Guide to Instagram Ad Spec for 2018

Brent Barnhart

August 10, 2018

Brent Barnhart

August 10, 2018

To say that Instagram’s ads are booming for marketers right now would be the ultimate understatement.

From laser-targeting to fresh features such as shoppale post and ads via Stories, there’s a reason why more and more brands are hopping on the bandwagon.

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Know what the best part about Instagram advertising is, though?

Creative freedom.

1 Qantas Ad Example

Source: Instagram

Whether you’re a solo influencer and part of a team with a big-time budget, creating an eye-popping ad is possible regardless of your goals or creatives.

And while there is a lot that goes into choosing the right type of ad and making it pop, sometimes it’s the most basic aspects of your ads that are the most make-or-break.

For starters, are you totally up-to-date on today’s Instagram ad spec requires and sizing options?

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Because as the platform continues to evolve, so does Instagram's list of specs and requirements for running an ad.

 

A Quick Guide to Instagram Ad Spec Requirements

Listen: if you don’t want your ads to look like hot garbage, you need to make sure you’re in line with Instagram’s ad specs and sizing requirements.

Don’t worry, though: Instagram’s pretty explicit in terms of what they want when it come to cooking up an ad that kills it.

Below we’ve broken down the various Instagram ad sizes, specific requirements and how to fine-tune your ads so they look like a million bucks. As long as you stick to this up-to-date list of best practices, you’ll be golden!

 

Photo Ads

2 Single Image Ad

Square Image: 1080 x 1080 pixels / 1:1 aspect ratio

Landscape Image: 1200 x 628 pixels /  1.9:1 aspect ratio

Vertical Image: 600 x 750 pixels / 4:5 aspect ratio

File Type(s): jpg or png

Maximum File Size: 30MB

Resolution: Highest possible resolution that keeps within the necessary aspect ratio

Caption and Character Limits: Two rows / 2220 characters

Photo ads are fairly straightforward as you only need to worry about sizing up a single image.

That said, you do need to pay to your image’s resolution and aspect ratio based on whether or not it’s a landscape, square or vertical photo. Thankfully, there is no “right” Instagram advertising size for photo ads: it all depends on what creatives you have on deck.

 

Carousel Ads

3 Instagram Carousel

Maximum # of Cards Per Carousel: 10

Minimum # of Cards Per Carousel: 2

Carousel Ratio: 1:1

File Type(s): jpg or png

Maximum File Size (Image): 30MB

Maximum File Size (Video): 4GB

Video Length: Up to 60 seconds

Image Size: 500 pixels (minimum recommended width)

Resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels (minimum recommend)

Caption and Character Limits: Two rows / 2220 characters

Note(s): Images containing more than 20% text could experience reduced delivery

Representing a take on one of Facebook’s  most popular ad formats, Instagram’s Carousel ads are interactive and allow you to show off multiple images at once.

 

Video Ads

4 Video Ads

Video Width: 500 pixels (minimum)

Video Ratio: 4:5 (minimum) / 1.91:1 (maximum)

File Type(s): Most major file types supported (avi, mov, mp4 and more)

File Size: 4GB (maximum)

Video Length: Up to 60 seconds; minimum of one second

Caption and Character Limits: Two rows /  2220 characters

Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 1%

Resolution: Highest possible resolution without letter or pillar boxing (black bars)

Notes: Video thumbs containing more than 20% text could experience reduced delivery, recommended H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan and audio compression at 128kps+.

Autoplaying videos are ideal for grabbing people’s attention, making them the perfect fit for marketers. Not unlike photos, brands can choose between landscape, square and vertical sizing in addition to full-portrait video.

You might need to do a bit of fine-tuning to ensure that your videos meet Instagram’s ad spec requirements for compression, resolution and aspect ratio.

 

Stories Ads

5 Stories Gymshark

Image Size: 1080 x 1920 pixels (recommended) / 500 pixels (minimum)

Aspect Ratio: 9:16

File Type(s): jpg or png

Maximum File Size: 30MB

Notes: Stories are visible for 5 seconds or until user swipes. Recommended to leave 250 pixels at the top of bottom of image for text overlays and calls-to-action.

Highlighting one of the platform’s biggest pushes for businesses, Instagram Stories ads are all the rage right now. Stories’ full-screen format means paying special attention to your imagery and text placement alike.

 

Stories Carousel Ads

6 Stories Carousel

Maximum # of Cards Per Carousel: 3

Minimum # of Cards Per Carousel: 2

Resolution: 1080 x 1980 pixels (recommend)

Aspect Ratio: 9:16

Notes: Images containing more than 20% text could experience reduced delivery, Recommended to leave 250 pixels at the top of bottom of image for text overlays and calls-to-action. You can combine images and videos in at Stories Carousel.

These ads combine the considerations of Carousel ads (multiple images) with the Stories format (full-screen images), representing the best of both worlds for creative marketers.

 

Stories Video Ads

7 Meller Stories Video

Video Ratios: 16:9 / 4:5 / 9:16

File Type(s): Most major file types supported (avi, mov, mp4 and more)

File Size: 4GB (maximum)

Video Length: Up to 15 seconds; one second minimum

Video Sound: Optional

Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 1%

Resolution: Highest possible resolution without letter or pillar boxing (black bars)

Notes: Video thumbs containing more than 20% text could experience reduced delivery. Recommended H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan and audio compression at 128kps+. Recommended to leave 250 pixels at the top of bottom of image for text overlays and calls-to-action

These full-screen, bite-sized videos require some special considerations for ensuring that your CTA is can’t-miss.

 

Slideshow Ads

8Instagram Slideshow

Maximum # of Slides: 10

Image Ratio: 16:9 / 1:1 / 2:3 (must be consistent across all images)

Image Size: 1280 x 720 pixels (recommended)

File Type(s): jpg, png, mov or mp4

Notes: Recommended to only use high quality images for Slideshow ads. If images are different sizes, they will be cropped to a 1:1 ratio.

Interactive much like Carousels, Slideshow ads are perfect for showing off products. If you have product photos already that are similar sizes and resolutions, chances are you can make one-size-fits-all changes to make them fit this format with ease.

 

Dynamic Ads

9 Dynamic Ad

Dynamic ads represent yet another scroll-friendly ad format that are pulled from your business’ product photos.

Minimum # of Cards: 2

Maximum # of Cards: 30 (mobile)

File Type(s): .jpg and png

Image Size: 500 x 500 pixels (recommended for single image and carousel) / 1200 x 628 (Collection)

Image Ratio: 1:1 (single image and Carousel) / 1.91:1 (Collection)

Notes: Overlays and offers available for Dynamic ads.

 

Ready to Cook Up Your Next Instagram Ad?

As a closing note, you always have the option of creating your own ad mockup to double-check that you’re in line with today’s Instagram ad spec requirements. Even so, having all of these requirements squared away ahead of time will make the process of crafting your ad much, much easier.

10 Instagram Ad Mockup

Remember: size matters. As Instagram continues to evolve, keeping an eye on ad specs is a must-do for marketers looking to stay in line with the platforms best practices. By sticking to this up-to-date guide, you can do exactly that without missing a beat.

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