Recommended video aspect ratio for mobile: Square vs Landscape vs Vertical

Before you produce videos especially for social media, you need to consider which video aspect ratio to go for depending on whether you want to focus on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.

In the past (pre-Internet era), videos were produced professionally for mostly television be it TV shows or commercials. The video aspect ratio back then is pretty straight-forward, it's just landscape.

Nowadays, anyone can produce a video with either professional equipment or just a mobile phone. People are also consuming videos via various media platforms and devices.

Be it for the usual content or video commercial, you need to consider which aspect ratio to go for. Will it be square, landscape or vertical? This is a decision you need to make before producing a video.

The question you need to ask yourself is, which platform do you want to optimize your video for? Will it be YouTube, Facebook or Instagram?

Recommended video aspect ratio for mobile

Read on as we visualize it in the infographic below on how your video will appear across different platforms on mobile, when held vertically or horizontally.

The reason why we show mobile-only here as most people are watching videos on mobile nowadays, more than computers or even TVs. Unless it's for other purposes like cinema video ad, your video strategy needs to be mobile-first too.

Video Aspect Ratio: Square vs Landscape vs Vertical


Video Aspect Ratio: Square vs Landscape vs Vertical

For a start, you need to differentiate the types of video aspect ratio:
  • Square - 1:1
  • Landscape - 4:3, 16:9, 21:9 (Anamorphic)
  • Vertical - 1:2, 2:3, 4:5, 9:16
While the vertical ratio is considered a relatively new format with the emergence of smartphones, the square ratio is made popular by Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Let's dive in a bit more on the landscape ratio:
  • 4:3 is the old-school standard for most films made before the 1950s
  • 16:9 is the widescreen format initially for HDTV then for most devices
  • 21:9 is also known as anamorphic used in movies by filmmakers shooting on digital

Best Video Aspect Ratio for YouTube on Mobile


Best Video Aspect Ratio for YouTube on Mobile

As opposed to Facebook or Instagram, landscape videos provide the best experience on YouTube even though vertical videos are supported now (since 2018).

YouTube on Mobile Square Landscape Vertical
Held Vertically
Still OK
Recommended
Not so OK
Held Horizontally
Still OK
Recommended
Not so OK

Best Video Aspect Ratio for Facebook on Mobile


Best Video Aspect Ratio for Facebook on Mobile

Facebook is one of the main reasons why square videos, followed by vertical videos, are becoming a popular aspect ratio. This is especially true as most people hold and use their mobile vertically.

Facebook on Mobile Square Landscape Vertical
Held Vertically
Recommended
Still OK
Recommended
Held Horizontally
Still OK
Recommended
Not Available

Best Video Aspect Ratio for Instagram on Mobile


Best Video Aspect Ratio for Instagram on Mobile

Similar to Facebook, square and vertical videos provide the best experience on Instagram. Do take note that you need to develop only vertical video if it's for IGTV.

Latest updates as of May 2019: Instagram is now supporting landscape video for IGTV, which is good news for content creators. It is too demanding for content creators to produce a vertical version dedicated for IGTV without monetization scheme (yet) like YouTube.

Instagram on Mobile Square Landscape Vertical
Standard Post
Recommended
Still OK
Recommended
IGTV (Held Vertically)
Still OK *
Still OK
Recommended
IGTV (Held Horizontally)
Not OK
Recommended
Not OK

* We have experience publishing square video on IGTV, the left and right sides seem to be cut-off mysteriously even though we uploaded the correct size.


In conclusion, the landscape ratio is your first choice if you are prioritizing YouTube. It's either square or vertical ratio if you want to fit your video on Facebook or Instagram.

There is neither one size fits all, nor kill two birds with one stone. However, our first choice is to develop landscape videos which will fit in most scenario, no matter how hard Facebook or Instagram is championing square and vertical videos.

You can also view the full infographic in Pin here.

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Silver Mouse: Recommended video aspect ratio for mobile: Square vs Landscape vs Vertical
Recommended video aspect ratio for mobile: Square vs Landscape vs Vertical
Before you produce videos especially for social media, you need to consider which video aspect ratio to go for depending on whether you want to focus on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.
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