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Our Guide To Video Formats On Social

21st October 2019 by CH

Read time: 4 mins

Can you believe approximately 100 million hours of video content is watched every day on Facebook? And a tweet with a video is 10 times more likely to be retweeted than one with just a photo?

Everyone knows the main social channels are more than a form of connection or entertainment. They’re a really important platform for advertising, sharing information and raising brand awareness.

Video is the perfect form of content to use on social and there’s a number of ways it can be used, but before you get started you should know which video formats, lengths and even file sizes work on different platforms.


As a general rule, you have about 2 to 3 seconds to engage a viewer. Crazy isn’t it? So, be on point, have an engaging beginning and meet a need of the viewer. Once they’re engaged, video content on Facebook can actually be pretty meaty. Depending on its purpose, we’d advise 15 seconds to 1-minute videos for anything promoting a brand or a service. You can also use Facebook for longer videos like case studies or event content. 

Top Tip: Save the best for first. Put your best imagery up front to capture the attention of the viewer and make them want to continue watching.

Ideal length: It’s a mixed bag. Facebook allows for videos between 1 second and 240 minutes but we recommend 15 seconds videos for ads, and around 60 seconds for normal video content for the feed. If you’re sharing videos on Facebook Watch and have an interesting topic, they can be 5 to 10 minutes long.

Ideal file size: 4GB max

Ideal format: SQUARE (1:1) or VERTICAL (9:16) which are perfect for mobile consumption. But don’t forget about subtitles for people watching with the sound off. 

Top Tip: If you’re running ad campaigns, the video’s thumbnail shouldn’t contain any more than 20% text or it could impact its reach and potential.


Instagram is a visual medium, with photo and video. What’s interesting is the variety of video options available from Instagram stories, Instagram Live, IGTV and the ability to post short videos to your feed. This allows for a creative, dynamic video presence to be created organically. 

Ideal length: 15 to 30 seconds

Ideal file size: 4GB max

Ideal format: SQUARE (1:1) is the way to go. You can also use VERTICAL (9:16) for Instagram stories or HORIZONTAL (16:9) for IGTV.


Twitter is a fast, dynamic space with plenty of video content available. This means shorter videos can really get interest, but try to avoid anything too long or laborious. The maximum amount of time for a video on Twitter is 2 minutes 20 seconds but the average Twitter user won’t commit much more than a minute to watch a video.

Ideal length: 30 to 45 seconds

Ideal file size: 512MB max

Ideal format: You have full flexibility with Twitter as you can use SQUARE (1:1), VERTICAL (9:16) or HORIZONTAL (16:9) videos. However, if your audience is mostly active on their smartphones, we recommend opting for square videos.


YouTube is the hub for video online, and loads of brands and businesses are using it to heighten their presence and reach. There are loads of opportunities with the chance to upload content of a really varying nature. This could be tutorials, how-to guides, information videos, vlogs etc. Pretty much anything you can think of. 

Read this to learn more about optimising your videos for YouTube.

Ideal length: 1 to 5 minutes

Ideal file size: 128GB max 

Ideal format: HORIZONTAL (16:9) this is particularly important for mobile. And don’t forget to ensure your videos are of a high resolution (high quality 1080 HD).


Pinterest is offering new opportunities these days for businesses to capitalise on video content. Pinterest offers promoted pins, which can include video content. This is a type of paid social advertising that appears in a user’s feed and can display your products or offering, but you can also use video organically.

Ideal length: 6 to 20 seconds

Ideal file size: Keep it below 2GB

Ideal format: VERTICAL (9:16) as most users browse Pinterest on their mobile phones.


LinkedIn is a strong option for any B2B business looking to break into the world of social media video. This is the business world’s social media epicentre. LinkedIn themselves have some guiding terms, with brand awareness videos around the 30 second mark, and longer video formats for case studies or product stories.  

Ideal length: 30 seconds for brand awareness, around 5 minutes for product videos or case studies

Ideal size: Anywhere between 75KB and 5GB

Ideal format: HORIZONTAL (16:9) or SQUARE (1:1)

Tik Tok

Launched in September 2016, Tik Tok became the world’s fastest growing app to be used amongst millennials and is definitely proving to be a very popular video platform. More recently brands have started experimenting with the promotional benefits of the Tik Tok video app and has been used for campaigns, for example the McDonald’s #BigMacTikTok music clip challenge. 

Ideal length: 15 seconds max (but you can also combine story videos together for up to 60 seconds)

Ideal size: Up to 278.6 MB (iOS) and 72 MB (Android))

Ideal format: (9:16) VERTICAL video is preferred, but (16:9) HORIZONTAL is permitted

Any questions? Get in touch with us for more help. 

Changing Horizons

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