Square or Landscape? Choosing a Format for Your Video

Megan O'Neill


As you likely know, it’s easy to create both landscape and square videos with our Marketing Video Builder. But, when you’re sitting down to make a marketing video, which one do you choose? This post will dive into when you’ll want to choose a square video, when you’ll want to choose a landscape video — and when you may decide to create both!

Square or Landscape Videos

When to go square

Did you know that square videos take up 78% more space in the News Feed and mobile feed than landscape videos? That’s why it’s the recommended format for Facebook and Instagram.

Square Videos

Not convinced? We teamed up with Buffer earlier this year to test the hypothesis that square would outperform landscape on social media. Buffer ran a variety of ads on their social media accounts, including square videos, landscape videos, and landscape videos letterboxed into a square player. As Brian Peters, Digital Strategist at Buffer, says in a great recap of the test results, “After all was said and done, both square video and letterbox video (1:1 format) outperformed landscape video when it came to average engagements, views, and completion rate (%) – particularly on mobile devices.”

So what’s the answer to the question of the day — when should use you use square video? You should go square when you’re making a video to post to social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. On these platforms, square videos will take up more space and be more eye-catching — especially for viewers on mobile.

When to go landscape

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll probably want to use landscape videos for all purposes outside of the social feed. But when you’re trying to decide a good question to ask yourself is how and where people will be watching. If people will be watching on a computer or television screen then they’re likely watching on a widescreen display so landscape makes the most sense.

Also, a lot of non-social platforms simply don’t support square video formats. Many websites and blogging platforms will cut off part of your square video so that it’ll fit into a landscape player. Start with landscape to avoid this!

What about YouTube? Well, while the company did recently announce that soon their mobile app will support square video viewing, the primary YouTube player is still landscape so, for the time being, you should stick to landscape for YouTube, or your videos will be displayed with black bars on the sides.

Animoto YouTube Landscape

When to make both

Let’s say you’re working on a video that you plan to share on your website — and promote on social media. What do you do then? Well, you make two versions!

With the aspect ratio-switching feature in our Marketing Video Builder it’s easy to make both a square and a landscape version of the same video. Simply make one version of the video and then make a copy of your video from the “My Videos” area of your Animoto account. Then, edit the copy and change the aspect ratio. Cyndi from the Animoto team explains how in the video below.

What has your experience been like working with landscape and square videos? Do you prefer one over the other? Share your thoughts in the comments below!