Type of Video Formats: Landscape vs Square vs Portrait

As you are probably aware, it’s simple to create videos in Landscape, Square and Portrait mode using Rocketium’s Studio. But, when you’re making videos for social media, which video formats should you choose? In this article, I’ll help you answer this question and solve your dilemma.

all video formats examples
All Video Formats on Facebook. Image Credits: Tubular Insights

Let’s talk numbers

Over 90% of Facebook’s 1.74 billion monthly users access the social network from their mobile device, with 56.5% of those being  mobile-only users.

Square videos dominate landscape videos by upto 78% in mobile newsfeeds. Landscape videos are outperformed by square videos by 54% when looking at view-through rates for the first 10 seconds of a video. Square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.

Vertical video ads are watched all the way through 9 times more than horizontal video ads on Snapchat.

From a study of 25k top performing Facebook videos, only 30.9% of videos were landscape, while 56.3% of the top performing videos were either square or vertical videos.

It costs advertisers 33% less to get someone to engage with square video on Instagram.

square video formats on instagram
Cost Per 10s Mobile Views on Instagram. Image Courtesy: Buffer

When do I make a landscape video?

First ask yourself, “How and where are people going to see my video?”. If your viewers are mainly desktop users, or if they’re going to watch it on TV, then out of all the video formats, landscape would be the right fit.

Though YouTube’s mobile app supports other video formats, the primary YouTube player is still landscape. So, you should stick to landscape for YouTube, or your videos will be displayed with black bars on the sides.

square video format on youtube
Square video on YouTube shows black ‘bars’

When Do I Select a Square Video Format?

On every social media network, square videos outperform landscape videos in terms of video views, engagement score (likes, comments, shares), and completion rate.

  • Facebook — Square videos publish with no black borders
  • Instagram — Square videos publish with no black borders
  • Twitter — Square videos publish with no black borders
  • Reddit — Square videos publish with no black borders

The popularity of square videos originated from one of Facebook’s many subsidiaries, Instagram. Until an update in late 2015, all content on Instagram was restricted to a square frame, including video content.

On these platforms, square videos will take up more space and are thus guaranteed to be more engaging for viewers on both desktops and mobile phones.

Square video formats on twitter
This is how square videos look on Twitter

When do I make portrait videos?

As of February 2017:

  • Facebook — Vertical videos publish with no black borders
  • Instagram — Vertical videos publish with no black borders
  • Snapchat — Vertical videos publish with no black borders
  • Twitter — Vertical videos publish with no black borders
  • YouTube — The mobile app hides black borders when device is held vertically and video is viewed in full screen

Portrait videos are the most preferred format when it comes to video ads on Instagram and Snapchat.

With 100 million+ daily active users, Snapchat has already proven that users are willing to consume video without having to rotate their phones.

- video formats - portrait
Image Courtesy: Erik Olsen/The New York Times

When users are scrolling through their social media feeds on mobile, they expect the experience to be seamless. If your video plays in landscape, not many people are going to make the effort to turn their phone 90 degrees and tap to expand to full screen. It’s the truth. How many times have you turned your phone just to see a landscape video in full screen?

As a marketer, this means you’re missing out on filling the viewers’ screen with your video ad and keeping their full attention as effectively as possible.

Major publishers and media companies like The Washington Postthe BBC news app, Vox, Teads and Conde Nast have also embraced vertical video formats.

video formats - portrait vs square vs landscape
Image Credits: SubSign, Medium

Brands that have embraced the vertical video formats are already seeing amazing results. Jason Stein, the CEO of Laundry Service, has seen success with LG vertical video ads. He claims to be receiving 3x more efficient CPM rates than standard square videos on Facebook.

Here are 13 videos ads every marketer must know about!

How do I make the same video in all formats?

Say you want to post a video on Facebook, and want to repurpose the same video for an article on your website. At the same time, you also plan to run an ad for your article on Snapchat, and want to use the same video as an ad. It is time-consuming to publish the same video in all 3 formats because you would have to fill in the content and style it from scratch every time.

Here is where Rocketium saves your time drastically. Just follow these steps to get the same video in all formats:

STEP 1: Clone your video

Go to your dashboard, click on options (…) and select ‘Clone Video’.

video formats - portrait vs square vs landscape

STEP 2: Click ‘Continue’

You will be automatically redirected to the Studio. Once here, click ‘Continue’. You can, optionally, choose to change the outro/CTA of your video depending on the platform you’re uploading your video on.

video formats - portrait vs square vs landscape

STEP 3: Select video orientation

You will find the 3 options of Landscape, Square and Portrait below the preview screen. Choosing a format automatically resizes the images and text on your video – you don’t have to change anything manually.


STEP 4: Click ‘Finish’

Click on Finish to publish your video. Repeat the above steps to get your video file in all 3 formats. Now you can use each video on different platforms.

Pulkit Jain

Engineer • Marketer • Tech Geek • Movie & Comic book nerd • Avid reader • Gaming Addict • Football fanatic #GGMU

4 thoughts on “Type of Video Formats: Landscape vs Square vs Portrait”

  1. Pingback: onesie stitch

Leave a Reply