In the world of social media, a video format isn’t one-size-fits-all. Marketers often faced this production setback where they have to create two different formats, i.e., 16:9 and 1:1. YouTube is the platform that follows 16:9 formats for its videos. Whereas Facebook and Instagram use 1:1 formats for their mobile display. Although Facebook supports 16:9 video formats, but they recommend square video formats for video on mobile.
What about Landscape and Portrait Formats?
Portrait (Vertical video format) is the most common video format where a user records/capture a moment by holding the mobile phone vertically on the go. This format is widely used for social media platforms like Snapchat, Vine, Meerkat, and periscope. Also, last year YouTube updated their format for smartphone into a vertical format. This will give the ability to play vertical videos in full screen, rather than constraining them to an awkward letterbox designed for landscape clips.
Landscape (Horizontal video format) is another “professional” video format that’s used for watching movies and music videos. This format is widely used on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook as desktop video formats. Facebook offers both landscape and square formats for their mobile interface, but still, they insist on choosing square videos in their guidelines guide book.
In 2015, Instagram announced that they are accepting both Landscape and Portrait Formats for their mobile interface. Check out the image below to get an idea.
Square Videos are ruling Facebook and Instagram
According to Facebook, square video doubles the engagement rate of an advertisement than a regular 16:9 ad. Whereas Facebook’s Instagram has been known to use square formats for both picture and videos.
Although landscape format is universally accepted in any motion picture or T.V series, it not always a great fit for mobile devices. Facebook generates a heavy chunk of its traffic from smartphones and no one likes to click FULL SCREEN button while surfing on Facebook wall. Thus, Square video allows users to watch the video without switching back to full-screen mode. Plus, creating a video in Square formats allows the advertiser to upload their content on both Facebook and Instagram simultaneously.
But, there are three factors that make Square Videos effective on a larger scale of audience. These are,
Brands like Buzzfeed, Tasty, Tastemade among many others use this format for their videos. According to Buzzfeedx, 75% of top Buzzfeed videos were in square video format (1:1).
Facebook lets you add captions to your videos by embedding them or uploading your file. According to Facebook, about 85% of users like to browse Facebook video on MUTE. No sound is the new sound on Facebook and in autoplay mode; this feature can really improve viewership on any video. But, in order to spark an interest, add captions. Because viewers are going to skip the advertisement as most of the feed-based mobile video ads play loudly.
Creators like UNILAD, Bright Side, and especially NowThis are breaking the barrier of long videos by creating 1 min videos which users can understand without even unmuting it. This kind of videos generates high viewership as Facebook takes first 3 seconds as a viewership when compared to YouTube – which is 15 seconds.
15-second advertisements are also adapted in television adverts as 60 and 120-second spots were reduced; as it failed to generate effective viewers’ attention.
Square Video Examples –
Being an artist, movie buff and a media enthusiast, content writing is my career train. I am a proud alumni of Symbiosis Institute of Media Communication (Pune) and currently working for Vidooly.