How to Own the Instagram Grid

From its 2010 introduction into the social ecosphere, Instagram has evolved from a small independent photo sharing startup into a social behemoth–amassing 400 million monthly active users who collectively post 80 million photos and like 3.5 billion photos per day.

With a huge audience and a platform rooted in social photography and sharing visual moments, Instagram has an established role in a consumer’s lifestyle as the to go-to visually focused social medium.

Therefore, figuring out how to optimize how your brand visually resonates with your audience on Instagram should be a top priority to ensure that you’re maximizing your brand’s social potential.

From unique styling to a consistent branded theme, there are various ways to be awesome on Instagram. One feature though, that is commonly overlooked by social managers and planners alike, is the impact and importance of the Instagram grid.

User Journey + Visual Resume

Although brands can be discovered on Instagram when users tag their friends in a post’s comment section, hashtags, or if there was money put behind a post, users would still ultimately have to go to your brand’s main profile to click that highly sought after “follow” button. In a world where people hover over profiles for only a few seconds, the way your content is laid out within your main IG grid could be the deciding factor for fans to follow or completely dismiss your brand’s profile.

9 or 12 image rule

Dependent on the size of a user’s phone, Instagram typically requires around 9 or 12 images to populate a full IG “page” on mobile. The following shows best in class examples of how different brands approached and mastered Instagram’s native grid layout to best suit their content’s needs.

Different Instagram Grid Formats

9 (or 12) Image Collage

Brand: @greygoose

Method: Grey Goose used the instagram grid to create one large image made up from 9 individual posts, like pieces to a puzzle, to call attention to one of their tentpole activations for the year.

Impact: Raises the profile and hype around key activations.

Considerations: Be careful of using this strategy too frequently within the year to avoid negative sentiment and exhausting your fan’s IG feed. Because of how each image will show up on your user’s IG feed, try to have each piece of content be engaging and/or include a disclaimer in the copy that invites the user to see your profile for the bigger picture.

3 Series Collage

Brand: @shisheido

Method: Shiseido consistently uses each row on Instagram, which consists of a series of three images, to tell a different story.

Impact: Allows brand storytelling that is snackable with a flexible content execution.

Consistent Color Tone

Brand: @thefrootilife

Method: The Froot Life, makes sure that their Instagram boards are always within the same color scheme.

Impact: Immediately portrays brand’s visual identity

All of the Above

Brand: @louisvuitton

Impact: Louis Vuitton uses a mixture of all the Instagram grid strategies listed above.

Uses: Reaps the benefits of all the strategies which helps to maximize their brand potential on Instagram.


So although some people might dismiss it as a non-factor, the Instagram grid is an important feature when it comes to fan discoverability and promoting a strong brand identity. Treat the grid as a type of visual resume and see what works best for your brand’s content and messaging. Best of luck!