretched, it's important to go back and adjust your design. 

Sometimes, even minor tweaks can significantly improve how your content looks on the platform.

3. Does Changing Instagram Story Dimension Affect Videos?

Altering Instagram Story dimensions can indeed have a significant impact on your video. 

When you change the dimensions of a video to fit the 9:16 aspect ratio of Instagram Stories, it makes your video content fully optimized for the platform. 

This optimization is crucial for several reasons.

Firstly, when a video is not in the 9:16 aspect ratio, Instagram automatically adjusts it to fit the screen. 

This can lead to your video being cropped in ways that might cut off important visual information or alter the intended framing of your content. 

For instance, if you upload a horizontally oriented video, Instagram might crop the sides to make it fit the vertical format, potentially removing key elements from the view.

By starting with the correct dimensions, you maintain more control over the final quality of your video, ensuring it looks crisp and clear on your audience's screens.


Navigating through the nuances of Instagram Story Dimensions can initially seem daunting, but as we've explored in this blog, mastering them is key to elevating your online presence on Instagram. 

We've covered the essential dimensions, the importance of adhering to these specifications, and provided practical examples and tips to optimize your Instagram stories. 

Remember, avoiding common mistakes and understanding the impact of dimensions on video content are just as crucial. 

Armed with this knowledge, you're now ready to create Instagram stories that are not only visually appealing but also perfectly formatted. 

As you apply these insights, remember that each story is a unique canvas for your creativity.

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