Video production tips

A Complete Guide to Instagram Video Formats

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

  • hello text text
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How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Video content on Instagram is booming. It's engaging, highly visual, easy to consume, and people just can't get enough of it.

More and more businesses, influencers, brands, and content creators from all walks of life are realizing the impact that creating and promoting videos on Instagram can have on their accounts, so they're joining the video marketing bandwagon.

When creating videos for Instagram, it's important to focus on the quality of your content and the technical specifications of your video. There are tons of videos available on the platform, so you can't expect people to waste time watching a video that doesn’t add value and is poorly made.

Instagram gives you a variety of mediums to share your video content. To take full advantage of each of them, you need to know the right video specs and formats to use to give your audience a satisfying video experience.

However, it can be challenging to figure out the appropriate specifications for the various types of Instagram videos because they keep changing. Not to worry, we're here to help.

This post includes everything you need to know about all the Instagram video formats so you can make the best possible content. We'll also dive into how to change your video format or resolution to fit Instagram's requirements and share tips to help you create high-quality videos that get results.

Why You Should Be Creating Videos for Instagram

If you've been paying attention, it's hard to deny the growing influence of video in the content creation space on Instagram. From Reels to Stories, Live, IGTV, and feed posts, Instagram has created opportunities for you to connect with your followers and reach new audiences easily and quickly.

According to the 2021 Instagram Engagement report by Hubspot and Mention, video consistently outperforms other types of content on average. Some of the revelations contained in the report include:

  • 66% of Instagram's 1 billion users viewed video content from brands on the platform.
  • Video does a better job of generating engagement than carousels and images.
  • In 2020, video posts received a higher number of comments and likes—compared to image and carousel posts—with 24 comments and 888 likes on average.
  • Users preferred dynamic content that required interactivity from the viewer like tapping to unmute a video or scrolling through a carousel over single image ads.

What does this all mean? If you're not already using Instagram video, you're missing out on a great opportunity.

While no one can guarantee that every video you share on Instagram will bring you millions of views and interactions, this much can be said with certainty that video content will take you farther than all the other content types and help you drum up higher engagement on Instagram. 

Understanding Instagram Video Terminologies

Before we take a look at the ideal specifications for each type of Instagram video, you need to know the meaning of certain terminologies we'll be referencing as we go along.

Video Format

A video format refers to the type of file format used for storing digital video data on a mobile device or computer. You can find out what kind of file format a video data is stored in by looking at its extension and checking the last three letters in the file name. The most common video formats for online videos are MP4, WMV, and FLV because of their small size.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of a video is the ratio of its width in proportion to its height. It basically describes the shape of an image/video and is usually expressed as a ratio—two numbers separated by a colon. The first number represents the width, while the second digit constitutes the height.

For example, a square video or image would have an aspect ratio of 1:1 because its width and height are the same. On the other hand, a 9:16 aspect ratio would mean a video is 9 units wide and 16 units high.

Video Codec

A video codec is a hardware or software that compresses a digital video when recording and decompresses it during playback to make its file size smaller. The compression can be lossy or lossless.

With a lossy compression, some of the file data is left out resulting in smaller file size and reduced video quality. But with lossless compression, all the data from the original file is kept intact resulting in higher video quality and larger file size. After compression, the video will be stored in a file format. The most popular and widely used codecs are HEVC/H.265, DivX, H.264, and MPEG-4.


Resolution refers to the size of your video/image or the number of pixels that make up its width and height. The larger the pixels, the higher the resolution and quality of your video.

Like aspect ratio, resolution is expressed by two digits —the first number represents the width and the second the height. For example, a video resolution of 1920 × 1080 means the video has 1920 pixels and 1080 pixels across the width and height respectively.


Video bitrate is the amount of data that is processed or transmitted in a given amount of time. Bitrate is usually measured in bits per second, kilobits per second, or megabits per second, gigabits per second, or terabits per second for different types of files. For video, the bitrate is referenced in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the bit rate, the larger the file size and the better the quality of your video. 

