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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 Hu-manity.co. 

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 Hu-manity.co 

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.

IGTV

  • 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.

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About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

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.

Mad Video Predictions for 2017

The future holds many unknowns. But the world of video is a different story. Gather around as we take a look into our Mad Bear Crystal Ball – which no surprise resembles our new Nokia OZO Virtual Reality camera. Take a minute or two to read Mad Bear’s predictions for the world of video in 2017.

360 Video/Virtual Reality will be THE dominant buzz technology of the Year.

3D video, mobile video and even drones have had their time in the “buzz light,” but for 2017 it will be all about 360 Video/VR.

Predictive statistics are already suggesting this will be the case. Here are just some of the resources pointing in that direction:

▪Revenues from virtual reality products (both hardware and software) are projected to increase from 90 million dollars in 2014 to 5.2 billion dollars in 2018. (Read the full Statista report here)

▪Consumer spending on VR headsets will go from 1.6 billion dollars in 2016 to 7.9 billion dollars by 2020 (CNBC)

▪Dip into CES 2017 for a sense of how dominant VR has become already in the shaping of what the word “immersive” means.(Forbes)

2.  Sorry Snapchat. Instagram It Is.

Instagram will continue to use “video stories” to take marketshare from Snapchat. The meteoric millennial monetization (yes… a three part alliteration) rise of Snapchat has come to an end, as many marketers will move away to Facebook owned Instagram (3 more “m’s”… I’m on fire). There was some writing on the wall several months ago when Instagram copied Snapchat and unveiled stories  (here is one article from AdWeek) but Instagram isn’t done yet. Look for further integration of video in their platform and look for more ways for businesses to utilize the platform to target ads (a la Facebook). There might even be some expiring video content and/or filters added. While I love your new Spectacles Snapchat. It just won’t be enough.

3.  Interactive Video Content Will Move from “Maybe” to “Must Have”

Clickable, shareable, trackable …. it is so nice marketers are ABLE to do these things without ever having to leave a video link. As viewers decreasingly jump between platforms (i.e. “If the content originates on Facebook please don’t send me to a landing page.”), interactive content become the key to keeping people engaged. Interactive in these terms can mean more social media features or even a deeper use of 360 video (see the #1 prediction above).

Here is a good overview article on interactive video from the co-founder of an interactive video company Rapt Media.

So there you have it… three predictions for 2017 … in a way all three say the same thing. Video will move deeper in the direction of consumer initiated engagement. In other words, the video creator will no longer fully control what people experience and how they experience it. Now, the creator is empowered to tell the story so that the viewer can control the experience. So give your viewer the keys, invite them into the driver seat and see where they go. If the ride is good enough, they will come back for more.


About the Author: Glenn Zimmerman

Glenn has what is best described as “Superhero Syndrome.”
His affliction began as a child and has progressed with age.
He got into extreme skiing and extreme sports before they were a thing because every superhero should try flying at least once.

While at Boston University, it was his desire to save the day that brought him to Post- Soviet Russia where he explored the emerging homeless population.

His Syndrome brought him to journalism school at Syracuse University to get his MS in Mass Communications.

He later became an award winning reporter with the number one station in Detroit (WXYZ-TV) and with NBC’s flagship station in New York (WNBC- TV). And, it was the reason he formed the video agency Mad Bear Productions.

With Mad Bear, he harnesses the power of story to help business, non-profits and events engage with their target audience. Video is his tool and he wields it mightily.

Glenn is a sought after speaker on video engagement and mass media. It is all part of his quest to help save the day, one story at a time.

 

Video Strategy Part 2 — Distribution

So you have this incredible video. You sent it out to your internal teams, encouraged everyone to share, uploaded it to YouTube and now you wait. You wait for the marketing fame to roll in. You wait some more. Unfortunately, each time you obsessively check, your view count wasn’t nearly as impressive as you’d hoped and no one is sharing it. Don’t stress!
After you’ve spent time, energy, and money to create this awesome video, it’s all about making sure your video(s) get in front of YOUR target audience (not just your mom). You need a  distribution strategy to ensure everyone sees your masterpiece. One of the first spots you’ll immediately think about to is YouTube. As the second largest search engine (behind Google — which also owns YouTube), it’s imperative for your brand to use YouTube strategically to showcase your videos far and wide.

