3 Things You Need to Know to Dominate Video On YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram

Would you write the same birthday card to your Grandma May on her 80th birthday as to your nephew Sal on his 8th birthday? I would bet not. Why? Because they have different tastes and are looking for different things. Sure, they’re both birthday cards but you can’t just reuse the same card for a different purpose.

The same goes for video (or any content, for that matter) across different social platforms. Since content consumers go to different social platforms for different reasons, it’s important to understand so that you can tailor your video content accordingly.

Take Facebook and YouTube for example:

  • YouTube is mature and diverse
  • YouTube is a video-first destination with a focus on maximizing video consumption, whereas Facebook is social first and focuses on ease of sharing
  • YouTube has a big focus on search, whereas Facebook does not
  • YouTube has both short and long-form content, whereas Facebook has mainly short-form

Mark Robertson, Co-founder of Little Monster Media Co., recently shared the 7 Rules for Optimizing B2B Video on YouTube and Social. This is a quick recap of some of the top lessons from his talk with three key ways to maximize the impact of your video content across different platforms. If you want to watch Mark’s full, 29 minute session, you can check it out here.

1. Content Discovery

One of the biggest differences across platforms is the way content is consumed. Mark defines the difference as a “push” and “pull” experience.

Social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn rely on the discovery through a “push” experience or mainly organic, passive discovery. To be watched, a video on Facebook must catch the consumer’s eye as they’re scrolling through their feed.

YouTube, on the other hand, has a “pull” experience where consumers of content have to know what they’re looking for in order to find it.

As Mark says, “On Facebook, your mission is to stop someone scrolling past your video in their newsfeed and grab their attention immediately.” And, in fact, 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch more than 10 seconds on Facebook.  

We can see the difference in content across different platforms even just from the meta tags used. That’s exactly what’s represented in the word clouds below:

Content Across Different Social Platforms

  • YouTube is mainly descriptive, but definitely diverse
  • Facebook is emotional, inspirational, and provocative (think about the reaction buttons on Facebook) 
  • Instagram is fun, happy, and about building a community

Learn more about the patterns of content discovery on each platform from Mark’s talk.

2. Getting Traffic Back to Your Website

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that one of your main goals is likely to drive traffic back to your site.


Of course it is. And, just like everything else, there are different ways to do this for different platforms. The best opportunities are outlined below:

Traffic to site social video

3. Design and Aspect Ratio

Depending on where your video will be hosted, you may want to adjust the size or design of your video. On Facebook, vertical video is making a come-back because it fits so well within the mobile feed. Whereas, YouTube has a slightly better full-screen experience and therefore still works best with standard dimensions.

Of course, for an optimal video on Instagram, it’ll be a 1:1 Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of your video is the ratio of the width to the height. Commonly expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, the most common format for video is 16:9, which includes the 1920×1080 video dimensions commonly used by most HD cameras.

“>aspect ratio.

Here’s a full breakdown of recommended technical requirements for video on each platform according to their user guidelines:


  • Caption length text: Text only, max 2,200 characters
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 / 16:9 / HDTV, 2:39:1 or 2:40:1 / Widescreen / 9:16, 1:1 / 1.33:1 / 4:3 / SDTV, 1.375:1 / film, 1.85:1 / Film, no pillar boxing or letter boxing
  • Length: 120 minutes max
  • Minimum resolution: minimum width 600 pixels, length dependent on video aspect ratio
  • File Size: Up to 4GB max
  • Frames: 30fps max
  • Format: Full list of supported file formats here
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.
  • Your image should include minimal text. See how the amount of text in your ad image will impact the reach of your ad.


  • YouTube uses 16:9 aspect ratio players. If you’re uploading a non-16:9 file, it will be processed and displayed correctly as well, with pillar boxes (black bars on the left and right) or letter boxes (black bars at the top and bottom) provided by the player.
  • Content should be encoded and uploaded in the same frame rate it was recorded. Common frame rates include: 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, 60 frames per second (other frame rates are also acceptable).
  • Bitrate recommendations:

See more from YouTube here.


  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Format: .mp4 container ideally with leading mov atom, no edit lists
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
  • Caption: Text only, 125 characters recommended
  • Caption length text: 2,200 characters Max
  • Video aspect ratio: Landscape (1.91:1), Square (1:1), Vertical (4:5)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.91:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (1:1 square) / 600 x 750 pixels (4:5 vertical)
  • Minimum length: No minimum
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • File type: Full list of supported file formats
  • Supported video codecs: H.264, VP8
  • Supported audio codecs: AAC, Vorbis
  • Maximum size: 4GB
  • Frame rate: 30fps max
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.
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