Frame Rate

Every video is made up of a series of still images known as frames. The frame rate of a video is the speed and frequency at which those images are displayed on screen per second. For instance, a video that’s captured and played at 60FPS will show 60 images or frames every second.

Best Video Format for Instagram Stories

Instagram introduced the Stories feature in 2016, allowing people to share images or videos with all kinds of layers, stickers, and effects on their profile that automatically disappears after 24 hours.

Since Stories was launched, it has seen widespread adoption with 500 million people using it every day. It has also increased the average amount of time spent on Instagram to 28 minutes (before Stories it was 15-21 minutes).

With Stories, you can upload short videos that are up to 15 seconds. If your clip is longer than 15 seconds, Instagram will split it into 15-second segments for you. However, this trick will only work if your video is up to 60 seconds long because Instagram will only create four 15-second clips.

Stories are perfect for sharing different kinds of content such as teasers, videos that aren’t ‘worthy” of your feed, behind-the-scenes clips, in-the-moment updates, seasonal content, or videos that provide a deeper look into your personality or that of your brand.

Because the dimensions for Instagram Stories depend on the device that the Story is viewed on, the standard dimensions are difficult to establish. However, it’s recommended that you use the following specifications when creating a Stories video.

Instagram Story Video Specifications Standard Requirements
Resolution Minimum: 600px × 1067px Maximum: 1080 px × 1920px
Aspect ratio Minimum: 4:5 Maximum: 9:16
File size Maximum: 4GB Recommended: 15MB or less to reduce upload and loading times.
Format MP4 or MOV
Frame rate Minimum: 30 frames per second

If you don’t want your Stories to disappear, you can add them as highlights, save them to your device, or share them to your feed to preserve them forever.

Standard Formatting Requirements for Instagram In-Feed Videos

In-Feed video was Instagram's foray into the video content space. At first, people could only post videos that were 15 seconds long on their feeds, but this limit has been raised to 60 seconds.

Instagram also introduced the carousel feature which allows you to post up to 10 videos in a single feed post so users can swipe to view all of them. So if you have a long video, you can just slice it up into 60-second segments and post it as a carousel.

The platform lets you share in-feed videos in three formats:

1. Square Videos

Once upon a time, square videos were the only kind of videos that you could share on Instagram, and they have managed to remain a crowd favorite because they cover just the right amount of screen space.

When square videos show up on viewer's screens, the video and caption are displayed, giving the viewer the full information about the content they're seeing and quickly capturing their attention.

2. Vertical Videos

Vertical or portrait in-feed videos stretch longer than square ones and occupy a much bigger space on the screen. They cover viewer's screens so they won't be distracted by other posts, which is great for retaining attention.

With vertical videos, viewers may not be able to see the entire post in one go. They might have to scroll down to see the caption. However, vertical posts enable you to add more text, subtitles, call-outs, or calls to action directly in the video itself, making captions not so important for your post.

3. Horizontal Videos 

The option for horizontal or landscape videos was only recently added to Instagram. Videos in this format take up less space in the feed so people can easily be distracted by other content.

This video format is perfect for sharing creative and artistic presentations, clips involving multiple subjects or scenery, and taking viewers on a visual journey.

Here are the standard formatting requirements for square, vertical, and horizontal in-feed videos.

Instagram In-Feed Videos Specifications Standard Requirements
Preferred format MP4 or MOV
Aspect ratio for vertical video 4:5 ratio
Aspect ratio for square video 1:1 ratio
Aspect ratio for horizontal video Minimum: 1.91:1 Maximum: 16:9
Resolution for vertical video Minimum: 600px × 750px Maximum: 1080px × 1350px
Resolution for square video Minimum: 600px × 600px Maximum: 1080px × 1080px

Some more formatting requirements

Specifications Requirements
Resolution for horizontal video Minimum: 600px × 315px Maximum: 1080px × 608px
File size Maximum: 4GB Recommend: less than 100MB
Frame rate 23 - 60 frames per second
Codec Audio codec: AAC, 48khz sample rate maximum, 1 0r 2 channels (mono or stereo) Video codec: HEVC or H264, progressive scan, closed GOP, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling
Bitrate Maximum: 5Mbps
Video length Minimum: 3 seconds Maximum: 60 seconds

Tip: Since 90% of people typically use their phone in vertical position and the Instagram app cannot be rotated on smartphones, you'll be better off creating vertical video content.