We could write a book about the different ways to use YouTube to distribute your video, but it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. So here are three:

1) A common approach is to use the channel to gain attention and drive viewers back to your website where they can consume more content free from distraction. (As a bonus, once they’re back on your website you’ll also be able to track their behavior with video engagement data.)

2) You can also use YouTube to build an audience and then use it for its true social media power (i.e. comments, shares, etc..)

3) Get your videos monetized and start earning revenue off of those YouTube ads by enabling them on your content.

 “Just remember, YouTube loves YouTube. So if you embed a video on a landing page from YouTube. Your landing page is not getting the love, your YouTube channel is…if you want your landing page to get some Google love, consider using another video hosting/sharing platform like Vimeo or Wistia.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Your website or campaign landing pages

Nowadays buyers can go through most of the buying process before ever talking to anyone in sales. So you’ve got to include videos that are going to make a human connection and keep you memorable. The benefit is two-fold. Not only do videos embedded on your site increase the probability of a sale, but Google takes note when a click leads to longer time spent on a page. What this means is when your viewers click and watch a 90 second video, that 90 seconds makes the content on your site more recognizable, and more likely to appear in Google search results. Winning!

 

“Create your landing page with a very specific goal in mind and make sure that the content that surrounds the video is very clear and includes button of some kind to make it very easy for your viewers to embrace your call to action… and take action.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Email campaigns

No other marketing medium can communicate as quickly and effectively as video. So it makes a ton of sense to use video in your email marketing to increase brand awareness customer education and, of course, sales.

Approximately half of the marketers who use video in email campaigns experience an uptick in click-through rates, an increase in time spent reading the email, and an increase in sharing and forwarding. (Source: eMarketer)

It’s a common misconception that when you use video in email, that the video will simply play, right from inside the email. That would be a unicorn. Unfortunately, most email clients  don’t support the need to play video right inside the email. While you can drive them directly to the page on which your video is hosted, it’s better to create a landing page specifically for the video. This ensures that your audience won’t be distracted by the other content. Once you do that, take a screenshot of your video WITH the play button. Then add the screenshot to an email, and link it to the landing page with your video. Now, when your audience gets your email, they’ll see a big screenshot of your video, and when they click on it they’ll be taken directly to a page where they can immediately consume your video content.

“One simple way of adding moving video into your email campaign is to utilize an animated GIF. These can be fun and simple. They don’t have any sound but they still can say a lot and inspire action. in your viewer.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

 


Social networks

When distributing your videos, social channels are your best friend. And you have MANY best friends from which to choose.

We spoke briefly about YouTube, but there are many more options in the social world. Twitter and Facebook allow you to post videos directly to their platforms. This is always the way to go in order to maximize each platform versus linking from YouTube or another video hosting platform.

Periscope (owned by Twitter) and Facebook Live lead the charge with live video streaming platforms and are increasing in popularity for their easy ability to bring your viewers someplace live easily.

You’ll also want to consider a clever use of Instagram, which has a one minute time limit on videos. You can create teaser videos directing viewers to your longer-form content.

“Whether we are talking about the cutesy brand building found on SnapChat or the Live video meets conversation found on Blab, video is clearly at the forefront of Social Media 2.0. But in all cases marketers are seeing the largest leap in video viewership on mobile. So keep this in mind when building and distributing your content.”

– Glenn Zimmerman, President, Mad Bear Productions

Remember, always think about the intended audiences. For example, if one of your videos highlights your company’s business services, it may perform better with your LinkedIn networks versus your Facebook page.

And sharing is caring! Consider posting your video to your press releases, company blogs and maybe even contact your partners and ask if they’ll feature your video content on their blog.

We are truly just skimming the surface when it comes to this topic. So if you have a more in-depth question about video distribution just reach out to us!


About the Author: Roshni Hannon
Contact: roshni@madbearproductions.com

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.