Best Video Formats for Each Social Media Channel

Not every social media platform has the same media upload requirements. Different platforms deliver media in different forms. The format of your video will need to be edited to fit the dimensions of the screen your audience will be viewing it from.

Whether you’re producing a video yourself, or getting a film production company, the following are the best video upload formats for the major social media platforms, and tips on how to get the most out of your media for each platform.

Best Video Format for Facebook

Optimizing your videos for Facebook can be tricky. The reason being that Facebook content is delivered in so many different ways to its users.

When you purchase a video ad on Facebook today, it will be shown in over four different ways utilizing the same content that you input on the ad creator. It is beneficial to be familiar with the wide variety of Facebook video so you know which format to deliver to your audience.

For the regular Facebook feed: The recommended size is 1280 x 720 pixels, minimum width is 600 pixels, and supported aspect ratios are as follows: 16:9 (horizontal), 9:16 (full portrait), 2:3 (vertical), square (1:1)

Facebook recommends that you upload videos in .MP4 and .MOV format with H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128 kbps +. Videos can be up to 240 minutes long, up to 4GB large, and have a maximum frame rate of 30fps.

For the Facebook 360 video: the maximum size is 4096 by 2048 pixels, 2:1 aspect ratio. The minimum size is 600 pixels wide. Facebook recommends that you upload the video in .MP4 format, maximum file size 1.75GB, maximum length of 40 minutes, and maximum frame rate 60fps.

For in-stream video ads, Facebook recommends the “highest resolution source video available without letter or pillar boxing.” The recommended upload size is 1280 by 720 pixels. Minimum size, landscape video should be 600 by 315 pixels (1.9:1 aspect ratio). Minimum size, a square video should be 600 by 600 pixels (1:1 aspect ratio). Recommended specs for uploading are in .MP4 or .MOV format, maximum file size 4GB, maximum length 120 min, maximum frame rate 30fps.

When it comes to Facebook messenger video ads, they should 1280 x 720 pixels with supporter aspect ratios of 16:9 to 1.91:1. Again Facebook recommends uploading “highest resolution source video available without letter or pillar boxing.”

Best Video Format for Instagram

In terms of Instagram videos, there are three kinds that are supported. They are square, vertical, and horizontal.

If you aren’t sure which is the best way to upload, its always a safe bet on Instagram to go with the square format. Square is better for viewing on both desktop and mobile. They take up more room in user’s feeds than horizontal videos, without crowding the screen as vertical videos do. 

The Instagram in-video feed recommendations are the same as Facebook. Upload the highest resolution video possible that fits file size and ratio limits, H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128 kbps+.

For carousel video ads, The recommended size is 1080 by 1080 pixels. The minimum size is 600 by 600 pixels. The recommended specs are .MP4 or .MOV format, maximum length of 60 seconds, maximum frame rate 30fps.

Instagram video ads in stories appear between user stories for up to fifteen seconds, or until dismissed. These videos take up the whole screen. Since stories are tailored to the device they are being viewed on, the dimensions are hard to predict. Check out everything you need to know about video

Best Video Format for YouTube

For YouTube, the format is pretty straightforward. Also, YouTube prefers users to upload videos that are “as close to the original, high-quality source format as possible.” Videos should be uploaded in their native aspect ratios, and should never include letterboxing or pillarboxing bars, since YouTube “automatically frames videos to ensure that they are displayed correctly, without cropping or stretching, regardless of the size of the video or player.”

The recommended sizes are 426 by 240 pixels (240p), 640 by 360 pixels (360p), 854 by 480 pixels (480p), 1280 by 720 pixels (720p), 1920 by 1080 pixels (1080p), 2560 by 1440 pixels (1440p) and 3840 by 2160 pixels (2160p). The minimum size is 426 by 240 pixels. The maximum size is 3840 by 2160 pixels. The supported aspect ratios are 16:9 and 4:3

The recommended specs are .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, or WebM, maximum file size 128GB at a maximum 12 hours long.

For YouTube video ads, all skippable video ads are a maximum length of 12 hours, skippable after 5 seconds. All unskippable video ads are at a max length of 15, 20 or 30 seconds (depending on region). The mid-roll video ads are at a minimum length of 30 seconds

Bumper video ads are the maximum length of 6 seconds.

Best Video Format for Twitter

Since the majority of Twitter traffic is on mobile, the social media platform is optimized for video captures on mobile.

For horizontal videos, the recommended size is 1280 by 1024 pixels. The minimum size is 32 by 32 pixels. The maximum size is 1920 by 1200 pixels. Supported aspect ratios are between 1:2.39 and 2.39:1. The recommended size at 256K bitrate is 320 by 180 pixels. The recommended size at 768K bitrate is 640 by 360 pixels. The recommended size at 2048K bitrate is 1280 by 720 pixels. The recommended specs are .MP4 for the web, .MOV format for mobile, maximum length 140 seconds, maximum file size 512MB, maximum frame rate 40fps, must use progressive scan, must have 1:1-pixel ratio, audio should be mono or stereo, not 5.1 or greater.

For vertical videos, the recommended size is 1200 by 1900 pixels. The minimum size is 32 by 32 pixels. The recommended size at 256K bitrate is 240 by 240 pixels. The recommended size at 768K bitrate is 480 by 480 pixels. The recommended size at 2048K bitrate is 640 by 640 pixels. Recommended specs are the same as the horizontal videos.

Social media platforms can be fickle in their requirements for media circulation. However, the investment in time and resources is worth the return. The future is digital and the future is now. You want to get your business in front of the people that matter. Taking the time to perfect your media and the platforms they are featured on will be worth your while for a long time to come.

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