Each social media platform is different and each has its own suggested guidelines. Facebook owns Instagram, so their ad guidelines are identical, but there are still differences on each platform. YouTube and Vimeo are similar.

One of the best ways to make this cost efficient for you is to decide which social media platforms that your target audiences are using, so you can determine the best ones to invest your time and money in. It’s best to have a variety of things to post – pictures, videos, and infographics if those apply to your business. It also helps to know what the best practices are for each platform.

For example, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, approximately 85% of people watch standard videos with the sound turned off. If the videos are vertical, more people will watch with the sound on. This means that good photo composition, a clear messaging strategy, strong titles, and captions are a must.

Short descriptions of each platform and sample video sizes are below.

YouTube

                            is the second-largest search engine, second only to its parent, Google. This means that if you are working to increase your SEO (search engine optimization), you will want to host some (or all) of your videos on YouTube. 

The downside is that YouTube will play ads on your videos at its discretion, and it will give viewers suggestions on what to watch next, and those will show up on your website. Google likes to find itself, so linking videos from YouTube will enhance your SEO ranking, according to almost all, if not all, of the companies that track SEO.

YouTube offers videos in both a standard widescreen format, which is an aspect ratio of 16:9, and a standard vertical format, which is 9:16. YouTube recently added the option of uploading vertical videos.

Standard size:  16:9 format.

Facebook

                               allows business pages to show video headers rather than pictures. There is a 20 – 90 second time limit and the dimensions are narrow. Facebook recommends 820 x 456 pixels, but some videographers recommend going as narrow as 312 pixels for the width.  Great for events, products, and client testimonials. Please note that Facebook will not promote uploaded videos for free, but they will promote Facebook Live videos.

The dimensions and time requirements for Facebook Cover Videos are different from other types of videos. They’re wide and narrow. This is challenging but you can make some interesting visuals with them.

Here is a sample of one I did for an old page. YouTube added the black bars at the top and bottom to give it a 16:9 ratio.

Music for the cover video, “Funny Song,” was created by BenSound.com through a Creative Commons license. http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music

Instagram

                               gives you lots of choices on video sizes; see the differences below. These apply to both Facebook and Instagram. Studies show that people tend to listen to the sound more often on vertical videos. People prefer not to turn their phones when watching videos, even though the field is so much narrower. Videos look and sound better on Instagram if you lower the “bitrate” on your own, otherwise they’ll compress it. 

This is a square video; the aspect ratio is 1:1.

These work on both Instagram, Facebook, and Vimeo.

This is also a square video but it has a 16:9 video embedded into a square.

The title is on the top and the open captions are at the bottom.

This video is shorter and wider.

It can be used on the regular Instagram feed as a post or as an ad. 

The aspect ratio is 4:5, 1200 x 1500

This vertical video has an aspect ratio of 9:16; a flipped version of the regular 16:9.

This ratio fits phone screens perfectly. 

Vertical videos can be used on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram Stories, IGTV, or on Vimeo.

LinkedIn

                      accepts both regular and vertical videos. They will accept videos that are up to 10 minutes long, but you will want to keep these short and to the point – 30 seconds to two minutes max. 

The exceptions are if you are creating educational content or interviews, because people will watch these types of content longer.

Twitter

                 has its own specifications for videos: under 2:20 minutes long. The old fashioned aspect ratio of 2.39:1 fits perfectly in their feed.  

They also accept square videos, which are 1:1. As with Instagram, it’s best to follow their “bitrate” guidelines and compress the videos yourself to get the best quality visual and audio. 

This format is long and narrow, similar to Facebook Cover videos but a little shorter.

Vimeo

                    is very similar to YouTube, but there are differences that may be beneficial to you. With a paid membership, you have the ability to create videos on demand (VoD), either for a select audience or for paid tutorials and classes. 

Vimeo won’t play ads on your content, but users often experience lags in playing time. Deciding whether to use Vimeo or YouTube can be a hard decision to make. I use both. 

Videos on Vimeo can have playback issues, even if the file has been condensed. That’s a big problem when you’re a video based business, but a problem with any site that needs at least an explainer video on their website.

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