Size Matters

Size matters.
Now that we have your attention. Let’s clarify. We are talking about video. More specifically, the best video shapes and sizes for different platforms.
Let’s start out with the basics. The three most common sizes are: Widescreen (16:9), Square (1:1), and Vertical (9:16). Yes. Vertical. Vertical Video is no longer the black sheep. Indeed there was a time when shooting vertical video was frowned upon. But as viewing patterns have shifted, so have the recommendations. Most people consume video on their smartphones. And how do most of us hold our phones? Yep. Vertically. So, don’t fear it!
Now, it’s important to note that most social platforms today will allow you to upload these three common video sizes, however, that does not mean that all of these work best on that specific platform. In this list, we’ll share what seems to be the standard for each platform, as well as what we recommend so that you’ll be able to get the most exposure with your video. We’ve provided examples from recent work we produced for our client 

1. Facebook

Video Posts

  • Standard: Widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Recommended: Square (1:1 aspect ratio)

You’re likely going to see the widescreen size the most on Facebook simply because it is the most common for shooting video. It is also going to look the best in full-screen on your desktop. But how often do we really watch a Facebook videos full-screen on desktop?

While widescreen may be the standard, it ends taking up a very small amount of real estate in the narrow Facebook Newsfeed. Similarly, if you’re browsing Facebook on your phone, it is not even going to take up half of the screen.

By contrast, the vertical format looks great on the Facebook mobile app, allowing for an almost full-screen experience when watching on your phone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look the best on desktop. Facebook adds bars to the left and right of the vertical video and crops it down to a square when showing it on desktop.

For these reasons, we recommend meeting in the middle and going with the square size. Square videos on Facebook look great on both desktop and mobile. They take up a lot of real estate in your friends’ Newsfeed, and brings more attention to your video.


This is a recent Facebook video our Team produced for 

2. Twitter

  • Standard: Widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Recommended: Square (1:1 aspect ratio)

Twitter’s video post sizes are very similar to that of Facebook. The only difference being that previews in the Twitter Feed of vertical video are cropped down to a square, even on mobile. Again, while you’ll see a lot of users uploading widescreen, the square format will get you more attention by covering more space.

3. Instagram

Instagram has slowly transitioned into being 3 content platforms in one, all of which support video. Let’s look at the recommended video size for all three.

Instagram Feed

  • Standard: Square  (1:1 aspect ratio)
  • Recommended: Square (1:1 aspect ratio)

Your normal Instagram posts, which show up on your profile grid and in your follower’s Insta-feed, have long been standardized as the square due to Instagram’s ability to edit and crop your content within the app. Video content has been no different.

Since Instagram has always been mobile-first experience, uploading widescreen videos is not going to make for the most enjoyable viewing experience. Unlike on YouTube, Facebook you can’t even rotate your phone to watch videos in fullscreen on Instagram.

Vertical videos look great in the Instagram feed, and we’d be very inclined to recommend you utilize this size on the regular… except for one thing. You have to remember your profile grid – vertical videos are always going to be cropped into a square within your grid and may not end up looking how you want.

This is why we ultimately have to recommend sticking with the classic 1:1 square video on Instagram.

Instagram Stories

  • Recommended: Vertical (9:16 aspect ratio)

In this vertical experience, you may as well use up the full screen by recording and uploading truly vertical video.


  • Recommended: Vertical  (9:16 aspect ratio)

IGTV launched in 2018 as the vertical video platform. Though Instagram has since allowed you to upload non-vertical videos also, we still recommend the 9:16 vertical format since the platform was built with mobile users in mind.

4. YouTube

  • Standard: Widescreen  (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Recommended: Widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • *Also Recommended: Vertical (9:16 aspect ratio)

While you can upload just about any video size on YouTube, your video will always appear in a widescreen 16:9 video player on desktop. And videos that don’t match this aspect ratio will have black bars on the top and bottom, left and right. Research shows YouTube users are much more likely to click that “expand to full-screen” button on desktop. And for that reason, we generally recommend that you keep to this standard.

With that all being said, YouTube has recently allowed for vertical videos to appear in a vertical experience on mobile. There is some cropping that goes on in the initial preview, but ultimately it looks pretty good. The reason we also recommend uploading vertical-sized videos on YouTube is because, more and more, users are watching directly on their phones. YouTube Creators who suspect that most of their content is watched on a mobile device may want to consider making this transition to provide their viewers with a more enjoyable watching experience. But otherwise, the widescreen video size does just fine for the time being.

We hope this has been helpful. We know it’s a lot to digest. Reach out to us if you have any questions about your size… errr… you know what we mean.