This is because widescreen or landscape videos will take up small space on viewer's screens which is not ideal for engagement. But vertical videos will fill up more of their screens, which is better for views and interactions. 

Instagram Video Format for Ads

Video isn't reserved for organic content alone. You can make waves with your advertising campaign by creating engaging videos that explain what your brand does, how your products/services work, or showcase your personality and invite people to check out the rest of your page.

Instagram video ads are a great and compelling way to expand your reach, increase brand awareness, and generate more conversions. They blend naturally into the user's feed or story profile and capture the user's attention as they go about their regular scrolling.

Optimizing your Instagram video format, resolution, and other parameters will help maximize the impact and success of your ad campaigns. 

Here are the recommended guidelines for Insta Story video ads.

Specifications Standard Requirements
Resolution Minimum: 600px × 1067px Maximum: 1080px × 1920px
Aspect ratio Minimum: 16:9 to 4:5 Maximum: 9:16
Video format MP4 or MOV
File size Maximum: 4GB Recommended: 30MB or less
Video length Minimum: 3 seconds Maximum: 2 minutes
Frame rate Maximum: 30 frames per second

These are the guidelines for Insta In-Feed video ads.

Specifications Standard Requirements
Resolution Minimum: 500px Maximum: 1080 × 1080px
Aspect ratio Minimum: 4:5 Maximum: 1.91:1
Codec H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps
Video length Maximum: 60 seconds
File size, frame rate, format Same as story video ads

And these are the recommended guidelines for Insta In-Feed Carousel video ads.

Specifications Standard Requirements
Resolution Minimum: 600 × 600px Recommended: 1080 × 1080px
Aspect ratio 1:1 ratio
Slides 2 - 10 video slides per ad with 60 seconds maximum duration
Thumbnail image 1:1 aspect ratio with no more than 20% text
Format, file size, frame rate, codec Same as story and in-feed video ads

Tip: Keep the top and bottom 14% or about 250 pixels of space on your video empty of important information. This is because depending on the screen size the user is viewing the ad on, any information in that section may be covered by the call to action or profile icon. Leaving this little space ensures that viewers can see the entire ad regardless of the device they're using.

Video Format Requirements for IGTV

In June 2018, the IGTV feature went live and served as Instagram’s response to the increasing demand for long-form videos on the platform. It allows people to share longer videos without needing to split them into shorter clips.

With IGTV, you can upload videos that are up to 15 minutes long on your mobile device or up to 60 minutes long when uploading via your web browser. This makes it the perfect medium for in-depth exploration of a topic, sharing your expertise and knowledge, or creating informative and educational content.

Unlike in-feed videos, IGTV only allows you to upload videos in vertical or horizontal format. IGTV videos can either be uploaded to the standalone app or through the Instagram platform. You can also share your IGTV video on your Instagram feed to help it get noticed by more people.

Although IGTV gives you a lot more freedom when it comes to video length, it still has some limitations that you need to keep in mind when creating content for the medium. According to Instagram, you need to meet the following requirements to ensure your video gets uploaded successfully and has a pleasing look.

IGTV Video Specifications Upload Requirements
Format MP4 format only
Resolution Minimum: 720px Recommended resolution for vertical video: 1080 × 1920px Recommended resolution for horizontal video: 1920 × 1080px
Aspect ratio for vertical videos Minimum: 4:5 Maximum: 9:16
Aspect ratio for horizontal videos Minimum: 5:4 Maximum: 16:9
Frame rate Minimum: 30 FPS
File size The maximum size for videos that are 10 minutes or less is 650MB The maximum size for videos that are up to 60 minutes is 3.6GB

Tip: At the moment, it’s not possible to edit your IGTV cover photo after it’s been uploaded so make sure you get the specifications just right. Your cover photo is the first thing people will notice when they see your IGTV video so make the first impression count. You can choose a still frame from your video as the cover image or create and design one.  Use a cover photo that’s eye-catchy and keep your title graphics in the center square.

