The Backstory to Why I use Square Videos
About a year or so ago, I was trying to watch a video on Facebook with my phone, which is my preferred way to scroll my feed. I felt frustrated because the video I wanted to watch was so small. I had to keep flipping my phone to the side to see more of it. But I caught myself instead finding myself drawn to some square videos that filled up more of my phone space without me having to flip it. Didn’t really make the connection at the time as to why.
Do you catch yourself doing the same? Keep reading….
But then later on, I wanted to entice people on my Instagram and Facebook to get a taste of my FB Podcast. I figured out right away I’d need to make it square to be on Instagram and no longer than a minute, but then I started wondering if the square would work on Facebook as well. That is when I remembered which videos I’m drawn to.
I looked at the shapes of them, and low and behold, sure enough, they were square. Other names you may read about them include “squared-shaped videos”, “square crop”, “box format”.They are different from the landscape rectangular shaped videos we make by default and are typically 1280px x 1280px instead.
No don’t get me wrong, these square videos I’m drawn to are not long videos. They are short. Little 10-second to 1-minute length videos, but they are quick and fun so I can get back to my scrolling while at the same time, if I want more, I can go to the page to find more.
And research supports that I’m not alone.
The Square Video Facts
Lots of factors affect the success of our video content, including video format, length, content and more, but it shape makes a huge difference too!
According to research from Lyketil and Bufferap, Square videos are are proven in research to get more likes, comments, and shares on social media.
Why may you ask?
“Square video (1:1) takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video (16:9)” According to Animoto. Now that will grab people’s attention! No wonder they pulled me in!
Now you might be thinking…this really only applies for phone users, so shouldn’t we appeal to desktop users as well?
Nope. Keep reading.
Zephoria recently found that as of 2016, over 1.15 billion people actively use Facebook on the daily. That is a 22% increase year over year. Compared to how many overall users use Facebook, this means that 92% of Facebook users access it via mobile. So if your brand wants to thrive on FB, you MUST appeal to the phone user without hurting their desktop user engagement.
Lyketel did further research and learned that even desktop users didn’t mind the square videos, with no increase, but no decrease in engagment when encountering square videos.
So the verdict is in: You need to expeiment with square videos and see what works for you. In the mean time, here are some stats and some takeaways to help you through your trial and error process.
Key Takeaways for Making Square Videos
- If you want more views and engagement, experiment with your format today. You can learn more about what I use here . According to Bufferap, Square videos get up to “35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement”
- Switch to square videos for your ads or boosted posts to save you some money and still increase your views. Bufferap also found that it “ costs 7.5% less to get someone to engage with square video on Facebook and 33% less to engage with square video on Instagram.” I know it has saved me costs with mine as well, my shorter ones at least.
- Make shorter, meme-like square videos, not long ones. Research showed and my experience as well that completion rates are higher with rectangular, so square works better with shorter, more meme-like videos or snippets and previews of your longer, rectangular content. People often view them while scrolling.
- Use captions, visuals, and visual text. Buffer ap found that 85% of videos are viewed on FB without sound so to keep people engaged, use more text on the square video, including captions, headlines, and visually appealing text that highlights the points. And don’t forget your branding imagery in case they stay for a few seconds and return to scrolling.
- Have fun with them and ask people to share. Square videos are shared much more than rectangular. In my case, I get twice as many shares with my square videos as I do with my rectangular. The key is to make them fun and relevant to more people. Focus on one or two key takeaways.
Recently I took a snippet from my Podcast of a funny schtick I did with my colleagues where we impersonated Mark Zuckerberg. With the headlines, branding, and captions the square video got 2x as many views as the complete podcast. And people shared it all over the place. This one was a longer than I usually suggest, but the content kept people going and spread awareness about my podcast. Huge win! But most of the memes I make short and from my phone without the need to make new content.
If you want a quick and effective way to make square videos right from your phone, look no further. I got into such an easy workflow using my methods, I decided to share my secrets in a mini-course. Learn more about the course here. It will definitely help you get your videos out in under 10 minutes so you can get back to your passion while the social media world learns more about what you do.