Redback Solutions

In the digital age, social media video content is more vital to business success than ever!

There’s no better way to catch the eye – and hold the attention – of your online audience than where they love to be most. 

So you’ve created an awesome video ad for your business and crafted an expert social media marketing strategy to share it with your target market. But these accomplishments only go so far if you don’t abide by the nitty gritty technical specs on each platform – do you really want to showcase your shiny new product with a poorly-pixelated, oddly-cropped video? 

It’s easy to forget the importance of the file behind all that winning creative content. With all sorts of formatting requirements, character limits and recommended resolutions, you’ll need to consider everything from sound to sizing. Do it right and you’ll enjoy a big boost in user engagement! Maybe that’s why 99% of brands using video marketing intend to keep at it. 

But how long can a social media video be? What are the Facebook video ad specs? And what’s the best video format for YouTube?

To help you out, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to video ad specs on the most popular social media platforms in 2020. Just click the links below to find the specific information you’re after:

Why Are Social Media Video Specs Important?

The short answer is that you won’t be able to upload your video file if it fails to meet the platform’s standard requirements. But there’s more to it than this. 

There’s a fundamental link between your advertising goals, type of video content and social media creative specs. Depending on their technical requirements, some platforms and channels are better suited to your video marketing objectives than others.

For instance, if you want to encourage lead generation by showing a demo of your product with a long video, then it’s probably best to use a Facebook Feed (rather than Stories) ad placement. In other words, certain specs influence strategy. Let’s break this down below:

Goal: Boost brand awareness

You want to spread your brand’s mission with a short (under 30 seconds) and engaging video ad that makes your audience want to discover more. Consider using a YouTube bumper video ad, which lasts only six seconds but can’t be skipped!

Goal: Increase brand consideration

You want to feature a case study, customer testimonial or success story through a longer (30-60 seconds) video that covers detailed information. This content would not be a suitable Facebook Stories video ad, which limits duration to 15 seconds.

Goal: Generate demand

You want to persuade potential customers to take action and convert with a long (+1 minute) yet compelling video that encourages leads. This content would work well as part of a Facebook Instant Experiences video ad, which can be up to two minutes long.

Social media video on Facebook

Facebook Video Specs

If you want to reach as many eyeballs as possible, Facebook is a smart place to start. WordStream estimates that 45% of online users view over an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos each week!

The golden rule of Facebook video ads? Design and upload your video for mobile above all else. That means using a video under 15 seconds long, with square or vertical aspect ratios and enabled captions so that it makes sense even without sound.

For top results, follow the below Facebook video ad specs:

Facebook Feed Video Ads

A Facebook Feed Video is displayed on a user’s newsfeed in either a landscape or square format. You can also set this video type to present in the right hand column – while this ad placement will be much smaller, video dimensions remain the same.

Specs

  • Recommended resolution: highest-resolution possible given file size and ratio limits
  • Supports majority of file types
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Supported duration: 1 second – 241 minutes
  • Recommended aspect ratio: 9:16 – 16:9
  • Character limit for headline: 25 characters
  • Character limit for link description: 30 characters
  • Character limit for text: 125 characters

Facebook 360°

With this highly engaging video type, audiences can enjoy an immersive, panoramic experience by scrolling with their desktop cursor and touching or tilting their mobile screen. They will be able to identify the interactive video ad on their newsfeed with its distinct 360° icon.

While 360° videos are yet to be shareable through Facebook’s ad formats, you can upload one to your business profile’s timeline and then ‘boost’ the post to audiences beyond your followers. This one is for brands looking to stand out from competitors and make a seriously memorable impact!

Specs

  • Recommended format: .MP4 or .MOV
  • Recommended frame rate: 30fps
  • Supported duration: 1 second – 241 minutes
  • Supported file size: 1MB – 26GM
  • Recommended aspect ratio: 100×400 – 400×100
  • Min dimensions: 120 x 120p

Facebook Stories Video Ads

With over 300 million users viewing Facebook stories every day, it’s high time your business created a video ad for this channel! These short, full-screen visuals are visible for only 24 hours, running between user stories for a smooth, native experience.

Specs

  • Recommended format: .MP4 and .MOV.
  • Recommended aspect ratio: 1.91 – 9:16
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Min dimensions: 500 x 500p
  • Max duration: 15 seconds

Pro tip: to make sure all of your video elements are displayed as desired, try to avoid using text or logos in the 14% (250p) at the top and bottom of your video. Otherwise, these features will be covered by your profile icon.

