Instagram Stories are a massively popular feature amongst the majority of the platform’s users.
If you aren’t using Instagram Stories for your business yet, you may be passing on a tremendous growth opportunity.
Instagram Stories are not only entertaining and innovative but also one of the finest methods to increase engagement, develop brand recognition, and even generate sales online!
This is supported by the fact that Instagram Stories has been witnessing double-digit growth in its usage since 2016, as evidenced by the dataset below:
It is unlikely that Stories’ massive relevance and popularity is going to abate anytime soon.
In our blog here, we are going to see Instagram Stories feature in-depth, as the title suggests. By the end of this comprehensive article, you will become well-versed with everything that Instagram Stories is so that you can confidently start creating and uploading your own.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories appear in a row right at the top of your daily feed and are symbolized by a colored ring encircling the creator’s profile photo. When you tap on any one of those particular profile photos, their Story will enlarge into a full-screen view for you to watch and comment or react upon.
Instagram Stories, like Snapchat Stories, allows you to post numerous videos and images captured throughout the day, replete with overlays of stickers, text, and doodles.
This presentation of pictures and videos gets automatically removed after 24 hours, thus, enabling you to share significant moments from your day without necessarily having to retain them on your official profile.
Once your previous stories disappear, you can record additional videos and images and broadcast them again to repopulate your Instagram Stories. If you want an Instagram Story to stay on your profile for more than 24 hours, you may add it as a highlight.
What Are The Technical Criteria For Uploading Instagram Stories?
Every social media platform today has its unique set of technical requirements for uploading visual content. Instagram Stories are no different.
If you are already aware of Instagram Stories and have seen a few of them, you may have undoubtedly noticed that they are all in the portrait or vertical format, with long videos being sectioned into individual Stories. Even with a personal computer, the Stories never align with the horizontal landscape format.
Here’s how you can upload stories:
Step 1: Tap the story (circular icon with the + sign) button on the top-left corner of the Instagram screen.
Step 2: Click on the white button to take a picture or hold it for recording a video. You can also upload pictures and videos from your smartphone’s gallery.
Step 3: After clicking your image or video, you can add captions, emojis, and text by selecting from the editing options on the top-right of your story screen. You also have the option of free-hand drawing in different colors.
Step 4: Once your piece is ready, click on ‘Send To’ and select whether you want to share it with your close friends or with everyone. Your story is out and running for the next 24 hours!
However, some technical criteria are specific to Instagram Stories, which we shall discuss now in detail.
Uploading criteria for Instagram Stories
All pictures, graphics, and videos look best on Stories when they adhere to the following technical recommendations:
- Image ratio: 9:16 for photos or 4:5 (vertical only)
- Minimum image size: 600 x 1067 pixels
- Maximum image size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
- File type: JPG or PNG for graphics/photos and MP4 or MOV for videos
- Maximum file size: 4GB for videos, 30MB for photos
Now, being the master of your will, you may upload pictures, graphics, and videos that do not fit within the appropriate size ranges. But the Stories editor will most likely crop your image or zoom in to wherever it wants on your video, resulting in a poor quality upload and a message incomprehensible to your viewers.
How long are Instagram Stories?
As of now, you can record or upload your stories only within a 15-second timeframe since that’s the maximum permissible time limit designated for an Instagram Story. If you are recording with the app itself, the camera will automatically terminate the recording after 15 seconds, and lengthier native videos will get uploaded only for the first fifteen seconds.
Thus, if you’re attempting to explain or narrate something through your story, then the strict time limit might make your task daunting.
How to View Instagram Stories?
As mentioned above, you may view a story by tapping on your profile of interest within the Stories row present right above the daily feed.
Publicly shared stories can also show up in the Search & Explore tabs. Furthermore, if somebody has added a location, hashtag, or location-dependent sticker on their story, it may display on hashtag or location pages as well.
New stories (tailored according to your presence on the platform) are displayed first, as shown in the picture below. By scrolling left, you can view all of the stories published in the previous 24 hours by nearly all the accounts you follow.
You do not need to follow an account on Instagram in order to see their story, as long as their account is not private. When you tap on somebody’s profile image, their story will appear in the full-screen view as usual. For instance, in the set of images below, any visitor can see the account’s story without having to follow them.
