Square Video Keeps your Post from Getting Lost

Getting the most out of your social media marketing budget can feel like you signed up to run a sprint, but it somehow turned into a marathon. Just as you reach what looks like the end, there’s a change. It’s the same with video tactics on social platforms. Just when you thought you’d finalized your video strategy, the square video format moved the finish line.


Your audience is making a steady move away from desktop onto mobile. Figuring out what performs best on mobile helps you cater to your audience. Earlier this year, Facebook updated its creative guidelines to recommend brands change the aspect ratio of video ads to get more bang for their buck. Aspect ratio? That’s the shape of your video. Traditionally, videos were shot and produced at 16:9 to best fit TV screens. Square video has a 1:1 ratio designed to take up 78 percent more real estate on your mobile screen. Here’s how:  


Does taking up more of your audience’s screen take up more of their attention? Agencies have been busy testing that theory. Ad Week reported that digital agency Laundry Service ran testing for clients and found that:

“People are 67 percent more likely to watch the full length of a square-oriented video than they are to watch a horizontal one.”

Buffer, the company behind the app that helps you manage content on social, also asked that question with testing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Buffer team spent $1.5k pitting square video vs. landscape, running more than 80 video A/B tests. On each network, square video outperformed landscape in video views, engagement, and completion rate:

“In some cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.”


Creating video that maximizes a 1:1 ratio takes some advanced planning. Traditional landscape videos shown on mobile are typically 1280px X 720px (wider than they are tall). Square video expands to fit the height ratio and become 1280px X 1280px. If you’re not shooting video in the square format, make sure you’re adding room on the sides of your shot to crop. When you post it, you’ll have something like this:


You can also turn a 16:9 landscape video into a square by adding a Letterbox. That means putting color bars to match your branding on the top and bottom. To maximize your viewer’s attention, you can add messaging in text on those color bars or custom captions. This allows you to take a video that was originally shot to be viewed in landscape ratio, and still maximize the real estate of the social platform. And since so many people watch video without the audio on social, you can still get your message across:

Ready to experiment with square video? We can help create versions for your own A/B testing to see if the 1:1 format can boost your audience engagement too.

Click here to schedule a free 30 minute call with us to get started. 

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