Your guide to using square video – how does it work and which apps to use?
You may have heard of the rise in popularity of square video for social media channels. But why has it become so popular?
It’s simple really. Square video (1:1) takes up more real estate on mobile newsfeeds than traditional landscape video (16:9) does – 78% more in fact!
The more space you are occupying on your user’s screen, the more likely you are to sell more. A study by Buffer found that using square video led to 30-35% higher views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.
In this guide to square video, we go on a channel-by-channel journey through the different possibilities for social media platforms and recommend some useful apps to help you out along the way.
If we want to look at how to increase our impact on social media, Facebook seems like a sensible place to start.
Mobile consumption is continuing to grow and the various video formats that Facebook offers makes it a prime channel for businesses and brands to reach a wide audience.
Native video, carousel, collection ads, cover videos and stories all offer a range of aspect ratios: 16:9 (horizontal), 9:16 (full portrait), 2:3 (vertical), 4:5 (vertical) and square (1:1) are all possibilities for you.
So why does square video make sense for Facebook?
Well, traditional landscape videos (16:9) are usually shown at 1280px X 720px, while square video (1:1) expands to fit the height ratio to be 1280px X 1280px.
This means that square videos are taking up more newsfeed and key metrics like views, shares, impressions, etc are going to rise.
Buffer’s study into the effectiveness of square video even found that on Facebook, it cost 7.5% less to get someone to engage with each video, in comparison to landscape formats.
Recommended tool to create square video for Facebook.
Some traditional video makers might offer the ability to create square video, but in doing so they may also change the aspect ratio of the video.
As mentioned above, the aspect ratio is crucial to the success of square video on Facebook, so selecting a tool which allows creation without affecting the ratio is important.
Filmora is an application for Windows and Mac from Wondershare. It offers the ability to easily edit videos to 1:1 (and other portrait ratios) so that they suit your needs, depending on the format and channel of choice.
This is more than a simple video maker though, offering the ability to add layers, effects, animations sound and filters to each piece of content.
Crucially for Facebook, Filmora also lets users add closed captions. With around 85% of videos on the platform being watched without sound, it means that adding captions are the only effective way of communicating your message.
In fact, a study by Instapage found that adding captions to their Facebook videos increased reach by 16% and reactions were 17% higher.
Image credit: A Mom’s Take
As with Facebook, Instagram supports three different types of video: square, vertical and horizontal.
But with square video filling more real estate, the viewer is only going to be displayed your video and its Call-to-action, and not be distracted by other posts around.
Remember that study from Buffer which we mentioned above? The results from Instagram were even more impressive, with square video costing, on average, 33% less to engage with someone.
We’ll get onto Snapchat in a moment, but both of these social media platforms are phone-first – meaning that the majority of users are going to be browsing on their mobiles.
Recommended tool to create square videos for Instagram
There are several tools available which allow users to easily create square videos for Instagram. One of the simplest and most easy-to-use is ApowerEdit.
From their Video Converter Studio, users can select whether they want to create their video with 1:1, 16:9, 9:16, 3:4 and 4:3 aspect ratios. As with most tools on the market, you can also add text, filters, overlays, and transitions to your video from within the ApowerEdit interface.
Although this may not be the nicest looking interface of the tools mentioned in this guide, it is straightforward in its layout and lets you easily and painlessly export your square video to Instagram when completed.
As we saw with Facebook, adding closed captions to your videos is important when it comes to these social media platforms. Instagram and Facebook videos with closed captions added can increase viewing time by 12%, and tools like ApowerEdit let you easily add these to all your videos.
Image credit: ApowerEdit
Debating whether or not to use square video for Twitter? Here are a few stats to show the potential of optimizing video outreach for the social media channel:
- Twitter sees 800 million visitors a month
- 82% of users on Twitter actively engage with brands
- 93% of Twitter video views are from mobile
Twitter is optimized to handle video captured on mobile devices and therefore supports all 3 formats – landscape, square, and portrait.
As a marketer, it’s a given that you want your viewer to watch your video without any distractions, making sure that the viewer understands the message you want to convey.
To reduce distractions, your video should, therefore, take up the maximum real estate of the screen.
Square videos will take up more space and are thus guaranteed to be more engaging for viewers on both desktops and mobile phones.
Recommended tool to create square videos for Twitter
Rocketium is a powerful video editing tool which lets you adjust your video output for all your social media channels.
They offer the same, simple drag-and-drop functionalities of other tools as well as customer support, templates, branding, and stock media.
One aspect in which they differentiate themselves is the Rocketium Workspaces, which lets you chat and divide up tasks with your team from within the platform.
They also offer easier repurposing of videos from your different social media channels. Say you want to post a video on Twitter, and want to repurpose the same video for an article on your website.
At the same time, you also plan to run an ad for your article on Snapchat and want to use the same video as an ad.
It would be time-consuming to publish the same video in all 3 formats because you would have to fill in the content and style it from scratch every time, but Rocketium let you do all that in no time from within their platform.
Just like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter videos are automatically muted by default. Therefore, adding closed captions with tools like Rocketium is going to lead to the same positive effects to your overall reach and viewing time which we outlined above.
