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Video formats and social networks – How does it work?

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With the expanding growth of rich animated visuals and video content, it is safe to say that static posts simply aren’t enough for social media marketing. Our timelines are flooded by all kinds of video content because this is the exact type of content that we crave for. But how many advertisers can truly say that they have mastered video advertising? How many of them are actually getting it right?

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, these are only some of the many social networks that have their own set of rules and guidelines that apply to video content. So, before you start exploring the rich world of videos, you need to make sure you are well aware of these requirements. 

What type of video content should I use on social networks?

The type of video content you will use in your social media marketing largely depends on the nature of your business and what kind of message you want to convey. Do you want to build your brand by making educational videos? Perhaps you want promotional videos that will sell your products? One thing is for sure, whatever your marketing goal, video content is a great tool to achieve it. Here’s what type of videos you can use in your digital marketing efforts:

Educational videos – more interactive and engaging than written materials, which is why they’re so popular across various industries. 

Animated GIFs – considered to be one of the biggest innovations in the history of internet video content. GIFs use photographs or other static illustrations and turn them into motion.

Live Streams – a powerful communications media that helps you connect with other users on a personal level. 

Informational videos – slightly different from educational videos, informational (explainer) videos are short marketing videos that you can use to explain your company’s product or service. 

Promotional videos – an effective tool to market a service or a product. Promotional videos are typically short and succinct since their purpose is to provide the most information about the presented product or service in as little time as possible. 

Behind the scenes videos – also very popular in digital marketing, behind the scenes videos are often used to show the human side of the company.

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what type of video content you can use, now it’s time to jump into the specifics, i.e. which video formats go for which social networks. We will cover the 4 major ones: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube

Facebook video formats

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Being the largest social media network out there and having a large and diverse audience, it’s no wonder that digital marketers take Facebook as the main social network to advertise on. Statistical data shows that around 100 million hours of video content are watched every day on Facebook. As for Facebook video formats, here are the desired specifications:

  • Size: 1.75GB
  • Frame Rate: 30fps or under
  • Format: MOV or MP4 
  • Dimensions: 1280px Wide (ratio divisible by 16px)
  • Length: 45 minutes maximum

Keep in mind that these are the ideal specifications for a Facebook video, but not mandatory. Facebook will also take videos that don’t meet these specifications. However, not meeting these guidelines will let Facebook convert your video into its preferred format, which will add further blurriness and compressing to your video. 

Pro tip: Add a featured video to the top of your page – this will help you highlight a product or a service, or simply introduce your brand to visitors.

Twitter

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Unlike Facebook, Twitter will refuse any media that doesn’t follow the rules. Make sure you get it right the first time around to avoid going back and forth.

  • Size: 15mb 
  • Frame rate:40fps or under
  • Format: MP4 
  • Dimensions: 1280px x 1024px (Between 1:3 & 3:1 aspect ratio)
  • Length: 140 seconds maximum

Instagram

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A network that is becoming more and more focused on videos, Instagram offers a wide range of possibilities to promote your brand through video content – stories, Instagram live and regular 60-second videos. Here’s what type of video format you should use on Instagram:

  • Size: 15mb
  • Frame rate: 30fps or under
  • Format: MP4
  • Dimensions: 1080px Wide
  • Length: 60 seconds maximum

YouTube

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Over 1 billion hours are watched on YouTube daily, and it is the second largest search engine after Google. With such a tremendous reach, it is no wonder that YouTube is one of the main tools of today’s online marketing. 

Since it’s a video sharing network, it is no wonder that YouTube offers a wide range of possibilities, and is pretty flexible with their video formatting rules:

  • Size: 128GB
  • Common frame rates include: 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, 60 frames per second (other frame rates are also acceptable)
  • Format: 3GPP, AVI, FLV, MOV, MPEG4, MPEGPS, WebM and WMV.
  • Dimensions: Ideally 3840×2160
  • Length: 12 hours

Things are a little bit different when it comes to YouTube ads, in which case you only have 15 to 20 seconds.

Some final thoughts

Producing quality video content for social media is a difficult task that requires a lot of patience and experience. In order to master video advertising on social media, stick with these 5 golden rules:

Make sure you experiment across a wide range of strategies to pinpoint what works for you and your brand.

Set a clear goal – whether it is more views, engagement, leads, conversions and stick with it.

Don’t beat around the bush – make your videos concise, entertaining and straight to the point. Social networks and your users will appreciate it. 

Graphics before audio – Remember that 85% of videos on social media are viewed without volume.

Don’t forget about calls to action – give users something to do after they have watched your video. Think about what action you want them to take after the video is done. 

Take it step by step – Keep consistency in producing different types of videos to attract different audiences and demographics. Use your videos across multiple platforms following the preferred formats, and watch how all your hard work begins to pay off.