Guide to social media aspect ratios

Accepted aspect ratios for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram

21 May 2019

You can now send ads directly to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube with Peach, in all the aspect ratios you need.

It makes sense to optimise your ads by serving them in formats that fill the maximum available space and won’t risk your content getting cropped - which can be different for different placements on each platform, and for different devices.  

Peach now accepts multiple aspect ratios, to fulfill the demands of even the most ambitious social media campaigns (16:9 (landscape); 1:1 (square); 9:16, 3:4, 4:5 (portrait)). But with hundreds of possible iterations, making sure you’ve got the right aspect ratios and specifications can be complicated. We’ve put together a quick guide to recommended aspect ratios for YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, to ensure simple workflows and effective videos on social media.

Aspect ratios for Twitter 

Twitter recommends videos in:

  • 16:9
  • 1:1
  • 9:16

The following aspect ratios are also acceptable:

  • 3:4
  • 4:5

Peach won't make any changes to the creative: we don’t alter aspect ratios by cropping or stretching the video.

Aspect ratios for YouTube

  • 16:9
  • 9:16

Video content on YouTube is predominantly shown at a 16:9 ratio. This is the standard ratio for desktop and mobile, although the platform is now accepting 9:16 (i.e. portrait) formats specifically for viewing on mobile.

YouTube placements

YouTube supports six types of video ad placements. The most common are Trueview, pre-roll (or mid- or post-roll) and bumpers. Although you’ll need content to be 16:9 (or 9:16 for mobile) for all YouTube placements, you may want to optimise content and length.

Pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll: ads that run before, during or after the selected video content. These can be skippable (i.e. Trueview) or non skippable.

Trueview: ads that viewers choose to watch. These can sit instream (i.e. before or during the video the viewer wants to watch starts) or are discovered as paid ads alongside other YouTube videos, in YouTube search results, or on external websites through the Google Display Network. You only pay when viewers either click on the ad, or watch more than 30 seconds of the ad.

Bumpers: 6-second unskippable video ads that play before a YouTube video starts. These are not skippable, but have to be concise!

Facebook and Instagram

Unlike YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accept many different aspect ratios, for a whole range of ad types across different placements. These include:

  • Newsfeeds
  • Instant Articles
  • In-stream video
  • Right column
  • Marketplace
  • Stories

(You can find more about placements at Facebook’s help centre here).

The same aspect ratios may work across different placements, and between mobile and desktop. However, ads served in aspect ratios other than the preferred option for each placement won’t be optimised.

In other words, ads formatted into the right aspect ratio for each destination get the most ad real estate on the screen, offer the best viewing experience, and ultimately see more effective conversions.

Aspect ratios for Facebook and Instagram

Facebook Ad Manager accepts the full suite of aspect ratios now available. This useful table shows aspect ratios used in the different experiences across Facebook, Instagram, and the  Audience Network.

Facebook advise the following aspect ratios, all of which Peach supports (the following and more information on Facebook’s recommendations can be found in the Facebook Ad Manager):

On Facebook:

  • Video campaigns across both Facebook and Instagram: 4:5
  • Video ads on Facebook without links: full portrait (9:16), with the most important parts of the video visible within a 2:3 aspect ratio crop (this will be seen within the news feed on mobile).
  • News feeds
    • Video carousels: square (1:1).
    • Non-link ads: 16:9 up to 1:1.
    • 360 video: 1:2 (full screen when clicked).

On Instagram:

  • Video ads on all feeds: Peach QCs videos in 1:1 and 4:5, both of which are supported on all Instagram feeds.
  • Video ads on Instagram Stories: full portrait (9:16)

On Audience Network

  • In-stream placement:  1:1 and full landscape (16:9).

TL:DR - the safest way to ensure optimised ads across Facebook and Instagram is to stick to an aspect ratio of 4:5. This won’t be perfectly optimised to every experience, but will be effective within most placements across both platforms.

You can read more about how Peach cuts the faff from delivering video ads to social media channels here.

For further aspect ratio advice, or to get started delivering flawless ads faff-free to your social channels, get in touch.

Categorised as:

  • Opinion

By Doug Conely