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5 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Videos for Mobile Viewing

It likely comes as no surprise to you that video is the best performing post type on Facebook at the moment. Mark Zuckerberg himself has said that he sees video “as a mega trend on the same order as mobile.”

This mega trend of video is very much intertwined with mobile. Afterall, 90% of Facebook users access the site via mobile. A successful Facebook marketing strategy needs to, therefore, not only be incorporating video regularly, but also consider video optimized for mobile viewing.

Here are five easy ways to optimize your Facebook marketing videos for mobile.

1. RIP Widescreen

When in Facebook Ad Manager, Facebook themselves recommend that you use a format that is “unique to mobile.” This means a vertical or square video format. Why? Because, no one likes flipping their phone horizontally in order to watch a video on mobile. Meeting your customers where they are means delivering video that works on the devices they’re using without much fuss.

The Jane Goodall Institute created both square and landscape versions of the same video ad and targeted the same audience with the same spend. The results were pretty amazing - the square video got 2x the likes and 3x the shares. This may seem surprising, but square takes up 78% more screen space in the mobile news feed than landscape.

Buffer conducted research around this as well, with $1.5k in ad spend put against square vs. landscape videos. They found that square videos outperformed landscape in terms of likes and engagement, and that it costs less to advertise with square videos when reaching users on mobile.

2. Sound-off viewing

When I tell you that your customers aren’t listening, I don’t mean it as a dig against you. It’s a matter of fact. Facebook videos auto-play on mute. 85% of Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off. Therefore, your video has to also work without audio accompaniment.

Watch your videos with the sound off. Do they still make sense? If not, add text throughout your videos for additional context (bonus points if you add text on top of engaging imagery right at the beginning of your video).

WV Skydivers is a great example of a video that doesn’t rely purely on the awesome video clip they have to start their video - they add text to entice and add context. I'd love to see how this video would perform in square, but even in widescreen it had great results. With a modest $110 ad spend, they booked over 140 new clients.

Note: Facebook announced in February that videos would soon be switching to 'sound on' by default, though that won't necessarily alter user behaviors.

3. Text legibility

Now that you have text in your video so that it works in a sound-off, auto-play environment, make sure said text is legible on a smaller screen. Preview your marketing video content on a mobile device.  

The text in your video that reads wonderfully on a beautiful desktop might not read as well where many potential customers are consuming it. If you have to put your glasses on in order to read your text, perhaps consider making the copy in your video more brief so that the text size can be larger.

If you can say it with less words, do so. When I create marketing videos, I make a first draft with copy that I know is too long, then I go back and edit it after walking away from the video for a little bit. Your first edit doesn’t have to be perfect, but go back and make sure your copy isn’t needlessly long-winded (and therefore illegible on mobile). 

4. Brevity is key

In January, Facebook said it would start to showcase longer videos more prevalently in the feed. But there's a big caveat here. The algorithm will expose longer videos in the feed more readily when these videos have a great completion rate. This is an indicator to Facebook that the video is great and more people should see it.

So while you can definitely go ahead and create a long video, you’re more likely to get a decent completion rate (an important indicator to Facebook that people are digging your video), if it’s shorter. I refrain from recommending a specific time range that your video should be since it really does differ depending on what your video is about. However, I do think it’s fair to shoot for less than two minutes as you begin developing your marketing video skills. This will also get you in the habit of aiming for brevity.

5. One story per video

A successful Facebook strategy needs regular video posts, and as we already mentioned, these videos, ideally, shouldn’t be too long. One way to help achieve this is by sticking to one story per video.

People latch onto stories and love to share stories. This is the form of content people come to Facebook to consume. And while video storytelling might seem like a big, overwhelming task, a successful story can be rather simple.

A great example is Nu-Era Bakery - they're a small bakery in West Virginia that has been around for decades. Nu-Era created a video telling the story of one of the food items they sell: a pepperoni roll. This bakery could have made an overview about their establishment and all the products they sell, but instead they stuck with one story. The video has garnered more than 4k shares and 1.6k comments by tapping into the nostalgia that this specific food item evokes among people who grew up in West Virginia. 

Think about what stories your business can tell and then do so on Facebook with video.


Standing out on social media increasingly means standing out in the mobile news feed. With these tips under your belt, you’re ready to get started telling great stories and finding success on Facebook with video that works on smaller mobile screens.

Once you find an option and style that works for you, communicating regularly with video is almost essential to any sound Facebook marketing strategy. These tips will ensure that the effort you’re spending in creating these videos have the maximum impact for your brand.

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