Best Format for Instagram Reels

Instagram launched Reels in July 2020 to compete with TikTok. Like the popular video-making app, Reels allow you to record fun and engaging songs set to music and use other interesting features.

The Reels feature is currently available in over 50 countries. It allows you to create clips that are 15 to 30 seconds long and share them to your page, Explore Feed, or Stories. There’s a special tab on your profile where people can find all the Reels videos you upload.

Asides from your followers, there’s a higher chance of people seeing your Reels compared to other Instagram video formats. This is because Instagram showcases popular, trending, and relevant Reels on users’ feeds as well as the Explore page.

Although the Reels algorithm is still in its infancy, it does favor certain kinds of Reels and promotes them to other users. So if you want to rake in thousands of views with your video content, make sure your Reels:

  • Use creative tools like camera effects, text, transitions, or filters.
  • Are fun and entertaining, capable of grabbing attention, delighting people, arousing laughter, or contain a fun twist or surprise.
  • Are uploaded in vertical video format.
  • Use original audio you create or find on reels and/or music from the Instagram music library.
  • Are experimental. Don’t just recycle existing content, try to come up with something new. Add your own unique flair and do what works for you.
  •  Start a trend people can easily participate in or replicate.

Also, consider using the following video format requirements for your Reels:

Reels Video Specifications Standard Requirements
Aspect ratio Recommended 9:16 Shooting and editing on your mobile device is a great way to achieve the proper dimensions for your Reels
Resolution Recommended: 1080 × 1920px
Format MP4 or MOV
File size Maximum: 4GB

Tip: Avoid posting Reels videos that are blurry because of low-resolution, contain text that covers a majority of the image, have borders around them, or don’t comply with Instagram’s community policy and guidelines.

How to Convert Videos for Instagram

As you’ve seen from the video specifications and requirements above, Instagram only supports a limited number of video formats. So if the video you intend to upload to your feed, stories, Reels, or IGTV channel is not in MP4 or MOV format, you have to convert it for Instagram.

The good news is that converting videos from one format to another is not as complicated as it sounds. All you need is Keevi - a video converter to help you change your video format easily and quickly.

Keevi is a free online video converter and editor that works directly in the browser on your tablet, Mac, or Windows. 

Here’s how to use Keevi to convert your videos for Instagram.

1. Head to and click Get Started.

2. Upload the video you want to convert into a different format.

3. Wait a few seconds for your file to finish uploading then click on Export to download your video in MP4 format, which is the video format most preferred by Instagram.

How To Change Your Instagram Video Resolution and Aspect Ratio

If your video doesn't meet Instagram's video formatting requirements in terms of aspect ratio and resolution, you might not be able to successfully post it on the platform without first making some adjustments. 

To ensure you have the right aspect ratio and best video resolution for Instagram, you can use Keevi to change the specifications of your recorded video. Simply follow these steps.

1. Visit and click Get Started to launch the video converter.

2. Add the video you want to edit to the program by dragging and dropping it into the box or browsing through your device library and selecting it.

3. Once your file uploads successfully, click on Settings from the top menu, then scroll to Select Format on the right side of the screen and tap Original to open the drop-down menu.

4. From the list of options, choose the aspect ratio that aligns with the requirements for the Instagram video format you want to use—Reels, Stories, In-feed, or IGTV.

5. To change your video resolution, scroll to Video output quality and select your preferred option.

6. When you’re done, click Export to save your video.

Ways to Improve Your Instagram Video Quality

If you want your videos to stand out and get noticed, you can't skimp on video quality. The quality of your visuals is what will grab people's attention and make them pause to view your video instead of scrolling away. 

Combining high video quality with relevant content and the best posting time is a sure-fire recipe for acquiring new customers and expanding your reach.