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

The Power of the Preview

They can be the source of angst, excitement, irritation or joy. In no more than two minutes, previews have the ability to make us feel an array of emotions. Video marketers  can learn a lot from a preview.

We are going to use the “Game of Thrones” as an example because our Team at Mad Bear is a big fan. The season trailers are fantastic. Sometimes – as is often the case with movie trailers- the preview is sometimes much better than the show/movie itself.  What do you mean we have to wait a year???

There is big money invested in network television and movies. Much of the success of series or a film, hinges on the handful of 1 to 2- minute movie trailers that promote them. Whenever an industry pours millions into making brief video snapshots as entertaining and persuasive as possible, we’re interested, and we think you should be too.

With that said, here are 3 things we can all learn from previews and trailers.

Make them Feel Something! Maybe its excitement, longing, sadness, desire, camaraderie – what ever it is that drives your point home — make it happen in your video. Figure out how to break down your brand narrative into a mini-story. Are you saving the world by saving customers’ time or money? Are you skyrocketing end-users to career-stardom because of how good they’ll look after buying from you? Or do you want them to feel a thrill so great that they’ll have to go and experience it for themselves? (like in the video below) Our Behind the Scenes Virtual Reality shoot gives viewers just enough of a taste of what they could go and experience for themselves to encourage them to try this new technology. Regardless if they’ve never tried VR before or if they are comfortable in a 360 world, they will be inclined to explore.

Hook ’em! Good trailers don’t open with a whimper—they start with a growl. Suspense-filled music, fog, a curious piece of dialog to spark curiosity. Do the same with your marketing videos, and do it fast. Because unlike a movie theater, marketing videos do NOT have a captive audience. If  your goal is to increase membership to an organization, think about your audience and the type of pace that appeals to them. For the the video below, our Team created a quick sizzle reel for the American Marketing Association of Tampa Bay. So we went with fast-paced and energizing.

Create Anticipation! The goal is to have viewers take action after they watch your video. A trailer hasn’t done its job if you don’t want to actually see the movie afterward. Your marketing video should similarly leave out the best part while hinting at the grand finale. Our goal in the video below was to remind families to sign up for camp and if your daughter has never been to a Girl Scout camp… the video implies “she is missing out”. You could even take it a step further and instead of waiting for your viewer to hopefully buy from you later on, capitalize with a CTA or lead form within the video itself. Any viewer who has made it that far is clearly qualified and interested and it’s time to move them forward in the epic drama of their customer journey!

Marketing lessons are everywhere. Video trailers are all about giving the audience a brief introduction to the ‘product.’ They rely on being short, relevant and engaging. And they combine voice, movement, sound and design to create an audio-visual experience which, if executed correctly, leave the viewer absolutely needing to find out more. Sounds familiar, huh?


About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

Michael Phelps: The Most Underrated American Athlete of All Time…

Mad Bear co-founder Julian Williams is in Rio for the Olympics. This is his 4th Summer Games. Read on as he reflects on Michael Phelps: The most underrated American athlete of all time.

A friend replied to me regarding Phelps with the argument that he has more opportunities to win medals; and while he does not really care for him, he does respect his accomplishments. That got me thinking…

Most people (no one else!) are physically unable to qualify for 6 (or in the case of Beijing 8) races in one games. Phelps does not just qualify, he wins!

Imagine if Usain Bolt ran the 100, 200, 400, 800, 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles, and two relays in the same games. Ridiculous. Anyone has the opportunity, but physically being able to go through that watery-meat grinder is a different story. Remember, for every final you watch, there was a qualifying heat to get there.

Phelps has done it over the course of 20 years! A swimmer staying elite, not just elite in terms of making it through trials for 20 years (if you make the US Olympic swim team you are an elite swimmer), but being essentially the overall best swimmer in the world for 18 of those 20 is simply absurd. It is just not done.

Every Olympics he has had rivals that challenge him, even beaten him, but four years later, they are gone, Phelps is still there and has been since 2000.

To put it in perspective, Ian Thorpe is an Aussie legend (5 Olympic golds and 8 Olympic medals total). Thorpe first beat Phelps in Sydney, when Phelps was 15, and he was 17; by the time Beijing rolled around Thorpe had been essentially retired for a couple years, and Phelps was winning eight golds. EIGHT GOLDS!  Two of them in the most physically demanding disciplines: the 100 and 200 fly; and the individual IM! Then, he comes back four years later and wins four more golds in London!

