When you create marketing videos, you will need to choose a format to encode them in. If you aren’t familiar with video file formats, that can be confusing and you may not know which is best.
Although choosing a video format can be complicated, there are ways you can use to make it easier for you to find the right format for your purpose.
However, it’s important to first understand what each of the different video format will actually do.
Understanding Digital Video Formats
To put it simply, a video format denotes the method used to store the digital data of the video in a file. A digital video file consists of two parts: a codec and a container. The video fformat is usually named after its container.
- Video codecs are the part of the format that encodes the video data and compresses it to be stored in the file. It also then decodes it and decompresses it so that it can be viewed. Examples of “codecs” are DivX, XviD, and FFMpeg.
- Video containers are the wrapping that hold together the various parts of the video, including the video data, audio data, and other components. Some containers support numerous other components, such as captions, chapters, and so on.
The format that your video is in consists of both its container and its codec. The codec will determine the compression that the video uses, while the format will determine its support for other features. Both are important when it comes to marketing videos. Understanding them can help you to decide on the best format to use for different video marketing purposes and delivery.
Best Video Delivery Formats for Different Marketing Uses
Typically, marketing videos are encoded in ‘delivery’ formats, because they will be ‘delivered’ to end users or published in various forms. However, the exact delivery formats that are used can vary, mostly based on how the video is to be used or published.
Some of the more common ways in which marketing videos are used and the best delivery formats for them are:
- General distribution
If your marketing video is being generally distributed, compatibility is your main concern. It is important that the format you use can be viewed on practically any device - seeing as you can’t be certain what devices or platforms people will be using to watch it.
As things stand, MP4 with H.264 is best in that regard, and is supported by the majority of devices and platforms nowadays.
- Publishing on online streaming platforms and social media
Many of your marketing videos will probably be published on online streaming platforms, such as YouTube, or on other social networking platforms. In such cases, it is best to choose a format based on the recommended format by the platform the video will be published on.
YouTube’s recommended settings, for example, is MP4 with H.264 – as do most other platforms. Some exceptions do exist, however, so make it a point to check.
- Publishing as HTML5 video
When you self-host marketing videos on your website, it’s best to publish them as HTML5 video. Although there are no formal restrictions on the formats you can use, you will need to choose formats that are supported by the majority of web browsers.
Once again MP4 with H.264 is a safe choice because it is supported by almost all browsers. Other formats like WebM and Ogg can be used to reduce bandwidth consumption, but because they aren’t supported by Safari or Internet Explorer a fallback will be required.
- Burning video DVDs
If you want to distribute or store your marketing video on a physical video DVD, you need to be aware that DVD formats have strict specifications. The best format to use is MPEG-2, and it is the only format that most DVD players are able to read.
- Viewing on a specific device or platform
If you know your video is going to be viewed on a specific device or platform, check what formats the platform supports. In such cases, consider MP4 with H.264 as the ‘safe’ option, but if formats that have better compression like HEVC (H.265) or WebM (VP9) are supported by the platform, then you can use them instead.
By using a format with better compression, you can reduce the file size of your video without any notable effect on its quality.
There you have it. That should cover most of the common ways in which you may want to use your marketing videos. If your videos have already been encoded in different formats in the past, you may want to convert them to a different format based on your specific needs. For example, you can convert AVI to MPEG online using one of the many online video converters.
As you can now tell, choosing a format to encode your marketing videos based on how they’ll be used is relatively easy – and quite important for the success of your campaigns.
Remember that the formats supported on some platforms may change from time to time, and newer formats may replace older ones. So, be sure to keep updated on this, and adjust your choice of video formats as and when it is necessary.