Eleanor Hanwell
Eleanor Hanwell on 29 April 2021

5 Reasons why it’s hip to be square (when it comes to video ratio)

When it comes to optimising your video content, ratio matters. It’s important to make sure that part of your content strategy includes where you are going to be sharing your content and this in turn is influenced by who you are targeting. After all, you need to know who you are speaking to with your content to know where it is going to perform best. 

But once you know who is going to be consuming your content and where you will be posting it, you also need to think about the best ratio for the best results. Landscape, portrait, square or a mixture? 

Here are 5 reasons why you might need to consider making square versions of your content:


1 – More prime real estate

Traditional landscape videos (16:9) are often shown at 1280px X 720px, while square video (1:1) expands to fit the height ratio to be 1280px X 1280px. This means that on many social media platforms square videos are taking up more of the prime real estate. 

In fact, a case study by Buffer found that on Facebook square videos outperformed landscape videos in both Likes and engagement.


2 - Best for mobile

According to Smart Insights, 99% of social media users access via mobile at some point, which is pretty staggering! Square videos feel more native on mobile phones and don’t involve needing to switch your devices orientation.

On many social media mobile apps at (1:1) square videos take up 78% more space in a mobile newsfeed than landscape (16:9), meaning they are seen more often. 


3 – Improved engagement

Let’s skip back to that study by Buffer, which found that using square video led to 30-35% higher views and an 80-100% increase in engagement. That’s massive! 

What the study found is that the video format, regardless of the content, seemed to play a huge role in how many people watch a video, how long they watch it for, and how willing they are to engage with it. So, it is crucial to think about ratio as part of your video content strategy. 


4 – Reduced advertising costs

If you want to reduce your advertising costs and know your target audience are using mobile across social media, then it makes sense to make the switch to square video.

It costs 7.5% less to get someone to engage with square video on Facebook and a staggering 33% less to get someone to engage with square video on Instagram.

5 – Not always the answer

Bet you weren’t expecting that! From the above you might be thinking, everyone is mainly using mobile therefore I should just switch to creating square videos permanently. But it’s really key that you think about everywhere you are going to be using a video to make the right decision about how to approach your content.

For example, you can use square videos on YouTube, but if you are creating a video specifically for this platform then square might not be the way to go. Equally Instagram loves square videos, but if you want videos to advertise via stories then portrait might be the best ratio for you.

If you are creating a video for multiple locations, then it might be best to create a landscape video and then use a letterbox approach to add black bars top and bottom and eye-catching text for those platforms where square might be best.

The Takeaway

Ultimately where you are sharing your video and who to, should underpin any decisions you make when it comes to your ratios and optimisation. Always refer back to your content strategy to make sure you are making the best decisions. 

Need to get started on a content strategy for video? We can help you! Download our guide below.

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