Best Practice for Social Media videos

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A recent study by Buffer and Animoto revealed that video producers get more engagement with square videos than landscape videos on social media.

This was a bit of a surprise for me. I can’t understand why people just don’t rotate their phone 90 degrees to have a landscape video fill the screen. Maybe I’m just old school ☺..

For those who don’t rotate their devices square videos take up more real estate so they are easier to watch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In come cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement. These stats make it clear that square video content is an effective way to connect with your audience.

The study shows some other interesting insights into the type of videos that get the most engagement.

Mobile content consumption is going through the roof

A recent study by VentureBeat found that over 92% of Facebook users access the platform via their mobile phone.

It’s not a surprise that more videos are watched on mobile devices than anything else and this is just increasing. Creating content that is best consumed on a desktop is just naïve these days.

Your content must be mobile suitable first and foremost.

The best mobile friendly videos can be watched without audio. This means having captions or graphic text on the screen and a strong visual narrative.

Talking Head v Text only

It’s not uncommon to see a text based video delivering useful information. You don’t need the audio so it’s easy to watch in any situation.

It turns out that Text only videos outperform a talking head video on Facebook and Twiter, however a friendly face chatting to you marginally performs better on Instagram.

Talking head videos still work so it’s worth experimenting with different options at different times to see how engagement goes.

Opening Image (cover image)

As you may know a powerful thumbnail can draw in an audience. In this research they compared a thumbnail with an Image & Text, a text only thumbnail and a Video & Text thumbnail.

The best results were from the Image & Text combination followed closely by the Video & Text combination. The text only concept saw a significant drop off with engagement.

Duration – is shorter better or not?

It turns out that more engagement occurs as the video duration increases. Of course this requires you to have a video that maintains the attention of the viewer. So don’t feel pressured to keep your videos super short. If you have good quality information to share then the audience will stay to watch.

This works best when your content is helpful and useful for the viewer. So rather than pushing a sale, think how can you build credibility and rapport with some interesting content.

So based on the findings outlined above the best video for viewer engagement would be:

  • Square aspect ratio (1280 x 1280)
  • Rich in text (maybe no talking head at all)
  • Includes captions so it can be watched without audio
  • An opening image that includes text and a visual (image or video)
  • And if engaging, it can be over 60 seconds in duration


  • 30 Types of video you can make to build your business
  • 30 Ways to maximise your video return on investment
  • 30 Ways to share your videos

If you are looking for some creative solutions to get your clients to take the critical next step, give us a call on

About Geoff Anderson

About Geoff Anderson

Geoff Anderson is the owner of Sonic Sight and has been producing videos for 30 years. He is an author, presenter as well as a video producer.

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