If the 2010’s taught us anything, it’s that video content is the way to go for any digital marketing strategy worth its salt. By and large, video content (when done properly) generates the most leads and promotes the most positive ROI for marketers. And it makes sense: in the fast-paced digital landscape, people’s attention spans are much shorter and more attuned to the visual aspect of any marketing collateral.
But despite video’s critical role in digital marketing, particularly in the realm of social media, many marketers overlook one of the most important platforms out there: Twitter. As one of the pillars of the entire social media industry, Twitter has transcended its role from a niche, micro-blogging site into a cultural trendsetter of the 21st century. Twitter revolutionized pretty much everything about the digital landscape, from how the news is delivered to how entire subcultures are created.
So why the lack of attention given to video content on Twitter? Well, unfortunately, a lot of misconceptions and questions surround it: how long can a twitter video be? What kind of video content can we make on Twitter? Are the videos as short as the tweets?
In this article, we clear up the misconceptions, separate fact from fiction, and show you effective ways to leverage one of the most influential social media platforms of all time.
How Long Can A Twitter Video Be, and Other Technical Specs
Much like other platforms, Twitter has specific rules about what kind of videos can be posted on their site. That being said, just because you fit the technical aspects doesn’t mean that your video is going to be the next viral hit. We’ll get to the latter later, but first, a few things you should know about the technical side of Twitter video.
How Long Can a Twitter Video Be?
512 MB, or two minutes and twenty seconds. That’s the maximum time and file size that a Twitter video can be before it’s rejected for posting. The half-gig file size and the time limits are there to make sure that videos retain a certain level of quality; after all, nobody likes watching a 144p video on their smartphone.
What Type of Video Files Can I Upload?
MP4 or MOV is the officially accepted video types on Twitter video. These two file types were chosen because of how consistent their quality is across devices and the ease by which they are streamed to users.
What’s the Minimum and Maximum Video Resolutions?
Twitter video has a minimum 32×32 resolution, with a max of 1920×1200 resolution. Again, these specs were chosen because it’s optimized for viewing on smartphones and tablets, the chosen medium for accessing Twitter.
Master these technical basics, and you’ll be able to post video content that is optimized for viewing on any device. With that aside, you can now focus on the quality of your content.
Types of Twitter Video
Much like other marketing collaterals, your Twitter video needs to fit a specific format that fits perfectly with your chosen platform. On Twitter, there are a few options available to you, depending on your brand, the kind of campaign you’re running, whether you’re working with influencers or not, and what kind of content strategy you’ll be running.
Twitter video length limitations mean that brands and marketers have to get creative, especially in a day and age where generic content that doesn’t emotionally connect with the audience won’t work anymore. With only two minutes and twenty seconds available to you, how do you sell your brand in such a way that it connects with your audience on a human level? Here are some types of Twitter video content that you can consider:
A video that’s been recorded on a smartphone is a great way to give your marketing collateral a down-to-earth, behind-the-scenes vibe that could help brands that speak to individuals rather than other businesses.
Recorded videos are perfect for casual, informal collaterals that are all about making your audience feel comfortable and familiar with your brand.
Other than letting you post pre-recorded videos, Twitter also lets you live stream. Live streaming is a great way to market a brand in collaboration with influencers or as a platform for a man-on-the-street type of content.
Live streaming allows your audience to see your brand being used in real-time, giving your brand a sense of realness and gravitas. It can also be used as a platform for Q&A sessions, a crucial way to address questions about your brand or product.
Branded content is basically the digital marketing equivalent of a TV commercial: it’s written, produced, and usually funded, by the brand to market their product on a larger scale. This is where you can really flex your creative muscles (not to mention your budget!) and create ads that are visually stunning, yet has a strong, personal impact with your audience.
But before you think that you can just make any old TVC and just translate to Twitter video, think again: branded content on social media can’t follow the old brand-centric ads of the previous decades. Rather, the modern branded content is customer-centric, putting the needs and emotions of their audience first before anything else.
In fact, some of the most successful branded content collaterals in the past decade weren’t high-budget, visual-effects laden ads; rather, they were simple, clean, and directly addressed a concern that their customer base has. Branded content is story-driven, with the audience being shifted from passive viewer into a more emotionally and psychologically active role within the ad.
That being said, it still needs to fit within the two minutes and twenty-second limits of Twitter video. Yes, visuals don’t have to be stunning, but they do have to be striking, with each shot forwarding the story being told rather than focusing on the product or the brand. This is the time to bust out all of your film school knowledge and apply it to your Twitter video: leverage color schemes to create moods, camera angles and lighting to portray drama, and while dialogue is appreciated, sometimes the silence between two people is enough to send a message.
Going Viral or Being Honest?
There are plenty of marketers out there who claim that they can help brands and products ‘go viral’; don’t believe them. Virality is not something that can be predicted nor replicated at a regular pace. Instead of focusing on going viral, make sure your Twitter video is honest and sincere. Now, that might sound a little hippie-ish, but the research backs it up: audiences prefer honest ads.
If there’s one thing social media has given to the world, it’s the democratization of communication. Prior to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, communication between the individual and the society (and vice-versa) was done with brands and companies as middlemen. Nowadays, with the instant connection between individuals, companies can no longer dictate what is or isn’t good; how can they when Facebook comments say otherwise?
So, don’t focus on being the next big trend. With all of the knowledge you have now of Twitter’s video limitations, focus on broadcasting a message that is both honest and visually appealing.