Social Media

The 3×3 Video Grid: The HOLY GRAIL of Instagram marketing!

baileysgridThis is it! This is what you’ve been waiting for! The holy grail of Instagram grids! The ultimate marketing tool for campaign or product launches! I present to you the 3×3 VIDEO GRID. It’s very rare, and for good reason: it’s complicated to pull off. But fear not. I’ll walk you through it in this step-by-step, easy to follow guide.

I’ve done this a number of times and it’s always turned out great. Most notably, I’ve used a 3×3 video grid to promote a new episode of our web series, MUTANT ON A MISSION. The actual content of each video in the grid was an interesting clip or moment from the episode, with a call-to-action at the end that directed people to watch the full length piece on Youtube.

Quick disclaimer: before you move ahead, you or somebody on your team will need the following:

  • A large image that will serve as your grid image
  • 9 different videos (or short clips of some sort that will serve as your video content)
  • Basic Photoshop skills
  • Basic video editing skills
  • A desire to do innovative stuff on Instagram
  • A bank account for the instant raise your boss will give you after you pull off such a cool product launch

There are three parts to the process, and I’ll break them down one at a time.


You’ll need a big image, a still from your videos won’t work, it will be too small, even when stretched. Once you have your image picked out, head on over to Photoshop. I’ve picked a random product shot for demonstration purposes. Now let’s get to work.

  1. Set up a new image with dimensions of 5700 pixels x 5700 pixels. (It can be smaller than this, just as long as it’s a square. I like to use 5700 though because the best resolution you can get on Instagram is 1900×1900. Multiply that by 3, as the grid is 3×3, and you get 5700×5700.)
  2. Now you’ll set up some guides. Go to VIEW, and select NEW GUIDE. Set both horizontal and vertical guides at 1900 pixels and 3800 pixels. See the screenshot below on what the guides should look like.grid-image-in-photoshop2
  3. Next you’ll select and copy each square of the grid into a new, separate 1900×1900 image.
  4. See the numbers in each corner of each square of the grid? Those are shown for your reference. Obviously don’t add them in your actual images. I’m pointing them out though because naming each grid image is REALLY important. More on that later, but for now just save each of your squares as something like GridSquare#1.jpg, GridSquare#2.jpg, etc. Use the exact same numbering order I used, (bottom right is #1, bottom middle is #2, bottom left is #3, etc.)
  5. Got all the squares saved and ready to go? Great. Print out a screenshot of the full-sized grid and use a sharpie to write the numbers in the corners of each block. This will be your cheat-sheet for when it’s time to post.
  6. You’re 33% of the way done. Time to move on!
One of my cheat sheets. Make one of these. Seriously. You’ll need it when posting.


I’m assuming because you are reading this you’re an awesome marketer, and so you probably have a lot of video content to support whatever product or campaign you are launching. Good. This is the part where you’ll put that together.

  1. Hop on over to your NLE of choice. I use Adobe Premiere Pro but whatever you use will work.
  2. Set up 9 different timelines, all of them with 1900×1900 dimensions. Number them with a similar format to the images you created in Photoshop. (Grid Clip#1, Grid Clip#2, Grid Clip#3, etc.)
  3. Now you’re going to drop your grid images into each corresponding timeline. Shorten the duration of the images to 10 frames. That’s short enough that the viewer won’t really see it, but long enough that Instagram will be able to pick it up for a cover frame.

    The still image at the beginning of the timeline is 10 frames long.
  4. Add your video content to each timeline (after the still image, of course). Since its Instagram it needs to be less than a minute long. Bonus points if you include some sort of call-to-action or promo code at the end of each video.
  5. Export your 9 timelines. Again, make sure you use the same numbering format!
  6. You’re ready for action. Time to get FIRED UP.


This is it, your big moment. Take a deep breath and don’t let the nerves get to you. It’s the same feeling an astronaut gets before blast-off, or a prizefighter gets before stepping into the ring. But you are a marketer, so THIS IS YOUR SUPER BOWL.

Make sure you have all of your exported videos transferred and saved onto your phone. Also, make sure whatever copy you are including with each video is saved on your phone as well. I use Evernote for that kind of thing, but anywhere you can save blocks of text will work. You’ll just need to switch back and forth between your apps to copy + paste.

  1. Ready to go?! Let’s do this. In Instagram, once you’ve navigated to your phone’s photos and videos and selected your 1st video in the grid, you’ll see the page where you have the option to add a filter. Select COVER in the bottom right of the screen. Make sure the Cover Image is the still image you tacked to the beginning of the video.ig-select-cover
  2. Click NEXT and you’ll see the text box for any copy and hashtags you’d like to add. Paste whatever mindblowing copy you’ve written and get ready to move quick… Hit SHARE and you’re off to the races!
  3. Repeat steps 1+2 for each video in the grid. On most phones you won’t see file names for the videos, so it’s really handy to have that cheat sheet to make sure you post them in the right order. Otherwise it gets super-confusing.

You’ll want to try and get your grid up as fast as possible. You do not want a lot of time between each post. If you spread it out it will just be annoying random posts in somebody’s timeline. If you post everything quickly hopefully they’ll understand what’s happening and head over to your Instagram page to check out your killer video grid.

There you have it! If you’ve done this right and followed my instructions by now your colleagues, friends, and family are in awe of your Instagram skills and showering you with compliments. You’ve made a kickass 3×3 video grid, the rarest Instagram grid of them all. Good work!

I would LOVE to see your results, so please feel free to send them over to me at

Notes: It doesn’t last forever… only until the next time you post. After that it will become jumbled. What can I say- grids are a fickle beast. I’d let it sit for at least a full day if possible though.
Pair it with a contest or giveaway to get an added bump.

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