Best Practices for Mobile-First Social Video

People scroll through feeds the height of the Statue of Liberty and are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day. That’s a lot of content! With this much noise in the social space, marketers have almost no time to capture the attention of their audiences, so it’s important to meet people where they are in their busy feeds. One way to do that is with mobile-first video.

social video

What’s mobile-first video? It is classified as video created and edited with handheld devices in mind. Let’s break down the best practices:

  • Vertical ratios. It’s hard enough to capture the audience’s attention in a busy feed. Think your widescreen-formatted video is going to make someone stop and watch? Think again. 16:9 ratio videos will appear small on a mobile screen and easy to miss. Sure, someone can click on the content and rotate their screen, but will they? Probably not. Make the most of social news feeds by formatting videos in a 1:1 ratio­–at the very least–4:5 is even better. These ratios allow your content to maximize feed real estate and demand attention from the viewer.
  • Want to make an even bigger impact? Try Stories. 79% of video viewers report that vertical video formats are more engaging and we’re seeing that great engagement with our clients who are creating content specifically for Instagram Stories. Vertical video is especially important if your brand is thinking of dipping its toes in TikTok or Reels where faithful fans instantly dismiss content that doesn’t fit in.   
  • Add branding early. Facebook suggests adding branding in the first three seconds of a video for maximum impact. We’re big fans of finding organic ways to make it happen. Think branded color schemes and logos in natural situations.
  • Design for a sound-off environment. Most people are consuming social content with their phones on mute. Don’t rely on audio or basic subtitles to tell your brand’s story. Let the visuals do the talking. Create bold overlays or text animations to make sure users can understand what’s going on in your videos without having to listen with the sound on.
  • Additionally, on sound, brands may not have access to the same popular music on platforms like TikTok and Reels due to copyrights. Keep that in mind when creating video content for those channels.
  • Keep it short. Really short. Videos under sixty seconds are a must for most social placements. Even better? Those with an under fifteen-second runtime. They’re ideal for placements in Stories, keep the user in the feed (instead of forcing them into the Facebook Watch stream or IGTV), and your audience is much more likely to watch all the to the end or even more than once.


Take these best practices and put them to work for your social content! Rather have us do the heavy lifting? We have plenty of ideas and would love to chat, so feel free to contact our team today.

Also, keep your organization up-to-date on the latest social video trends and news in the social media marketing space by subscribing to our bi-weekly newsletter, Social You Should Know, below.

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