Following the recent Instagram video post, I wanted to show you how to post a video on Facebook with the highest quality possible. Even with all the controversies surrounding it, Facebook continues to serve as the leading platform for social media advertising. At 2.6 billion monthly active users, it dominates the medium and serves as a sound way for creators, influencers and business owners to get their product or service across. It's an essential marketing tool for creators.
But to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, you need to know how to post a video on Facebook with high quality. Whether posting to your feed, stories, or live video, having the right file type and format, dimensions, and export specifications will put you on track to stand out.
Best Facebook Video & Audio Format
Despite being able to support multiple video formats, the most recommended is MP4. This is short for MPEG video and is like H.264, which is also fine to use. Luckily, this is already widely used on other social media platforms, so you’re free to transfer one completed edit to another. This video quality can be exported from your editing software (typically Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X) to their specific technical specifications.
As for audio, it’s best to use AAC with the audio compression at 128kbps+, rather than mp3. These are the highest quality and can be used in your editing software as well. If you’re using an audio platform like Artlist, download AAC files as opposed to mp3. Making sure you have the best quality sound is important, but keep in mind that around 85% of all video on Facebook is watched without any sound at all. This puts extra importance on having the best video you can.
Best Facebook Aspect Ratios
Aspect ratio can be a confusing term for some, so let’s break it down: it refers to the dimensions of the video on the screen, and is defined in “horizontal:vertical” terms. Given that most of the videos seen on Facebook are shared posts, they tend to follow two distinct viewing modes: landscape and portrait.
Landscape refers to videos that are wider than they are tall, thus, have a horizontal orientation. On the contrary, portrait refers to videos that are taller than they are wide, and necessarily have a vertical orientation. You can also make your videos square, with the dimensions identical, but this is the less popular option. You’ll use the following aspect ratios for each option:
- Landscape – 16:9 – 1280x720 pixels
- Portrait – 9:16 – 1280x720 pixels
- Square – 1:1 – with a minimum of 600x600 pixels
FYI, you’ll also want to keep in mind that Facebook accepts feed videos of up to 4GB that are in fixed frame rates (no more than 30fps), have a progressive scan and H.264 compression.
Also, once the video is on the mobile app, they will automatically switch to 2:3 aspect ratio for those screens.
Facebook Video Lengths
The length of each video varies depending on where you choose to upload – Feed, Stories, 360 Video, Carousel, Slideshow Video Ads, and Collection Video Ads. Here are the specs for each:
- Feed: Up to 120 minutes
- Stories: Up to 15 seconds
- 360 Video: Up to 40 minutes
- Carousel: Up to 30 seconds (although looping allows up to 90 seconds)
- Slideshow Video Ads: Up to 120 minutes
- Collection Video Ads: Up to 120 minutes
It should be noted that not every video size can be up to 4GB. 360 video accepts up to 1.75GB, while Carousel accepts up to 2.3GB. While you cannot go beyond the limits set, you may run into the problem of having a video far shorter than the maximum length. No worries. Simply loop the video in your editing software, and it will play likewise. If you upload a video into stories that is longer than the max, it will split into 15-second clips.
How to Export Your Facebook Videos
You’re most likely to be editing in either Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro X. Follow these instructions for the best quality output.
Exporting from Adobe Premiere
Send the composition to Adobe Media Encoder for output
- Select the composition for output.
- Choose Composition > Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue. (Allow Media Encoder time to launch if it is closed.)
Set the Media Encoder settings
- Set the Format drop-down menu in the Queue panel to H.264.
- Set the Preset drop-down menu to Match Source – High bitrate.
- Click Match Source – High bitrate (blue text) to open the Export Settings panel.
- In the Video tab, scroll down to Bitrate Settings, and change Target Bitrate (Mbps) to 3.5. Click OK.
- Click the blue text in the Output File column to name and specify where to save the file.
- Save the file to cloud storage so that you can access the file for uploading through Instagram on your portable device.
Exporting from Final Cut Pro X:
- Click on File, Share and then click Master File
- Go to Export settings and make sure the video codec is H.284 Faster Encode
- Choose Computer as the format. Also, shoot for a maximum file size of 20 megabytes or lower, if possible
- Hit Next and save your project to your desktop.
How to Upload the Best Quality Facebook Videos
Congratulations on getting this far! Now it’s time to get your video on Facebook without compromising the quality.
It’s important your work is uploaded directly from your desktop computer or laptop, rather than your mobile device. This will ensure that the integrity of your video remains intact. Make sure that your WIFI connection is strong while uploading so that no interruptions take place.
Be aware while uploading that different formats (Feed, 360, Carousel, etc.) carry different file size maximums, but that you are allowed a preview to determine which format does justice to the video you wish to upload. During the preview, the grid will naturally crop the image according to its respective specs. This is the final step before upload, so make sure you don’t accidentally crop someone or thing that you want to remain in the video.
Once the final image is to your liking, press upload and be proud of your work.
To recap, here’s how to upload the best quality Facebook videos:
- Record your video in the appropriate aspect ratio and resolution depending on your desired Facebook output (Feed, Stories, 360, or Carousel)
- Export file type MP4 or H.264 codec
- Format to AAC audio
- Export at 3500 kbps bitrate
- Use a frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second)
- In your export, pay attention to aspect ratio for each format -- Feed, Stories, 360, or Carousel
- Use a Facebook video aspect ratio of 9:16 for Stories and IGTV videos
- Format videos to at least 1080 pixels wide
- Note the video length differences for each format, from 15 seconds to 120 minutes
- Upload from the Facebook browser rather than the app
- Use a strong WIFI connection
Learning how to post a video on Facebook with the highest quality may seem like a lot of work, but it pays off. In the last year, 71% of Facebook users increased their viewing of videos, and 60% are expected to in the next year. That leaves no shortage of opportunity for your videos to be watched and enjoyed, as long as you do the upfront work of creating the best content that you can. The steps outlined will help you do just that!
Jessica Peterson is a travel and documentary filmmaker with a background in journalism and marketing. She has 20 years of experience producing content in 114 cities and 25 countries. In 2016, she directed and produced her own documentary about her then-home of Guam. Working under the name Global Girl Travels, her clients include CNN, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Matador Network, and Tastemade.