Instagram was designed to let people share their photos and videos, and has become the platform of choice for many businesses running digital marketing campaigns. However, to get the most from the platform and encourage people to engage with your content, you need to produce high-quality images and videos that grab their attention. With millions of posts created and shared every day, you need to stand out from your competitors.
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In this guide, we’ll look at how image and video dimensions work on Instagram. We’ll go through each element of your account step by step, and then discuss how you can use Instagram images in ecommerce to build your following and drive sales. Along the way, we’ll also look at best practices to follow when building an Instagram profile.
1: Your profile image
This will display as an image of 110 x 110 pixels. For best results, upload a square photo with an aspect ratio of 1:1. You may need to adjust the photo so that your face or logo is properly centered. Instagram allows you to upload a photo of any size and scale and crop it as desired.
If you are using a photo of yourself as your photo, make your face the focal point. Do not show too much of your body, as this will make your head appear disproportionately small. Take your photo outdoors, in natural light. Try to take a photo that reflects your character, although keep it in line with your personal or professional brand.
You should use the same profile photo across all your social media profiles, as this makes it easier for others to recognize you or your business.
2: Photo thumbnails
Beneath the top of your profile, you will see a grid of thumbnails that provide viewers with a sneak preview of your images. When a viewer presses “Load More,” they can use infinite scroll to scan through more items. These thumbnails’ display size is 161 x 161 pixels.
When taking photos, consider not only how they will look at full resolution, but also how they will appear as thumbnails. A simple composition and contrasting colors will entice viewers to click on them.
If you want to get more creative with your photo presentation, you could divide a photo into six or nine segments and upload them as separate images to generate a stunning grid effect.
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When a viewer clicks on an image thumbnail on your profile, Instagram will present them with a larger version. Although Instagram originally displayed all photos as squares, the platform now lets you present them as portrait or landscape shots.
Here are the recommended dimensions for each type:
Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels – although you can upload pictures up to 2048 x 2048 pixels in size
Portrait: 1080 x 1350 pixels – although you should note that Instagram will show portrait photos as 600 x 749 pixel images
Landscape: 1080 x 566 pixels
Instagram allows you to upload videos that you can share as part of an Instagram story, or simply post to your feed.
Videos must be between 3 and 60 seconds long, with a maximum video width of 1080 px. They should meet the following specifications: MP4 format, frame rate of 30 fps, H.264 Codec, up to 15 MB in size, AAC audio, and 3500 kbps.
The majority of Instagram users access the app via their phone, so always optimize your content for mobile. It’s a good idea to use a resolution of 640 x 640 pixels for videos you are posting to your timeline, and a resolution of 750 x 1334 pixels if uploading a video to an Instagram story.
When you upload a video, Instagram will automatically generate a thumbnail that displays on your feed. However, the generated image might not necessarily be representative of your content. Fortunately, you can adjust the thumbnail to your liking.
Once you have uploaded your video, hit “Next.” You should then see a “Cover” option appear at the bottom of your screen. Tap this, and you should see a bar appear underneath your video. To choose your cover image, simply swipe until you find the perfect still from your video. When you are satisfied, tap “Next” and post it to your account.
Note that you cannot change the cover image once you have posted your video, so make sure you’ve chosen the right settings before sharing it.
What about advertisements?
Just like regular posts, advertisements on Instagram are image-based. Instagram have found that ads made up of less than 20% text tend to perform better. As a result, text-heavy ads do not typically make it past the manual review process. There are a few exceptions – for example, book covers may be allowed even if they contain a lot of text – but as a general rule, you should focus on images rather than words.
For square images: The minimum resolution is 600 x 600 pixels, and the maximum resolution is 1,936 x 1,936 pixels.
For landscape images: The minimum resolution is 600 x 315 pixels, and the maximum resolution is 1,936 x 1,936 pixels.
For vertical (portrait) images: The minimum resolution is 600 x 750 pixels, and the maximum resolution is 1,936 x 1,936 pixels.
You can add a caption of up to 2,200 characters beneath your ad. Video ads should be a maximum of 4 GB in size and cannot exceed 60 seconds in length.
Instagram now supports all photo and video dimensions, from 1:91 to 4:5. Videos must be in either MP4 or MOV format, and photos must be uploaded as either JPG or PNG files. You can learn more about how to design and create effective ads by visiting the Facebook Business Center.
What’s the perfect Instagram photo size and orientation for ecommerce?
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According to digital marketer Gian Pepe, portrait photos with an aspect ratio of 4:5 is the best option. This is because portrait images take up more room on the screen when someone scrolls through your feed on their phone. Landscape images typically occupy only half a screen, but portrait posts can fill it up completely.
Remember, you have only a fraction of a second to capture someone’s attention, so forcing the viewer to focus on your photo is an excellent strategy. These principles also apply to advertisements.
Even if you deliberately composed a photo as a landscape, you should consider editing it and then displaying it as a portrait. Your landscapes may be beautiful, but with a bit of thought you can create a stunning portrait shot by using the crop tool to highlight an important detail.
Tips for brand-building and increasing sales on Instagram
When you upload photos, bigger is better: Instagram seem to be increasing their supported photo size as time goes on, so get ahead of the curve by posting large, hi-res pictures. Large images are also easier to use on other platforms, which is useful if you are marketing products and services via multiple channels.
Don’t worry about including every little detail in your photos: If you are using Instagram to promote your products, you may assume that it’s always best to include full shots of every item. However, highlighting only the most intriguing features or details can be an effective strategy that invites viewers to click on your image to learn more about your range.
It’s OK to reuse layouts and stick to the same style: Consistency is a key element when building a brand. If you have found a style of photography you are comfortable with, use it as your signature.
Experiment with tools to help you create show-stopping photos: Instagram comes equipped with filters and basic editing tools, but there are lots of apps out there to take your photos to the next level. For example, the Color Pop app lets you pick out a single color from your image and render the rest in black and white.
Take care when translating text for international audiences: Remember that although the size of your photos will be the same for Instagram users around the world, you may need to translate your text into the local language.
Even if you only have a few words to translate, don’t attempt to do it yourself – minor mistakes can lead to serious misunderstandings! Use a professional translation service, such as The Word Point, for a perfect result every time.
Check that every image fits with your brand: Before you even start posting to your account, decide on the values and vision you want to project with your photos and videos. For instance, if you want to appeal to a young, sporty demographic, it would be a good idea to fill your feed with action shots rather than peaceful landscapes. Keep track of the content your audience shares most often, and let it guide you in producing future posts.
Author: Erica Sunarjo
Erica Sunarjo graduated from South Texas College majoring in Marketing and Creative Writing. She used her knowledge to make a difference in the realm of business copywriting and invested heavily in traveling and language learning. At present, Erica is fluent in French and Spanish, studying Chinese and working her way to being a multilingual copywriter. She keeps track of the latest trends in IT and technologies, blogs about efficient strategies in education and business coaching, holds educational webinars.