Facebook Instant Experiences Video Ads

Facebook Instant Experiences is a user interface crafted to direct traffic straight to your product landing page. In a single, mobile-optimised ad, audiences can view videos, swipe across carousels and discover tagged product images. This full-screen experience is attention-grabbing digital advertising at it’s finest!

You can include as many videos as desired, which will automatically play on a loop with sound off when a user scrolls past. As with images, you can set your video to fill the viewer’s screen.

Specs

  • Min resolution: 720p
  • Recommended formats: .MP4 and .MOV.
  • Supported aspect ratio: 9:16 to 16:9
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Max combined duration: 2 minutes
  • Captions: not recommended

Facebook In-Stream Video Ads

A Facebook in-stream video ad is shown within a video, playing before, during or after its primary content. With this placement, you can present a five to 16-second ad to users watching videos uploaded by publishers and digital creators who design their content for specific audiences.

In-stream video ads can also run in Facebook Live streams by approved gaming, sports and entertainment partners.

This type of Facebook video ad gives you the chance to boost view durations and therefore share longer, more detailed marketing messages. Indeed, over 70% of in-stream video ads on Facebook are watched in full!

Specs

  • Recommended resolution: highest-resolution possible given file size and ratio limits
  • Supported aspect ratios: 16:9 to 9:16
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Duration: 5-16 seconds
  • Video captions: optional
  • Video sound: highly recommended

Facebook Video Feed Ads

Facebook video feed ads are found after a user clicks on a video in their newsfeed. This video will open up in a player with a feed of related videos underneath it. A video feed ad placement allows you to share your brand’s video within this secondary feed, appearing between user videos.

Specs

  • Recommended resolution: highest-resolution possible given file size and ratio limits
  • Recommended aspect ratio: 16:9 – 9:16
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Duration: 1 second – 240 minutes
Social media video on Instagram

Instagram Video Specs

Launching its first advertising capabilities in 2015, Instagram is now used by nearly 71% of businesses to reach and engage their primary audiences. With over 5 million users viewing branded Instagram videos each year, running video ads on this increasingly popular, mobile-first platform is a no-brainer.

In-Feed Videos

Instagram’s in-feed video ads appear just as the name suggests: right in your feed between posts from accounts that you’re following. The platform allows these ads in three formats: landscape, square and vertical. Just make sure to upload the highest-resolution video possible while avoiding letter and pillar boxing.

Specs

  • Recommended formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Min resolution: 600 x 315 (landscape), 600 x 600 (square), 600 x 750 (vertical)
  • Max file size: 30MB
  • Max frames: 30fps
  • Max duration: 2 minutes
  • Min width: 500px
  • Supported aspect ratios: 400×500 – 191×100
  • Recommended caption length: 125 characters

Instagram Stories

You can now place your video ad between those of other Instagram users. These vertical,  full-screen videos allow your audience to watch up to 120 seconds, even accessing additional information with the ‘swipe up’ feature. As viewers can also swipe instantly to exit your ad, it’s best to create real, organic, here-and-now content that blends seamlessly with user stories.

As with Facebook Stories ads, leave approximately 14% of text- and logo- free space at the top and bottom of your video ad, or it could be covered by your profile icon.

Specs

  • Recommended formats: .MP4 and .MOV
  • Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920
  • Max file size: 30MB
  • Aspect ratios: 9:16 and 4:5
  • Supported duration: 1s – 120s
  • Video captions: Optional
  • Video sound: Optional

Instagram TV

Like Stories, Instagram TV videos are full-screen. Unlike Stories, TV posts don’t disappear after 24 hours and don’t limit your video duration to two minutes! Rather, this video type allows you to share long form content that will stay right where it is until you remove it.

Although paid ads are yet to be rolled out on Instagram TV, your brand can still upload branded content that promotes your product, service or campaign in an organic and engaging way.

Specs

  • Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1920p
  • Min resolution: 720p
  • Recommended file format: .MP4
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16 (recommended) or 16:9
  • Supported duration: 1-10 minutes (some larger, verified accounts can upload up to a one-hour video on desktop)
  • Max file size for videos under 10 minutes: 650MB
  • Max file size for videos up to 60 minutes: 3.6GB
Social media video on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Video Specs

Generating up to 277% more leads than Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is as powerful an advertising platform as it is a networking platform. Home to heaps of successful professionals, studies report that LinkedIn members possess double the buying power than your standard Facebook user. Not to mention that LinkedIn’s smart algorithms will share your ads fast and far!

