People might love a compelling article or a breathtaking photograph, but video has been the true conversion powerhouse for a while now. In fact, according to KISSmetrics, your viewers are 64–85% more likely to make a purchase after watching a video. Plus, Aberdeen Group’s 2015 study shows us that video users experience 41% more web traffic than non-users, and their companies grow 49% faster year-over-year.
Small wonder that Convince and Convert is calling 2016 The Year of the Video Marketing.
To help you ease into this era of video marketing, this post will walk you through how to start producing your own video content and how to optimize them for the most popular platforms.
Producing great videos has never been easier—even for SMEs or businesses on a budget. All you need is to…
- Invest in a good DSLR camera – The quality of your camera will play an important role in the quality of your videos. Keep your budget in mind while buying a camera, and consider any other important factors (e.g. type of lens, desired shutter speed, primarily indoor/outdoor usage, etc). If you’re looking for beginner-friendly suggestions, check out this list by Creative Live.
- Buy video editing software – Software like Apple Final Cut or Adobe Premiere are the difference between professional videos and home movies—so consider spending a little money on your production value. Check out this list of list comparing different video editing programs.
- Consider your lighting and backgrounds – To make your videos look professional, you’ll want to make sure your filming stage is well-lit and laid out. Fortunately, lighting doesn’t have to break the bank—if you’re a smart spender, you can probably rig up some professional-looking lighting for less than £100.
How to Publish the Best Quality Videos
No matter which platform you choose, creating high-quality videos is not as simple as hitting record and uploading it. As with all content creation, there’s some best practice advice you can follow.
Below, we’ll look at how to ensure your videos are the best quality possible on two of the biggest platforms—Facebook and YouTube. YouTube, of course, is the second largest search engine in the world, processing more than 3 billion searches each month. Meanwhile, Facebook recently outstripped YouTube in terms of how many branded videos are uploaded each month—proving that marketers are turning to Facebook to sell their products.
Here’s how you can optimize your videos for these platforms:
How to Format Video for Facebook
Facebook recommends uploading high definition MP4 or MOV videos, with High Profile H.264 video compression and a fixed frame rate. However, it supports all of the following formats:
- AVCHD Video (mts)
- AVI Video (avi)
- DIVX Video (divx)
- DV Video (dv)
- DVD Video (vob)
- Flash Video (f4v/flv)
- M2TS Video (m2ts)
- Matroska Format (mkv)
- Mobile Video (3g2/3gp/3gpp)
- MOD Video (mod)
- MPEG-4 Video (mp4/m4v/mpeg4)
- MPEG Transport Stream (ts)
- MPEG Video (dat/mpe/mpeg/mpg)
- Nullsoft Video (nsv)
- Ogg Media Format (ogm/ogv)
- TOD Video (tod)
- QuickTime Movies (mov/qt)
- Windows Media Video (wmv/asf)
For the best quality videos, I recommend sticking with MP4 files. MP4 is ubiquitous across most platforms (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, iOS, etc) and scales better across different devices than other formats.
- File size
- Up to 4 GB max, but the smaller the file size, the better its quality. I recommend trying to keep your video under 1 GB.
Videos must be less than 120 minutes long and 360 videos are limited to 10 minutes long. However, just because you can make them that long doesn’t mean you should—HubSpot recommends curbing your videos at just 30–45 seconds long, and I’d say that anything over 2 minutes is excessive. Remember: the longer your video, the larger its file size will be, which will affect your overall quality.
- Facebook recommends an aspect ratio of 16:9, or 720p (1280 x 720px), but you can also use:
- 4:3 (SDTV/iPad)
- 11:8 or 1.85:1 (Film)
- 2.39:1 or 2.40:1 (Widescreen)
- 9:16 (Mobile)
Min resolution is 600 x 315px wide (1:91 landscape). For the best compression, keep your dimensions to multiples of 16px and avoid pillar boxing and letter boxing whenever possible.
- Frame Rate
- At or below 30fps. The closer you get to 30fps, the better.
- Use stereo AAC or MP3 audio compression with a sample rate of 44,100 hz and no less than 128 kbps.
- Bit rate
- There’s no limit, if you’re using two pass encoding and your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB, so I recommend adjusting the bit rate of your video until the file size is as close to 1 GB as possible. Be warned that if your file is larger than 1 GB, you can expect a bit rate of 8 mbps for videos recorded in 1080p and 4 mbps for videos recorded in 720p.
I recommend using 90 characters or less in your images, especially if we’re talking about ad copy. Anything longer than 90 characters risks not being displayed on smaller screens. Your video’s caption is limited to 2,200 characters and must include text only.
Your video’s image must have less than 20% text. You can use Facebook’s Grid Tool to see how much text your thumbnail has.
How to Format Video for YouTube
As with Facebook, stick with High Profile H.264 video compression, and I once again recommend MP4 or MPEG4 formatting. Alternatively, YouTube supports the following formats and has a troubleshooting guide if your format isn’t listed:
- AVI Video (avi)
- Flash Video (flv)
- Mobile Video (3gpp)
- MPEG-4 Video (mp4/mpeg4)
- MPEG Program Stream (mpegps)
- QuickTime Movies (mov)
- Web Media (webm)
- Windows Media Video (wmv)
- File size
The maximum file size is a whopping 128 GB if you verify your account, but for best results you should try to keep it under 1 GB.
YouTube’s default video length is 15 minutes long, but you can stretch that to a ridiculous 11 hours if you verify your account. I doubt you need that long, but YouTube is unique in that people aren’t always searching for bite size morsels—some videos even get more engagement the longer they go on.
YouTube has no min resolution, but the higher the resolution the better. That means go for an HD recording at 720p or 1080p.
- Frame Rate
Try to keep your frame rate around 25-30 fps.
As with Facebook, MP3 or AAC are preferred. Use stereo audio with a sampling rate of 44,100 hz and don’t settle for less than 192 kbps.
- Bit rate
YouTube has variable bitrates similar to Facebook, with 1080p videos hovering around 8 mbps and 720p videos at approximately 4 mps. Focusing on optimising your video for resolution, aspect ratio, and frame rate instead of worrying about bit rate.
The first few sentences of your description are paramount. They’ll appear beside your video whenever it’s searched for, and they’ll appear above the fold when visitors click on the video. Make sure they’re interesting and important to your content.
Your account needs to be verified before you can start uploading custom thumbnails. Try to make sure your thumbnails are under 2 MB in size, have a resolution of 1280x720px, are a common format (PNG, JPG, GIF, or BMP), and adhere to a 16:9 aspect ratio.
There are other great services specifically designed for video marketing—such as Wistia—but these haven’t overtaken the big two. However, if you’re interest in trying out a different platform or trying your hand at short form content, the following resources might help:
- Wistia Optimal Export Settings
- Vimeo Compression Guidelines
- Sharing and Watching Videos on Twitter
- Video on Instagram
- How to Create Vines
Companies today have adapted to our new digital age—they’re creating channels on YouTube, uploading their videos to Facebook pages, and some are even getting their feet wet with services like Vine, Instagram, and Vimeo. In fact, CMI’s latest report tells us that 83% of content marketers are already using video marketing to their advantage—so if you’re not one of them, you’re missing out!
Fortunately, if you aren’t using video, you don’t have to panic—the best time to start is right now.
It’s never been cheaper or easier for businesses to start using video to boost their sales. Work some video into your content marketing campaigns now—and reap the rewards for years to come.