Instagram might be one of the most versatile social media used in the current era. The posts on Instagram are not only used for leisure purposes. Currently, many people use this platform for marketing various products. Therefore the Instagram post quality becomes a major concern.
An aspect that is related to the post quality is the picture's dimensions. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram has a certain dimension specification. If the picture does not fulfill that specification, the post will not look good nor appeal to Instagram followers.
Instagram, Then and Now
It might be interesting to learn how Instagram evolved from when it was first introduced in October 2010. Many people were skeptical as people could only post their images and videos. The post dimension that it could accommodate was also very limiting.
The standard post would have a square shape. This particular characteristic has been known since the platform was first introduced. However, as time goes by, the post variety becomes wider. Therefore, the Instagram post dimensions also vary from post to post.
To become more familiar with Instagram as a platform, the following list shows the features of Instagram posts made available for its users:
1. Instagram Feed
This is the most basic form of Instagram post as it was the first post format introduced by the platform. When a user opens a profile of another Instagram user, they will immediately see their feed. Feed constitutes the majority of a user's profile page, so it should represent the user.
As in this era, Instagram is used as a tool for marketing; the posts on one’s feed should be aesthetically pleasing. It should also perfectly suit the user’s personal brand. In addition to the photo, the post should incorporate a suitable hashtag and caption to make it more compelling.
2. Instagram Story
The story is the newer feature on Instagram that immediately became a hit after its launching. In order to check this post format, a user needs to click on another user’s profile picture. If a user posts an Instagram story, there will be a pink circle surrounding their profile photo.
There is something compelling about this particular type of post. An Instagram story will disappear 24 hours after being uploaded. Thus, people have the sense of urgency to check on the post soon after it is published. It also has different dimensions than the square feed post.
3. Instagram Reel
Another new post feature that Instagram introduced is the reel. People use this to solely post video content into their Instagram account. People believe that the feature is not unlike another viral platform, TikTok. This type of post accommodates the younger generation.
The standard duration for a reel post is 15 seconds. People can pour their creativity into making posts that are engaging to their audience. The posts should be able to include all of the necessary information needed. The reel also has a more flexible dimension specification.
This might be one of the most innovative content formats provided by Instagram. The feature enables users to post videos with a maximum duration of 10 minutes. A verified account with a certain number of followers (10,000 users) can even post videos that are 60 minutes long.
On IGTV, Instagram users can fit in various information so that people would be able to understand their intentions better. It is necessary to be cautious not to cram too much into the Instagram post, though. The dimension of IGTV contents is also relatively more flexible.
In the past, people could only upload 640 pixel square-shaped pictures onto their Instagram profiles. Even with a perfect dimension, the picture will not look too clear. The platform eventually upgraded its resolution to 1080 pixels. The dimensions are no longer limited to a square shape.
Dimension Dilemma for Feed: Portrait or Landscape?
Currently, the varied features enable its user to decide between having a portrait and landscape post. Many users will suggest that you make use of the portrait Instagram post dimension rather than the landscape one. Of course, this suggestion does not come out literally.
Here are the further analyses about these two categories of Instagram post dimension:
1. Portrait Post
What is the max size for an Instagram post? The maximum resolution for this Instagram post dimension type is 1080 pixels wide and 1350 pixels tall. Such resolution already yields crystal clear photos that would pamper your followers.
The standard ratio for portrait dimensions on Instagram is 8:10. Commonly, you will find that editing apps can help edit pictures with 8:10 or 4:5. Therefore, it is very easy to make Instagram content from any photo editing app. The dimensions will determine how clear the picture would appear.
If the user uses Instagram to market a product, then the portrait photo dimension is more beneficial to them. It would look fuller when seen in its minimized form. Therefore, even just by visiting your page, the Instagram posts would appear completely without having to click one by one.
2. Landscape Post
Meanwhile, the ratio for a landscape post is 1.91:1. Regardless of the dimensions being used for the photo, if the user chooses landscape, then the photo would morph according to that ratio specification. Therefore, pre-setting is important.
For the maximum resolution width, Instagram offers 1080 pixels. Meanwhile, for the height, the optimum dimension resolution would be 566 pixels. This is similar to Facebook ads' dimensions. Therefore, the posts for both platforms are cross-compatible.
Usually, marketers are against the use of this dimension category. The reason is that on profile pages, they do not sit fully on the thumbnail. There would be filler at the top and the bottom of the post. That would ruin the aesthetics of one’s Instagram page.