Here are a few tips to help you improve your Instagram video quality and stay on top of your game:

1. Use good lighting and a high-resolution camera

Invest in a premium smartphone or professional camera so that you can shoot your videos in 4K. The higher the quality of your recorded video, the better it will look when it's uploaded to Instagram. Shooting in low light can dramatically reduce the quality of your video, so choose a setting with lots of good natural light or buy some artificial lights to help you along.

2. Add filters or special effects

An easy way to improve the quality of your video before publishing it on Instragram is by adding filters to it. You can adjust the brightness, saturation, contrast, sharpness or even add special effects to make your video more pleasing to the eye.

3. Edit your videos 

Editing your videos with the optimal settings in mind can help you increase their quality. A simple cut, trim, crop, or rotation, or zoom in the right place can make all the difference to your Instagram video.

How to Upload Long Videos on Instagram

IGTV is the only long-form video format that Instagram currently offers. You can easily upload 15-minute long videos to IGTV via the IGTV or Instagram app. If you need to share even longer content, say of up to 60 minutes, you have to upload it through your web browser. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Visit, log in to your account, and go to your profile.
  2. You'll see four tabs underneath your profile bio or highlights—click on the IGTV tab.
  1. Click the blue Upload button to be directed to a page where you can upload the video you want to post.
  1. Drag and drop the file into the designated box and enter other relevant details like the cover photo, title, and description of the video.

  1. Check the Preview and Auto-generated captions options if you want to post a preview of the IGTV video to your feed or generate captions for it. Click Post to publish the video.

Tips for Creating High-Converting Instagram Videos

Knowing and using the best format for Instagram video is only half the race. To make it to the finish line in flying colors you need to make sure that the actual content of your video and the way you present grabs attention.

How do you do this? By adopting these effective tips to help your videos cut through the noise.

1. Capture viewers’ attention in the first 3 seconds

Reports show that 45% of people who watch the first 3 seconds of your video will keep watching it at least 30 seconds more. The best way to get people to watch your Instagram videos is to spark their interest from the start. Be clear on what your video is about and arouse their curiosity.

2. Be conscious of time

There's a lot of things competing for our attention these days so our attention span is quite short. Most people just won't have the patience to sit through a long video unless it's sharing a very important or relevant message. Try to keep your videos short as much as possible to give people a chance to finish them.

3. Make use of text

Most viewers watch social media videos without sound. Instagram even mutes video sound by default so including text or subtitles will ensure that everyone gets and understands your message. Text can also help to grab attention so generously sprinkle it into your video, without cluttering the screen.

4. Use an interesting thumbnail

Thumbnails do not only provide context for the video, they also help spark curiosity. People are more likely to stop scrolling and instead watching your video when the thumbnail is appealing and striking. 

5. Have a goal in mind

Before you even start shooting content, you should know what you want to achieve with the video you're making. Are you trying to raise awareness for your brand? Promote a product or event? Educate people on a subject matter? Entertain your audience? Establish a clear goal, let your message focus on that, and leave out anything that isn't an important part of it.

6. Make your content worth it

Get to know your audience and create the kind of content they'll want to see. Make sure your videos are adding some kind of value to their lives. It could be inspiration, information, or entertainment. Showcase your personality, set yourself apart somehow so they notice your content and keep coming back for more.

7. Don’t forget your call-to-action

Do you want viewers to leave comments, like or reshare your video, visit your website, buy a product, donate to a cause, or maybe sign up for your newsletter? Whatever action you want them to take after watching your video, ask them to do it at the end of your video. Your call-to-action should be clear, simple, and compelling. 

Creativity Will Bring Home The Prize

Instagram offers a variety of video formats to help you tell your story and connect audiences from all around the world. Don't limit yourself to Stories, Reels, IGTV, or In-feed videos alone. Use a combination of all of them in your content strategy to cover all the bases and maximize the benefits of the platform. 

Think outside the box. Come up with creative ideas for videos to drive success for your brand. To edit your videos and create top-notch content for Instagram and other social channels, try Keevi for free.

Hammad Akbar
Hammad Akbar
September 29, 2021