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Video aspect ratio | aspect ratio | 16:9 | 1:1 | 4:5

16:9, 1:1 oder 4:5: What is the added value for viewers?

At youstream we are often asked about the video aspect ratio because many video marketers are not clear when, where and why a certain video aspect ratio like 16:9, 1:1 or 4:5 should be used. We provide an overview and answer the most important questions.

16:9 will not be displaced

Until a few years ago, only the 16:9 aspect ratio was found on the Internet. 4:3 was also still in use to some extent. Due to current trends on social media channels, new formats and aspect ratios have been added. One reason for this is the more optimal screen utilisation by smartphone users.

On social media today, the following three ratios dominate above all:

  • 9:16 vertical video
  • 1:1 square video
  • 4:5 portrait video

Infographic: Video aspect ratios at a glance

We at youstream doubt whether 16:9 will be displaced in the process. Especially since there are many other channels outside of social media that are less exposed to these trends. The desktop or notebook user is still the most widespread in the B2B sector. And there on the screens and website browsers the 16:9 format prevails.

Nevertheless, more and more videos are consumed "on the go". And that is where appealing video formats in the optimal aspect ratio can make a difference.


But which aspect ratio do I choose?

And do I even need an aspect ratio outside of 16:9? 

Essentially, you need to ask yourself the following question:

  • On which channel or channels do I mainly distribute my videos?
  • What are the possibilities and specifications there regarding aspect ratios?
  • Is there any added value for the viewers if I produce my video to a specific aspect ratio?
  • Is there an added value for me as a marketer? Can I reach my goals faster?
  • What additional effort do I have to put up with?


The channel determines the aspect ratio

The possibilities are just as dependent on the channel. And you choose the right channel by precisely knowing your target audience. Where does my target audience move? On the customer journey, your target audience moves through different channels. And your video is designed for one of these "touch points." Here are some examples:

  • At the beginning on Facebook with pushed ads, which brings the audience to the landing page.
  • On the homepage of your website to present your image film to the viewer.
  • Or in the online store with a product video to convince the visitor with product details.

Your task now is to find out for which touch point or channel your video is designed. Often our customers mention different channels. But your video has one main channel where it will have the most impact. You need to define that channel! On the basis of assumptions or, even better, on the basis of facts that you obtain from evaluations.


What are the possibilities?

With social media channels, you are constantly exposed to new specifications. Channels reinvent themselves or disappear altogether. New ones are added. In the process, all aspects surrounding video can change as well. Currently, on the two popular channels, Facebook and Instagram, the following aspect ratios prevail.


  • Feed video: 16:9, 1:1, 4:5, 2:3, 9:16 (recommended: 1:1 or 4:5).
  • Facebook stories: 9:16
  • Facebook live: 16:9


  • Instagram feed videos: 16:9, 1:1, 4:5 (recommended: 1:1 or 4:5)
  • IGTV: 9:16
  • Instagram stories:16:9, 1:1, 4:5, 9:16 (recommended: 9:16)
  • Instagram live: 9:16


What is the added value for the viewers?

I have never seen a video that is only good because the aspect ratio is right! That is, the content will not be better with a different aspect ratio. But still, aspect ratio is an important creative decision. It is possible to quickly repackage a 16:9 video into a 4:5 after a production. However, it is not always recommended. If subtitles are added and the ratio changes, then it fits. But a picture-filling 4:5 needs appropriate consideration during the shoot. Otherwise image information is missing in the video.

But what is the added value of a 1:1 or 4:5 aspect ratio? For the viewer (who holds his smartphone in his hand) it means that he or she sees more of the video without having to turn the screen. Very simple.


What does this mean for marketers?

On social media, decisions are made within a fraction of a second. The user decides in that time whether to keep scrolling or click. It matters whether your video appears larger or smaller. As a mobile phone user, a 4:5 ratio makes better use of the screen and can lead to a higher view count. This can help you reach your goals faster. That could mean you might get a 1-10% higher conversion.


The effort remains the same

Whether 1:1 or 16:9, the effort remains the same. Additional effort is only added when different aspect ratios are produced with one production. This can have an impact on planning, additional shooting can be the result and the time at the editing suite is extended.


When in doubt: 16:9

Do not rack your brains if you are unsure. Your uncertainty may mean that you are not entirely clear which is the most important channel or on which devices your video will be primarily consumed. In this situation, stick to the 16:9 aspect ratio. Content still remains the most important. It will remain that way in the future.

If you have any questions about this or want to learn more about video marketing, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you. We will show you how to use video to your advantage.

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