When that account’s story runs out, the stories tab automatically closes, and you are taken back to their main profile page.
This begs the question, how long do Instagram stories last?
Unless you add your story as a highlight, all images and videos you upload to your story disappear from your profile, your Feed, and Direct after precisely 24 hours. Do bear in mind that you may also download videos and images from your story and share them on your Feed.
How To Skip Instagram Stories?
With more and more Instagram Stories actively running or joining the queue all the time, there will be those you wouldn’t want to watch. You’re lucky since it’s simple to skip between individual stories or an entire story sequence belonging to an account.
All you have to do is tap the right side of the screen just once to move on to another Story within an account’s entire Story sequence. You will automatically go to the next Story in line, belonging either to the same account or the one next to it.
As soon as you are done watching all the Stories and would like to return to the Home Feed, you can either tap the ‘X’ button present in the upper right corner of the screen or swipe down (in case you are viewing Stories through your phone).
If you want to skip a person’s entire row of Stories while using your personal computer to access the stories tab, simply click on another account’s Story preview present on the screen.
Alternatively, if you are viewing Stories through your phone, you can swipe left to proceed to the next account’s Stories or swipe right to go to the previous one.
How to Pause an Instagram Story?
Instagram Stories go by quickly, especially when certain people add too much text or talk fast, making it difficult to take in all the information before the Story ends. But don’t worry! You’re in luck because there’s a way by which you can pause a Story so that you can view it at leisure.
To pause a Story when viewing through your phone, simply press and hold your finger anywhere on the screen, and the story will remain frozen until you release your finger. Alternatively, if you are using a personal computer, you can click on the pause/play button present just beneath the username, right next to the “Sound” icon.
How to React to an Instagram Story?
Stories can receive limited types of reactions as compared to typical posts on an Instagram feed. For instance, you cannot “like” a story; you can either reply to it with text, images, and videos or react with emojis.
Another type of interaction unique to stories is a “poll” where you can tap on either of the two options presented to a question to register your answer as per your opinions/preferences (akin to “voting”). The picture above features a poll incorporated by the account holder.
For now, we will give you a rundown of how you can send a direct message in response to a story:
Step 1: At the bottom of the screen, tap or click on the Send Message icon.
A keyboard and Quick Reactions panel (displaying frequently used emojis) will emerge.
Step 2: Now, for your response, you can either use one of the pre-arranged emojis from the Quick Reactions panel above the keyboard or type out your message.
Step 3: When you are done composing your message, hit the Send button to deliver it.
You can also reply to a story with an image or video taken on the spot, but only if you are viewing it with your smartphone.
Follow the steps given below to submit a photo or video message in response to a story:
Step 1: In the lower-left corner of the screen, tap on the Camera symbol. The photo/video screen displays are replete with the ability to add text, GIFs, emojis, and other effects.p>
Step 2: Tap the white circle to snap a photo. Touch and continuously hold the white circle for up to at least 15 seconds to record a video.
Step 3: Once you’ve taken your video/photo, you can add any GIFs, effects, or text to make your message more fun.
Step 4: The bottom-most slider gives you the option of “View Once” (that is, your message’s recipient can see your image/video message but not reply) or “Allow Reply”(your recipient can normally reply to your image/video message)
Step 5: Finally, tap on the profile picture (that of your recipient) above the Send button to deliver your message.
What’s the Way Ahead for Instagram Stories?
Seeing the incredible influx of novel features and upgrades for Stories that Instagram has already launched, it won’t be surprising to see the social media giant churn out many more in the coming years.
For starters, you can anticipate the introduction of interesting augmented reality camera effects and some more face filters. Music elements in Stories are also becoming more widespread, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see additional music app collaborations anytime soon—after all, Spotify is onboard already.
In today’s social media ecosystem, you cannot afford to overlook Instagram Stories. It’s best to maintain consistency with stories by incorporating an Instagram scheduling tool into your marketing arsenal.
SocialPilot is one tool that enables you to schedule your Instagram Stories for multiple Instagram accounts ahead of time. Not only Stories, but SocialPilot is also a one dashboard solution to schedule Reels, Insta posts, and posts of other social networks.
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