LinkedIn native videos are created on or directly uploaded to the platform, with a maximum duration of 10 minutes. Unlike an embedded video from a third-party site, your native video will play automatically in-feed, making it easier to grab user attention. But it will still only be shown to your business connections.

Sponsored Content Video Ads

Sponsored Content video ads are more likely to drive brand awareness, consideration and lead generation as they can be shared to a wider, more targeted audience. Unlike in-stream ads, this social media video is shown as its own independent post in a user’s newsfeed.

Specs

  • File size: 75KB – 200MB
  • File format: MP4
  • Duration: 3 seconds – 30 minutes
  • Frame rate: below 30fps
  • Recommended aspect ratios: 16:9 (landscape), 1:1 (square), 9:16 (vertical)
  • Dimensions:
    • Landscape
      • Min: 640 x 360p
      • Max: 1920 x 1080p
    • Square
      • Min: 360 x 360p
      • Max: 1920 x 1920p
    • Vertical
      • Min: 360 x 640p
      • Max: 1080 x 1920p
  • Name of ad: Max. 255 characters
  • Intro text: Max. 600 characters
  • Video headline: Max. 200 characters (or 70 to prevent truncation)
  • Audio format: AAC or MPEG4
  • Audio size max: 64KHz
  • Video thumbnail:
    • File format: PNG or JPG
    • Max file size: 2MB
    • Aspect ratio and resolution should match those of the video itself
Social media video on YouTube

YouTube Video Ad Specs

With one third of Internet users watching YouTube videos each day, it’s an awesome platform to share video content for your brand. And it’s only becoming an even more popular destination for all things video as the years go on.

But it’s super important to follow YouTube’s video ad specs. Hosting every type of video from short, snappy promos to entire films, viewers can stream content on all kinds of devices with various degrees of zoom and overscan.

While standard YouTube videos are fairly easy to navigate, you’ll need to wrap your head around a couple of video ad formats if you’re keen to advertise on this platform. And you definitely should be, given that brands who run video ads on YouTube tend to see a 20% boost in traffic as a result!

Once a user clicks on a YouTube video longer than 30 seconds, your ad can appear before (pre-roll), in the middle (mid-roll) or after (post-roll) it plays. But there are also some other features to consider when designing your YouTube video ad. Let’s take a look:

Skippable Video Ad

With Google TrueView, your in-stream ad runs before or during a YouTube video. Five seconds into this ad, the user is given the opportunity to skip it. But don’t turn away just yet!

These ads create a win-win situation: users who don’t skip get to learn more about an offering they’re interested in, while your business gets valuable views from the right audience. Think quality over quantity. And as you decide what to pay for each view, it all comes at a fair price.

Non-Skippable Video Ad

This type of YouTube ad plays either before, after or during a video, and users cannot skip it. That said, you’ll only be charged for the number of clicks (rather than video views) that this ad generates. That can make it a very cost-effective option if your campaign is centred around online conversions!

Bumper Video Ad

This short, non-skippable YouTube ad is optimised for mobile views and designed to boost brand reach and awareness. With six seconds being just enough time to leave a lasting impression, Google has reported that 90% of bumper campaigns lead to a significant increase in ad recall.

Whichever one you choose, all YouTube video ads run through the YouTube video player and therefore follow the same specs as standard, non-ad videos (except for recommended durations!). Take a look below:

Specs

  • Recommended aspect ratios: 16:9 and 4:3
  • Max file size: 128GB
  • Min dimension: 426 x 240 (240p)
  • Max dimension: 3840 x 2160 (2160p)
  • Supported video formats: .MOV, .MPEG4, MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, WebM, DNxHR, ProRes, CineForm, HEVC (h265)
  • Duration for skippable video: 12 seconds – 6 minutes (viewer can skip after 5 seconds)
  • Max duration for non-skippable video: 15 seconds
  • Max duration for bumper video: 6 seconds

Time To Upload Your Video Ad!

And there you have our one-stop-shop guide to video ad specs on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Hopefully, you should be well equipped to upload your video ad by now. That said, sometimes it’s easier to have an expert get the job done for you!

Redback can help you to create, upload and monitor video ads for social media or even manage your social media marketing as a whole! Call us today to chat about your needs.

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