Maximizing the Quality of an Instagram post
Since Instagram is an image-focused social media, the quality of pictures that are being uploaded is important. User needs to know how to maximize the quality of their posts. Low-quality pictures, albeit following the dimension specification, will not look appealing to the eye.
There is one question that many current Instagram users will ask: Why does the quality change on Instagram posts? Some users may think that they have uploaded high-quality pictures. However, when they check the post later, the quality might decrease.
Here are some reasons for someone’s photo to not appear as clear despite following the Instagram post dimension guide:
The Instagram application on the user’s phone is not updated to its latest version.
Users access Instagram through desktop computers, and the web version of Instagram can only display photos with a maximum resolution of 640 pixels.
The photos being uploaded already have low resolution despite having a suitable Instagram post dimension, so that Instagram cannot do anything about it.
Users access the platform using mobile devices that do not support high-resolution pictures.
Instagram users are advised against making photo posts with pictures that are lower than 320 pixels in width resolution. It is because the photo would be stretched to fit the minimum dimension resolution. The quality will suffer because of this system.
Current users would always encourage others to post pictures with higher dimension resolution. The followings are some rationales related to this advice:
1. The Post Would be in the Highest Quality
As stated, the maximum dimension resolution for Instagram is 1080 pixels. When a user posts a photo with a lower resolution, even if it is larger than the minimum resolution, Instagram will follow the original photo’s quality instead of having it improved.
However, when the user posts a photo that has a higher dimension resolution than the maximum resolution, the post would follow the maximum resolution. Therefore, it is encouraged to use high-quality pictures for one’s Instagram account.
2. Users Get to Save the High-Quality Image in Their Library
Someone who uses Instagram to market products tends to use other platforms too. It means that they will repeatedly use one photo for various platforms. Having photos that only suit Instagram post dimensions is not enough.
Thus, users should use pictures with a high-quality resolution that they know will fit in various platforms. When someone is using the Instagram photo editing function but choosing to “Save Original Photos,” they will find that the quality of their photos is kept in its original form.
3. Instagram Continuously Evolves
In the previous section, it was mentioned that Instagram did not start the way it is today. As with many other social platforms, Instagram continuously evolves to fit the demands of current users. It is clear in the way Instagram post dimensions have changed over the years.
If a user saves their Instagram posts to the highest quality possible despite them being higher quality than the current system offers, the photos might be reusable in the future. Instagram might enhance its maximum dimension resolution to accommodate users in the future.
Steps to Arrange Dimension Layout on Instagram
When the feature was first introduced, users could only choose a non-square photo shape after choosing which photo to post. This proved to be a tedious process. Users had to go back to square one if they did not like the cropped look of their post on their Instagram profile page.
However, the system is currently updated to fit the user's needs better. Here is how someone can post non-square photos on Instagram:
On the homepage or profile page, click on the (+ / plus) sign located in the upper right corner.
Choose a photo or video that would be uploaded.
Click on the crop sign, which is located on the left side, to choose between portrait and landscape post. Please note that a portrait image will only have its center part appear on the feed.
Move the perimeter using fingers (or create pinching motion) to adjust the crop so that it would fit your preference better.
Click “Next” to add a filter or edit the photo using other features.
Click “Next” to insert a caption to the post.
Post the picture, and it will immediately be on your Instagram feed.
Dimensions for Instagram Stories
In addition, to feed, people are also interested in using the Story feature. This feature is especially popular for online business owners. It was found that people’s interest in an online marketed product increases by 62% after seeing it on Story.
Despite having a prospect of success, you should still make an effort to maximize the Instagram post format. Here are some ways to improve the quality of one’s Story:
1. Knowing the Maximum Dimension Resolution
It is necessary for Instagram users to know the maximum dimension resolution for a Story post. The maximum width is 1080 pixels, while the maximum height is 1920 pixels. You should strive to use pictures that fulfill the maximum resolution or even beyond.
2. Using the Right Dimension Ratio
The standard ratio for an Instagram Story post is 9:16. However, people can actually use any dimension shape that they want. The dimension that does not fit the standard dimension ratio will look odd as it would be placed in the middle of the screen.
3. Posting the Vertical Video
People can also use videos to make Instagram Story posts. Since the dimension ratio is 9:16, you should only post videos that are shot vertically. Horizontally shot videos will not look good on Story as there would be blank space at the bottom and top parts of the posts.
