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The Best Video File Formats for Video Marketing

Businesses are always on the hunt for the best practices when it comes to promoting their brand. Sometimes, that means getting down to the nitty-gritty of things like, say, knowing the best video file formats for content like demo ads or explainer videos for your business.

So if you’re here, your intention is likely to build a solid marketing plan. You hope to know the technical aspects of video editing and marketing so you can approach it correctly. We’re here to help you do just that, starting with the best video file formats you can use for your content. 

What are Video File Formats?

As with any part of a marketing campaign, understanding the elements that mold it can help you make better decisions. It’s the same for video file formats and figuring out the best ones for your business.

After reading the information here, you’ll get acquainted with the video types top social media platforms use, know where and how to reach your target audience, and shape your video marketing strategy into a bridge toward your goals in no time.

Let’s begin with the building blocks of video file formats. The common misconception with this topic is you can easily determine the video format by looking at the string of letters at the end of the filename. 

Technically, this is what we refer to as the file extension, which forms only one part of video file formats.

Video file formats are made up of two things — the codec and the container. Codecs, which stands for coder-decoder, “digitally encodes” the frames that make up a video, says author and former computing and future studies professor Christopher Barnatt in a video on ExplainingComputers.

Containers act as a “wrapper” holding all the media files (video, audio, subtitles) together, he adds. They’re also what the file extension is pertaining to.

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However, to avoid confusion, we’ll continue to refer to them as video file formats in this article and gradually shift to their technical term “containers”. 

Image credits to Canva

6 of the Best Video File Formats (or Containers) for Marketing

So what are the best video file formats you need to know to achieve your marketing goals? To answer this, we need to consider several factors. 

  • What platform are you going to use?
  • What video marketing style are you planning to produce?
  • Who is your target audience?

The social media platform you use will help you decide on a container or video file format. Knowing the video marketing style will allow you to choose the appropriate format. And identifying your audience will narrow down both the platform you use and the video marketing style you need.

So let’s get down to the first order of business — the social media platform. When it comes to video marketing, you’ll want to upload dynamic content on highly accessible sites. And if you want to reach a large audience, you’ll have to upload your videos in one or more of the following channels:

  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Vimeo
  • DailyMotion

To make things easier for you, we listed the two universal formats, which are compatible on all sites. We also included a list of other file formats that can be easily converted to either of the two.

Note that all these containers can store video, audio, and other data vital to a fully developed video output. They make editing easier on the editors and the viewing experience captivating for the audience.

The Best Video Containers to Use for Social Media

MPEG-4 Part 14 or .MP4: This is the gold standard of video file formats. Universal and widely used in video marketing, the .MP4 container optimizes and compresses video files by reducing their file size, a post on Adobe says. 

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It’s compatible with all editing software, operating systems, web and mobile applications — literally any digital platform you can think of. So if you want your video to run smoothly on all and any of the above-stated platforms, stick with this container.

QuickTime or .MOV: Those who wish to edit videos on a Mac will encounter this container format a lot. Developed and owned by Apple, .MOV is ideal for video editing done on the QuickTime Player application, an example of an easy beginner editing software application for casual editing. 

It’s also compatible with the operating system of Windows — but you’ll have to download QuickTime first to play .MOV files there.

Great Containers for Streaming Channels

Windows Media Player or .WMV: Old and reliable, the .WMV container by Microsoft is also popular for compressing and reducing a video file’s size without sacrificing a ton of quality. It’s primarily used for editing on Microsoft’s proprietary editor. 

The catch is .WMV files don’t run on Mac and Apple devices. But if you’re planning to use them solely on a Windows device, you don’t have to worry. You can convert a .WMV file into either .MP4 or .MOV. 

While not supported by all social media platforms, this container is supported by YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and several types of LinkedIn videos.

Audio Video Interleave or .AVI: Also owned by Microsoft, this container is one of the oldest in the video industry. What makes it different from .WMV is it’s uncompressed, making files much larger. However, it’s compatible with macOS Catalina and later releases.

Platforms such as YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and some parts of LinkedIn support this video container.

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Flash Video or .FLV: Made by Adobe, this video container’s strong suit is the web browser. .FLV is great for playing animation and any type of video; however, if your browser doesn’t have the Adobe Flash Player, content may not be viewable. 

On the bright side, flash videos are supported by YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo, and certain types of video content on LinkedIn.

Aside from these, the graphics interchange format or .GIF is another great format you can use for dynamic content. While it technically doesn’t count as a type of video container, .GIF is still a fine format for B2C marketing. It’s supported primarily by Facebook and Twitter.

Image credits to Canva

The Best Video File Formats or Containers for Video Marketing Styles: Are there Exact Matches?

Before exporting your video, you might be wondering which container’s the most suitable for your goals. Should you use .MP4 or .MOV? Or would it be better to keep the container you used on your editing program?

Generally, .MP4 is the safest container. With it, you won’t be running into as many compatibility and playability issues. So for guaranteed wider reach, .MP4 is the way to go.

However, if your target platform is any video streaming site, you’re safe to use the other video file formats we listed here. Ultimately, if the contents of your video are compelling enough, you’re sure to hook an audience either way.

In Summary

The best video containers for universal use and social media platforms are:

  • .MP4
  • .MOV

Other great containers you can use for streaming channels are:

  • .WMV
  • .AVI
  • .FLV

Ready to make video content that moves your viewers to action? Outsource video editing services to an experienced team today. Contact us chat box or social media channels! You can also reach us through email at sales@narrasoft.com.