Yet, only someone who has been a competitive swimmer or follows swimming can even begin to wrap their head around what he has done, and continues to do.  To respect Phelp’s accomplishments is to disrespect his body of work; you should be in awe of him as you would a force of nature. For that reason, he is the greatest individual athlete in modern history at his particular sport; the only other person who comes close is Jack Nicklaus in golf and Tiger was getting close before he imploded. He is what Tiger might have been.

No one is getting close to Phelps. Phelps is a more dominant swimmer than Ali was a boxer. More dominant in his sport than Sergei Bubka. Serena. Roger. You name it. However, because of the place swimming holds as a sport in our country and culture, he is also the most underrated individual athlete in the history of our country, not in the swimming world, but in terms of the general public, the average sports fan, and the sporting press.

Keep this in mind tonight when you watch Phelps. Force your children to watch with you, for you nor they will never see the likes of him again.

Even if he doesn’t win, even if he is beaten by the younger men who idolized him growing up, men who will climb on the blocks tonight because he inspired them to take up the sport, and in the case of LeClos and Kasuke, he is the reason they chose to swim butterfly in the first place.

Know that merely respecting him is disrespectful. He is Einstein. DaVinci. Hawking. Picasso . El Capitan. Merckx. Bannister. In terms of swimming he is as big as Everest and meaner than the Matterhorn . He is all that even if he loses tonight. More from Rio coming soon…

About the Author

Julian Williams

As Director of Photography and co-founder of Mad Bear Productions, all things visual pass before Julian’s creative and experienced eyes. He has been capturing the story as it happens from behind the lens for more than fifteen years.

Julian’s ability to find the extraordinary in the seemingly mundane is his gift. As both a cameraman and editor, Julian understands the importance of shooting the right material the first time. With a developed love for telling stories and a deep appreciation for being allowed inside the worlds of thousands of people, Julian loves shooting every kind of story.

From Shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, natural disasters, historic elections, Super Bowls, The Olympics, a World Cup to a royal wedding across the pond; Julian brings his global experience and understanding for the latest technologies and trends to Mad Bear’s clientele.

Brands We Love

In life we pursue the things we love. It’s no different in business. From time-to-time you’ll see Mad Bear‘s social feeds feature the “brands we love” hashtag because there are so many brands our team loves. There is a natural excitement and emotion that pours out when you get to tell stories about a brand that you are passionate about. Thanks to today’s technology there are so many ways to give those brands a shout out.

It’s a marketing strategy that comes very naturally. We like to use it because it gives us a chance to organically pursue companies we are already passionate about. When it’s done the right way “Brands We Love” allows you to take a grassroots marketing concept, increase your business and the business of a brand that you already love! It doesn’t get much better than that. The concept isn’t new and it can be applied to virtually any model. But, just like dating, there are unspoken rules. Max Hart from Verbal+Visual, a company that’s experienced success with this concept, filled us in on on some of those perimeters.

Passion: “This is 100% love. When you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t feel like work. From sports to tech to nonprofits we go after what we love. We sit down as a team and make the pitch and all decide together whether it’s a viable lead. It’s a collaborative effort. It helps to be selective, but most of the time we support each other’s ideas. But we all have to get behind the mission.

Patience: “You have to be willing and ready to put in the time. We start with a hand-written love letter. Then we wait. If too much time goes by we might reach out on LinkedIn, sometimes we will write a blog post about how much we love the brand, and love the mission. But somewhere in there is a mention of how we could help them. Our goal is to get them as a client and to have them recognize that there’s value beyond all the praise. The process could take four, five maybe even six months.

Professionalism: “There are no expectations when you are pursuing a brand you love. You provide praise and value with the hopes of opening the door. We take the time to truly familiarize ourselves with the brand and to connect with them. We don’t stalk them. If we don’t hear back after a few months we might make a face-to-face visit if the company is local. But it’s always with the idea that we are providing value and we want a relationship.”

We mean it, please share a comment. Who knows, we might love the same brands or better yet maybe we already love your brand.

A Delayed Reaction

Mad Bear Perspective:

If you shine a light on anything in the right way, it has the potential to be powerful. So the challenge is to find the right story and the best way to tell it. This can apply to anything from business to every day life.

There is one place on earth where you can go to literally experience every emotion. My last visit to the airport was no exception. It was wintertime in Atlanta. Need I say more? The arrival and departure boards were full of bright red “delayed” and “cancelled” notifications. People walked up in droves and gazed at the signs as though staring would somehow switch it to “on-time.” Like deflated balloons travelers would then make their way over to their perspective gates to make arrangements (and to complain to the gate agent). I was delayed an hour. It was my daughter’s birthday. I was mad. Mind you she’s four she’s not going to know the difference. But dang it, this delay is messing with my day. I mean her day!

