Video Format for Instagram - A Complete Guide

Edward George - Video My Business

Having spent the past few weeks talking tirelessly with past customers, existing video producers and prospective clients, it’s clear that there is a little bit of confusion around video formats for the social media giants. Each have their own preferred file types, upload limits, aspect ratios and orientations, but which is the best format for each of the platforms?

In this post, we want to do a deep dive around Instagram and what the best video format is for each of the video types that it supports, to ensure that your corporate marketing videos reach the maximum number of people in your target market.

Before we get into the specifics, it’s worth mentioning that there are two distinct types of video for Instagram, each with their own preferred specifications. They are Instagram Stories and Instagram Feed videos.


Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are those full screen videos that take over your whole mobile viewport. They often have a set amount of time for each video (15 seconds unless you manually navigate away) before it moves on to the next one.

They are the most common video type on Instagram with 400 million users sharing stories every day!

Since they scale to the size of the viewport, and viewport sizes vary greatly these days dependent on the device being viewed, the sizes of these is not an exact science, but following the below formats should ensure that your video format for Instagram is at its optimal for the majority of devices viewing it:

Instagram story gif showing format for instagram stories

Recommended size: 1080 by 1920 pixels
Minimum size: 600 by 1067 pixels
Supported aspect ratios: 16:9 to 4:5 and 9:16
Recommended specs: .MP4 or .MOV format, maximum length 15 seconds, maximum file size 4GB


Instagram Feeds

Instagram feed videos are the ones that show up when browsing around your Instagram feed.

They can be formatted horizontally or square, but since Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s worth mentioning that Facebook prefers square videos. So our advice here would be to create a square video that works nicely for both Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram feed gif showing format for instagram feed videos

Square video: 600 by 600 pixels (1:1 aspect ratio)
Horizontal video: 600 by 315 pixels (1.9:1 aspect ratio)
Vertical video: 600 by 750 pixels (4:5 aspect ration)
Recommended specs: .MP4 or .MOV format, maximum length 60 seconds, maximum file size 4GB, maximum frame rate 30fps.


So Which is Best?

There is an ongoing debate as to which one is best which we won't get into here, but luckily for VMB readers, AdEspresso ran an experiment testing the two. We will let you head there and make your own mind up on which you prefer, but just know that either is great.

With more than 8 in 10 advertisers agreeing that video is an essential part of their media buy, it’s clear to see that video-based social channels are here to stay, so staying ahead of the curve and investing in your own corporate videos is an essential marketing strategy in 2018.


Edward George - Video My Business This article was published by Edward George on 11th December 2018. 'Edward is the Director of Video My Business and a passionate entrepreneur. With big aspirations he hopes to change the business video industry for the better.
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