4. IGTV Post: Dimensions and Other Trivia
Another good feature offered by Instagram is the IGTV. Through this feature, people can post long videos. Verified users can even post videos with a longer duration (up to an hour). Although it is not as popular as Instagram Story, people still utilize it from time to time.
The following shows the specification that a user should follow to create IGTV content:
The file format should be MP4. Thus other types of the video must be converted first despite having a suitable Instagram post dimension.
The video is in a vertical layout, and the dimension ratio is measured at 9:16.
The minimum dimension resolution is 720 pixels, so the video quality should be better than that.
The minimum frame rate is 30 frames per second.
For a ten-minute or less video, the biggest file size is 650MB. Meanwhile, for an hour of video, the maximum file size is 3.6GB.
To accompany the Instagram post, users can also add an IGTV cover so that it would look more appealing on the Instagram feed. The recommended dimension resolution is 420 x 654 pixels which means the dimension ratio is 1:1.55.
Instagram Ads: Making Use of an Interesting Feature
This feature is commonly used by online business owners to market their products on Instagram. There are several different ad post formats that the person can utilize. Here are some important details about the post formats offered in the Instagram ad:
1. Image Advertisement
This is perhaps the most basic type of Instagram ad offered on Instagram. Business owners only need to prepare for photos to post on the ad. However, to yield a high-quality result, they should be mindful of the specifications.
The following shows details about the Instagram images ad’s specifications:
The file format should be either JPG or PNG.
People can post square, vertical, or horizontal images for their ads.
The Instagram post dimensions for square images range from 600 to 1936 pixels with a dimension ratio of 1:1.
For vertical images, the dimension ratio is 4:5 with resolution ranges of 600 to 1936 pixels (width) and 750 to 1936 pixels (height).
For horizontal images, the dimension ratio is 1.91:1 with resolution ranges of 600 to 1936 pixels (width) and 315 to 1936 pixels (height).
2. Story Advertisement
People can also post-story advertisements to enchant people into buying their products. Stories can come in the form of photos or videos. It comes in a brief duration so that Instagram users do not need to spend a long time consuming one content.
Here is the specification for a story advertisement on Instagram:
The file format is MP4 or MOV (for video) and JPG or PNG (for photo)
The dimension ratio for portraits varies from 9:16 to 4:5.
The dimension resolution for the width ranges from 600 to 1080 pixels, while the dimension resolution for the height ranges from 1067 to 1920 pixels.
The maximum filesize for photo posts is 30MB and for videos is 4GB.
The length of duration ranges from 5 to 15 seconds.
3. Video Advertisement
Instagram users can also use video advertisements to market products on social media platforms. Because video would automatically play on the user’s feed, it is easier for the video to catch people’s eyes while scrolling down.
The following shows the specification of video ads, including the Instagram post dimensions:
People can upload MP4 or MOV file formats as long as the dimensions fit.
It accommodates square, vertical, and horizontal layouts.
There are three types of dimension ratios which are 1:1 (square video), 1.91:1 (landscape video), and 4:5 (portrait video).
The maximum dimension resolution is similar to Instagram Story.
The maximum file size is 4GB.
The longest video duration accommodated is 2 minutes.
4. Carousel Advertisement
This is a form of innovative features. People are able to post more than one slide on Instagram ads which means that the information is more comprehensive. More importantly, people can add external links to this post so that people can purchase the product immediately.
The following shows specifications of the carousel ads, including the Instagram post dimensions:
The post can be video (MP4) and photo (JPG or PNG).
The post should have 2 to 10 slides.
The dimension ratio should be 1:1 for maximum quality.
The maximum dimension resolution is 1080 x 1080 pixels.
5. Collection Advertisement
The collection has been introduced just in recent years. Through the advertisement Instagram posts, people are able to purchase the products directly without having to go to external links. It is more convenient for some business owners.
The following shows specifications of the collection ads on Instagram:
The dimension resolution is similar to image and video ads.
The dimension ratio varies from 1:1 to 9:16, depending on the person’s preference.
People can write down up to 90 characters to accompany the photo or video.
It can be concluded that while Instagram is already a very helpful tool, people still need to learn how to utilize it properly. Knowing the standard dimensions and content design is the prerequisite to flourishing on the app. You should always follow the best practice to create appealing posts.