The whole premise of Instagram is to give users of the platform a visual outlet for sharing information; with the main elements of Instagram based around visuals, you’ve got to make sure that your content looks good and is visually stunning.
This includes making sure that they are the right size and look crisp and clear. There are many different types of visual content you can create on Instagram so you want to make sure that you get the sizes and ratios right so that it looks great on the platform.
In the past, Instagram only allowed users to post square photos that were 612px by 612 px. Those days are long gone and now you can use vertical as well as horizontal images in your Instagram posts.
When you have the right image dimensions, you’ll have better content that drives more engagement numbers, helping your account to perform well. That said, which Instagram image size is best for brand marketing?
There are options to choose from and understanding which one will bring you the best results can help you create content that performs well every time.
In this guide, we’ll discuss different elements of Instagram image sizes and ratios, how you can optimize your photos, as well as which ones can elevate your marketing efforts. Let’s take a look!
A Guide to Instagram Image Size and Aspect Ratios
This section will help us to understand the basics of Instagram photos and ensure that they look awesome when we post them.
There are two key things you need to remember here: aspect ratio and image size.
What is Instagram Image Size?
Instagram image size refers to the width and height of your photo or video, and this is usually expressed in pixels. There are two numbers to express the image size, one expressing the width and one the height.
For example, a square photo may have a size of 720px by 720px. The smallest size for an IG post is 320px and the maximum width size is 1080px. If you upload a photo smaller than 320px, Instagram will automatically enlarge it.
If your post is bigger than 1080px, it’ll be sized down. It’s common that IG stores your content in different sizes and the one that is displayed on the feed is smaller than the original file that you uploaded to Instagram.
What is an Aspect Ratio?
Aspect ratio can be defined as the width of the photo or video in relation to height. The aspect ratio is similar to the image size in that it will have two numbers, first one for height and second for width.
Previously, a 1:1 ratio was the only kind allowed on Instagram; now, they offer a variety of aspect ratios that you can use for a diverse feed of content.
Does Instagram Compress Image and Video Size?
Yes, Instagram does compress photos and videos as we mentioned earlier. Usually the file that is shown on your feed will be smaller than the file you originally upload. Even though your photos and videos get compressed, it’s still important that they are uploaded with the proper size.
There are a few reasons for this. With properly sized photos, you:
- Catch your audience’s attention
- Boost engagement and social proof
- Create aesthetically pleasing ads and images
- Establish your brand and reputation
You should ensure that you always upload high-resolution photos so that your image quality won’t be downsized when Instagram compresses your post. In addition, you should avoid photos with extremely high resolutions, like 5400px by 5400px.
Finally, consider the Instagram aspect ratio so that you can understand what part of your image will be shown and you won’t have to worry about it getting cropped in a way that you didn’t anticipate.
How Do I Optimize Instagram Photo Image Size?
Below we’ll discuss the best sizes for three of the most common photo types that you may post on Instagram.
Landscape Instagram Image
Landscape images have a target aspect ratio of 1.91:1. If you want wide content, you can also use photos that have a 16:9 ratio.
For image size, you will have a photo that has 1080px in height at least.
Square Instagram Image
The original content type on Instagram, square images should have an aspect ratio of 1:1.
Image size varies; on square photos, Instagram will display a maximum of 600px by 600x. In this case, we recommend using photos that are sized 1080px by 1080px.
Vertical or Portrait Instagram Image
Vertical or portrait images have to have a ratio of 4:5; if not, you’ll probably lose out on some of your content in the way of cropping.
In terms of size, you should stick to a 1080px by 1350px photo. Then, upon compression, the display size will be 480px by 600px, which is good.
What is the Best Instagram Image Size For Brand Marketing?
Since Instagram is a highly visual platform and also one of the most popular for marketing and business purposes, you’ve got to ensure that your content is top notch if you want to compete with others in your niche.
It’s important to choose the right size for your photos, but how can you make the right choice?