Others in the gate area were growing increasingly agitated as the delay went up another hour. Connections would be missed and plans would be ruined. I looked around at all the glum faces, and then I saw them. Dad in a military uniform, a very pregnant mom and her three other kids who all looked to be under the age of six, they didn’t look angry at all. One of the little boys sat on his dad’s lap, while another one stood behind him and kept bopping him on the head. Dad didn’t seem to care. He had an extra two hours. There was another child in a stroller who kept throwing stuff and then screaming for it. Dad would lean over—with the other kid still in his lap and the other one bopping him on the head—and keep passing it back to the stroller-bound baby. He didn’t seem to care. He had an extra two hours.

I caught a look between very-pregnant mom and military dad. It was a look I knew well, that look that says “I know. I hate it when the kids do that, but isn’t it cute!!” I didn’t need a book or a gossip mag. I was watching real life unfold, a real moment. All of a sudden a loud voice over the intercom informs the angry herd that our plane is here and we will start boarding momentarily. I felt a pit in my stomach. While throngs of people stood up to wait in line sneaking peeks at other people’s boarding passes to make sure they weren’t skipping zones, I waited. I felt like a peeping Tom, but I couldn’t stop watching my Military family. Dad still playing and keeping a smiling face, mom picked the baby up out of the stroller to hug him. There were tears. I thought I was going to lose it. My annoying two hour delay was another family’s gift. Time, they wanted to freeze. Finally dad picked up his bag and moved to the line. I felt like I should say “thank you for your service.” But this wasn’t about me or the dozens of other travelers and their destroyed plans this was about a family’s precious moment. Take pause in moments you dread, they are not always what they seem.

About the Author: Roshni Hannon

Her name means “light” and that is what she is… high energy, bright and fast. And yes… she does run regularly. While we’re not sure what she is running from (perhaps her two young kids) we know she’s covered a ton of ground. She was the Executive Producer for an award winning and number one rated morning show in Tampa for years. And now, she uses her unique blend of organization, storytelling and curiosity to help Mad Bear clients find their stories. Think of her as an architect, a story architect.

How Do You Get a Video to Go Viral?

By Jerry Allocca

That’s a question I get asked all the time and unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter answer. Every video is different and every audience is unique. Just because you create it, does not mean they will click or share with their friends. But there are some general guidelines you can follow.

We recently optimized a video that focused on today’s CONNECTED CULTURE. The video showed how the use of digital media impacts our everyday lives.

It covered stuff like:

• How much time do people spend on Facebook each day?
• Are there really 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds?
• Did you know that 500 years worth of video are shared on Facebook every 24 hours?

See for yourself:

Although the target audience for the video was marketing directors and CMO’s, it appeals to anyone who has an interest in the digital world and how it is growing.

So how did we do?

As of 8/13/2012 over 94,951 people have seen the “Today’s CONNECTED CULTURE” video.

• 1,896 Facebook Likes
• 1,611 LinkedIn
• 495 Stumbleupon views
• 570 Diggs
• 837 Pinterest Re-Pins
• 279 Delicious
• 128 Google+1’s

And it increases every day!

Now here’s the best part. All of this activity resulted in:

• 6312 new followers on twitter
• 2894 new fans on our facebook page
• 618 new email subscribers
• 439 new CONNECTED CULTURE book/audiobook/ebook sales

So, how did we do it?

Here were the critical elements…

• Having already built a niche following of people who consume and share digital info including marketing directors and CMO’s
• Creating compelling content that people would want to share and that is not a commercial
• Killer headline: “You thought you knew what was happening online. Think again.”
• Make it as easy as possible to share the video in your favorite way (social site)
• Continuing to spread the word in relevant social networking and blogging communities with a digital focus
• Added a link to my email signature
• SEO press release creation and distribution
• Article creation and syndication
• Blog posts and syndication
• Social bookmarking
• Link building
• Directory submissions
• Mentioned in media interviews
• And I asked my mom to like it ????

I hope this was helpful as you plan out your video strategy.

Please feel free to click here to share this video or learn more about it…

About the Author:

As President of CORE Interactive for over a decade, Jerry Allocca leads an award-winning team of Internet specialists. A search engine recognized Internet marketing authority, Jerry’s passion is to help people connect online.

Jerry is a frequent industry speaker on such topics as websites, interactive marketing and social media. He has taken his many years of internet marketing experience and has used that knowledge to write CONNECTED CULTURE. This will be the first book to make a proven difference in how you connect online.

Chess and Insurance Preview

A quick preview of a current project in development from Mad Bear Productions.

Client: First Fidelity Brokerage