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How To Dramatically Increase The Performance of Your Video on Social Networks

These days, even the most powerful video content will not be nearly as effective if it’s not formatted specifically for the social platform it is on.

When a visitor is on your website, viewing on YouTube, or watching on their desktop / TV… the standard 16:9 format of most commercials works beautifully.

But if you are planning to distribute your video on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc… It's vital that you create alternate versions of the video that are in the style of each platform.

If you don’t do this - your video will see dramatically reduced performance. (If you are already running campaigns on social using a standard video, you are likely already seeing this)

Here are some very revealing stats on how important this is:

  • Less than 30% of users will turn their smartphones sideways to watch a video, those who do only watch 14% of the video on average!

  • Vertical videos have 13.8x the visibility on Facebook & Instagram

  • 90% of vertical videos have a higher watch completion rate compared to horizontal ones.

  • You can reach 58% more people with vertical branded video content.

  • Engagement is 4 times higher on vertical videos

  • Captions increase view time by 25% or more

  • Auto closed captions will NOT turn if the phone volume is lowered. They ONLY turn on if muted. Open captions is the safer bet!

  • Videos under 30 seconds can result in a 200% lift in completion rates

  • 65% of the people who watch the first 3 seconds of a video will stay for the full 15 seconds of a 15 second video

  • The higher engagement of properly formatted video will result in dramatically lower ad costs. (CPM's, CTR's, CPA's etc...) The bottom line: Make the format of your videos friendly to the algorithm of each platform and the platform will reward you with better results at lower costs!

What You Should Do Immediately

To maximize the engagement and performance of your promotional video, you should create alternate versions of the video designed specifically for each platform. Here are the elements that will need to be adjusted:

Aspect Ratio

At the time of writing this, vertical video is king on social media.

horizontal format vs vertical format
horizontal format vs vertical format

All social networks are currently prioritizing vertical video over all other formats. This is due to the fact that most users are spending their time on “reels.” This is why after the TikTok explosion, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube all quickly adopted a “reels” style video experience.

Due to their popularity, the algorithms are currently prioritizing the vertical “reels” experience above standard video.

This means that if you are running ads on these platforms (or even publishing organic content) and your video is a standard ratio (16:9) or (4:3), the platform is de-prioritizing the deliverability of your content.

standard video in vertical format = negative experience

If a user sees a standard video, with those ugly black bars on top and bottom, while they are swiping through reels - it’s perceived as a “negative” experience.

And there’s nothing that these social platforms care about more than positive user experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that when adjusting the aspect ratio, the user experience is better if the video content is repositioned to make sense. If you just crop the existing video to vertical, it could result in important content being cut off.

It’s much more engaging to have the video recut and repositioned so that the characters, on screen titles and any other important content fits nicely.


Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter in general, but the social reels type experience expects a video to be 15-60 seconds long.

This doesn’t mean that you cannot distribute a longer video on social media, it just means that if you want maximum engagement, you should create “cut” versions of the video in shorter 15,30 or 60 second snippets.

The algorithms love bite sized content because the users loved bite sized content.

To maximize performance, you want to have multiple cut versions of your video on the platform.

But if you are only going to distribute one or two, they need to be short.

Open Captions (Stylized)

Stylized open captions on vertical video

There are two types of captions, “closed captions” (the ones you can turn on and off) and “open captions” (the ones that are burned into the actual video and can’t be turned off.)

If you want your video to do well on social networks. You need to have open captions. Many users are scrolling with their volume turned off, and 95% of the videos they see have captions so they can read them. If your video doesn’t, it’s likely to be perceived as a negative experience and they will blow right by it.

Captions will solve this. And it’s important you use open captions, because closed captions are only visible if the user turns them on, or if they have “muted” their mobile device. And recent data shows that most users don’t actually “mute” their devices, but instead, they lower the volume to 1%, which will NOT turn on closed captions.

Stylized, open captions on square video

If possible, it’s also common for the captions to be stylized. The old, standard small white text caption is better than no caption.

But if you want your video to have maximum performance, use the larger, blocky “reels style” stylized captions.

Next Steps

If you are a video editor or video production company, then you can take care of all of the above on your own. It can be quite tedious, but the results are worth it!

You can alternatively speak directly to the video production company that created your promotional video in the first place and get a quote for creating alternate, cut versions of the promo video for social distribution.

If those options don’t work, you can hire a video production company to do this for you. Intrigue Studios recommends that our clients add-on creating these social versions of every promotional video we create, and we also offer this as a stand-alone service for any client who wants their promo video converted.

The cost of creating these alternate versions depends on several factors:

  • The length of the source video

  • Whether you want to adjust only the aspect, length, captions or all three

  • The number of different cut versions desired (1,2,3 or more)

  • The number of different aspect ratios desired (Square, Vertical etc…)

  • The number if different lengths desired (15 sec, 30 sec, 60 sec)


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