We’ll discuss some of the different factors that play into this, but we also want to look at engagement rates between the different image sizes:
- Landscape photos: 1.26% engagement
- Square photos: 1.39% engagement
- Portrait photos: 1.43% engagement
While engagement rates can vary by account, we can see that portrait/vertical photos do better than others, although not exponentially.
Why might this be? There are a few reasons.
Portrait Photos Make the Most of the Screen
With screens getting bigger and bigger these days, you’ve got to cover it with more awesome visuals. The good thing about vertical content is that it uses more screen space, which allows them to be noticed more quickly, especially when there are high-quality visuals in the photos.
This is also another reason why engagement could be higher— they are noticed first and they stand out due to the size and aspect ratio. When a photo takes up pretty much the whole screen, a user will be drawn to it and also likely to engage with it.
Photos that are landscape aren’t likely to have this effect, which may also explain its lower engagement rates.
Portrait Photos are More Likely to Go Viral on Instagram
Each account on Instagram is unique and has their own visuals and brand image. This is what sets them apart and helps them to be recognized by users on the platform.
The goal of any Instagram account looking to grow in terms of business is to gain more engagement, and portrait photos can help do that. You can have a higher chance of being recognized and going viral when you have more engagement, which is why portrait photos are more effective here.
Vertical Images are More Detailed
When you upload a vertical image on Instagram, it will be more detailed and have more focus on the photo. Landscape photos lack the height but have the same width as a portrait photo.
When you have a landscape photo, you may want to crop it into portrait and get a main focal point so that it will catch user attention when they’re scrolling on Instagram. Ultimately, image size and aspect ratio make all the difference here.
What is the Best Instagram Image Size for Ads?
The final element of brand marketing that should be considered is Instagram ads. While not all brands will use ads, if you do, it’s vital that you make the most of your investment.
The goal of ads is to gain more leads and conversion, so you want to make sure that your ad leads to sales. Both photos and videos can be used as ads and this is important. It can be tough to catch people’s attention with a static image.
Here are some tips about sizes for Instagram ads:
- Landscapes don’t work as well as portraits; if the photo is too small, your audience won’t even bother checking it out.
- Your Instagram ad should fill up the whole screen. That way, you don’t have to share your audience’s attention with anyone.
- Videos tend to perform better as opposed to still photos, so those can be used when possible.
Let’s take a look at two different types of Instagram ads and which photo size is best for each one.
Single Image Ads
A single image Instagram ad will include an image, caption, and a call to action (CTA). This works in many different niches and can be effective for many different products and services, including blog article promotion and many other endeavors.
For single image ads, you should use 1080px by 1080px or 628px by 1200px.
Carousel ads allow you to include up to 10 images in your content piece, allowing you to have more images and be more creative with what you are advertising. Here are some suggestions:
- Include photos and images that connect or tell a story
- Present a step-by-step guide on a product or service
- Discuss benefits of a product or service
- Showcase multiple products
- Raise brand awareness
- And more
Possibilities are endless with carousel ads. You should use the same image size or aspect ratio for all of the photos that you include in your carousel.
The minimum image size should be 600px by 600px for carousel ads or maximum 1080px by 1080px. You can also use portrait photos with an image size of 1080px by 1350px.
Instagram Stories Image Ads
Another popular outlet for ads on Instagram, Instagram stories has a lot of potential for reach and also needs a particular image size.
Instagram stories make use of the whole screen, which is great for engagement but you have to ensure that your photo is optimized for the feature.
Instagram stories use a 9:16 aspect ratio. You can use a minimum resolution of 600px by 1067 and maximum 1080px by 1920px.
Conclusion: Which Instagram Image Size is Best?
While it may be up for debate, it’s clear that taller photos that take up more screen space capture more user attention and are likely to have more engagement than landscape or square photos.
An aspect ratio of 4:5 is ideal for Instagram engagement. Does that mean you can’t include other image sizes and types? Of course not. Remember, the content you create is what’s important and each account performs differently.
The most important thing is that you study your analytics and pay attention to which content is working best with your particular audience; then you can decide what type of content and which image size/aspect ratio can work best for your Instagram.