Image credit: Rocketium
In one year, LinkedIn video posts generated more than 300 million impressions on the platform. They also earn an average of three times the engagement of text posts.
Native videos, uploaded directly to a platform, have been shown to outperform videos shared as links on various social networks, and LinkedIn has also started letting users upload videos directly to pages and personal profiles.
They allow your marketing videos to be anything between 3 seconds to 30 minutes – but the most successful video ads are less than 15 seconds long(source).
In comparison to the dramatically high figures browsing Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via mobile, LinkedIn is slightly less – with around 60% of LinkedIn traffic coming from mobile devices (Fortune, 2017).
That being said, using square video still makes perfect sense. You are gaining the same benefits of dominating available real estate and accessing a varied audience.
Video ads created with a 1:1 aspect ratio should have a minimum resolution of 600 x 600px, and a maximum resolution of 1080 x 1080px.
Recommended tool to create square video for LinkedIn:
As we’ve already seen, there are a whole bunch of choices available when you want to create square video for social media. Perhaps one of the best, professional and optimized solutions on the marketis Animoto
They provide millions of businesses with a simple user interface in order to create high-performing, engaging output for video marketing. If you are anything like me, it helps to have a starting point when creating digital marketing video.
That’s why the pre-built storyboards and templates which Animoto offer are great for digital marketers. They also offer a large music and video library and multiple social sharing options to make the whole process easy.
Image credit: Techsmith
Check out this tutorial from Animoto, which shows just how easy it is to create effective marketing videos from one place.
You probably don’t need to be told that 186 million people are using Snapchat every day around the world (source).
As we saw with Instagram and Facebook, there are a range of options available to marketers running video ads through Snapchat.
You can select conventional snap ads, collection ads story ads, and the targeting tools let you build custom audiences which target location, demographics, interests, etc (source).
So how to build an effective marketing video for Snapchat? Bearing in mind you only have a maximum of 10 seconds for your video.
Fortunately, several of your short videos can be added to your business or brand’s story, readymade for your audience. Remember, Snapchat is made for mobile browsing so there is little point creating horizontal videos which are going to require users to turn their phone.
The recommended size is either vertical 1080px X 1920px (9:16) or square 1080px X 1080px (1:1) and as we have seen, going square and mobile generally seems to make the most sense currently (source).
Recommended tool to create square video for Snapchat
Camtasia is an all-in-one solution which, in comparison to some of the other tools mentioned in this article, does a lot more than simply creating square video for social media. The powerful screen recorder and video editing tool is produced by TechSmith.
Although it offers multiple functions and can initially seem intimidating to a first-time user, it has the same easy drag-and-drop style as Rocketium.
As well as square video creation you can add effects, audio, annotations, and transitions to all your videos. If you’re weighing up whether or not this is the tool for you, they also offer a free trial.
Pinterest may be an overlooked tool for marketers when it comes to building effective video outreach. Yet the platform offers promoted video options for marketers to reach a whole new audience on mobile devices. Don’t believe me? Check out these stats:
- More than 250 million people frequently use Pinterest for new ideas and inspiration (source).
- In fact, 83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on Pins they saw from brands (source).
If you choose to use Pinterest, your promoted videos will autoplay without sound on loop in the Pinterest feed when they are at least 50% in view. If a user then chooses to tap on your video it will lead to a larger version playing.
Unlike the other social media platforms we’ve mentioned above, Pinterest offers just two sizes for their Promoted Videos: Maximum width, and standard. If you check out the image below, you’ll see that both options display your video in a square format.
Image credit: Pinterest Business
Promoted Video at maximum width stretches across people’s entire feeds on mobile, helping your brand stand out.
Standard width videos are the same size as regular Pins and give you an efficient cost per view. It’s recommended that your size is at least 600 x 600 pixels -within the 1:1 aspect ratio (source).
Recommended tool to create square video for Pinterest:
Blurbiz offers a range of cloud-based video tools tailored to each social media platform you are using. As you can see from the screenshot below, it’s not an overly complex platform.
In comparison to some of the other tools mentioned above, Blurbiz is more simplistic – it’s up to you to decide whether this is positive or negative.
If you are simply wanting to quickly and easily convert video to square while preserving the aspect ratio, and then easily export it to your social media platforms – then this is a good choice for you.
Image Credit: Blurbiz
Switching to square video for your social media marketing efforts is not a guaranteed way of increasing your revenue. Your video format, length, content, captions all graphics all go a long way in establishing what kind of results you are going to see.
However, as the results mentioned above have shown us, an effective way of optimizing your output is undoubtedly square video. With mobile news feed space at a premium, the more real estate on a user’s screen your content occupies, the better.
When it comes to mobile-dominance of social media platforms, the landscape vs square video discussion continues to rage. For smaller brands weighing up the two options, it boils down to who your audience is and what you want to achieve.
Take the time to select an intuitive tool which offers you all the features you need for your videos
About our author: Ben Culpin is a content marketer and social media manager at WakeupData – a product feed management tool, dedicated to helping online stores and digital marketers sell more through any sales channel. Check out the WakeupData blog and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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