How Big Brands Win With Facebook And Instagram Videos


I’ve made thousands of videos over the past year for Facebook and Instagram. Working for a performance marketing agency (see Consumer Acquisition case study here) and recently having the privilege to work with Jameson Whiskey and Malibu Rum for their social video content.

In this article, I’m gonna go over 5 things that I learned.

Let’s start with numero uno.

1. Make It Square

80% of the time, I get asked to make videos square (1:1 aspect ratio). These are used for both Facebook and Instagram. The remaining 20% is vertical (2:3) and horizontal (16:9) for Facebook.

Interesting Fact: The largest size vertical video you can produce is 1536 x 2304 (2:3 ratio).

2. Length Matters (kind of)

For performance marketing (paid ads), most of the videos I create are between 7 to 15 seconds.

But for content marketing, the length wasn’t as important. It just needs to be visually pleasing and hold attention throughout. For example, here’s a video I created for Jameson Whiskey called “International Lefthanders Day”:

It’s 32 seconds long but keeps the viewer engaged, hopefully ;)

3. Sound Doesn’t Matter (kind of)

For the paid ads, I typically use the same music track for all. And sometimes no music. We tried variations, swapping only the music, and it didn’t make a difference.

But for content marketing, people are more likely to listen and engage. For example, here’s a video I created for Jameson Whiskey called “Refreshing Replay”:

Sounds awesome right?!?

And visually, the client loved the beautiful background of the palm tree next to the Fox Theater in Oakland CA. 

4. The Bar Has Been Raised

The demand for attention on Facebook and Instagram is huge. Content today needs to be both quality and creative, to stand out in the crowd.

Big brands are investing a lot of money into content for these platforms. It’s not uncommon to see a 20 person crew, filming a video for Instagram.

The project we filmed for Jameson Whiskey was a medium sized production, all for Facebook and Instagram videos.

Here’s an example called “Irish Nesting Dolls”:

5. Repurpose Is The Game

Many of my projects start with video content that’s already been created. I’ll get a YouTube link and turn that into multiple videos.

I typically:

  • Add an end or start title screen.
  • Make it square.
  • Try different lengths.
  • Create GIFs or boomerangs.
  • Edit a short highlights reel/trailer.

Here’s a group of GIFs I created from pre-existing Malibu Rum video content:

To Wrap It Up

I’ve learned a lot this past year.

Regardless of what’s working, it all boils down to being creative and putting quality content in the world.

It takes time, it takes effort, but it’s worth it.


Interested in video production for Facebook and Instagram?


Lance Miller

Level Set Films, San Francisco Bay Area

Lance Miller is a filmmaker and owner of Level Set Films, a video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches what he's learned about business on his site Freedom Everything.