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How to Use Square Video (For Social Media)

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Square video might sound like an unusual concept to the video traditionalists, but like it or not, it’s here! Let’s look at how and why you might discover it’s hip to be square.

Why Use Square Video?

We’re really talking about social media videos when it comes to the square format. What do you consider success to be? Video can help build likes, shares, clicks to a website, or simply act as a point of engagement with your fans and followers.

Arguably, Instagram started the love affair with square formats, and with most video now being watched on mobile devices, it makes sense that it’s developed and evolved. On Twitter, all the big video-reliant companies are making a move to square video. Netflix have moved to square video for their trailers, as have big movie companies, with the new trailer for IT Chapter Two released this week in square format.

Square video is almost 80% more popular than traditional landscape video and gets a 54% better watch-through rate.

Buffer have completed some really great, in-depth research and testing of the square video format for Facebook. While it’s too much to go into in full, a couple of the important takeaways are:

  • Square video performs better than landscape in both engagement and views.
  • Engagement from a mobile phone is greater when video is square (and we know that nearly 2 billion people use mobile Facebook, and over half of those only use mobile).

How to Use Square Video Effectively

We know that square video is outperforming landscape across social media, but how can you make the most of that?

Cropping Your Video to 1:1

If you’re shooting on a mobile phone then good news: there are apps specifically designed for you. Check out apps, like Video Crop, that let you shoot your video and choose a square ratio. In established suites like Adobe Premiere Pro, it’s simple enough to go into the settings and change your aspect ratio.

Remember, square doesn’t just mean you need to make square video—you can make landscape video with a letterbox, which then gives you the space to add text top and bottom if you want to. Many of the fast-paced, ‘click-bait’ news outlets prefer this method because it lets them add additional information or put subtitles across the letterbox.

Creating Your Square Video Content

The content of your video is obviously going to depend on what it is you want to achieve, but here are some top tips:

  • Make a short intro that explains what your audience is about to see, avoiding anything solely text-based.
  • Make more than one version of the video depending on which platform you’re posting. Facebook prefers over 3 minutes in length, Twitter is limited to 2.20, and Instagram 60 seconds.
  • Add subtitles (closed captions) if possible.


If you’re struggling to know where to start with your square video, then you might like to try Placeit, where you can create something right there on the site, without needing any additional software. There are lots of square video templates to choose from, but here’s an example of one that’s available:

Sales Slideshow Maker for an Instagram Promo Video

If you’re creating video in one of the Adobe suites then you can find inspiration for your video with templates for Premiere Pro, After Effects and more over at Envato Elements.

More on Video for Social Media

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