How to compress video for social media and why you need it


Every year, popular messengers and social networks offer more and more new features. And now the most popular form of content is video – short clips, long clips, storis – there are more and more formats.

Some videos can be recorded directly in Instagram and TikTok apps and published immediately. However, if you’re shooting a video for publication on YouTube, VKontakte or for your Instagram profile, you’re likely to edit it in other programs. Therefore, it is advisable to reduce the size of the video before uploading it to social networks.

Why? Because compressing the video won’t make much difference to the person who will watch it, especially if you save the quality of the clip. But on the “uploading” side, a smaller video will speed up the time it takes to upload.

Video compression for social media: what you need to know

Video compression hides a lot of pitfalls, since video size is directly related to quality. That means the lighter the file, the worse the quality. This method is called “lossy compression” and is used in standard conversion.

Lossless compression is a way to reduce the size of the file so that the video can be restored to its original quality when converting it back. Different methods of lossless data compression are used by file archivers. For video, video quality can only be maintained if you change the video container, not the codec or bit rate.

Optimal video settings for social networks

Before you start converting and compressing videos let’s find out what video parameters are optimal for popular social networks. In general, they’re pretty much the same, and every year social networks increase their video hosting capabilities.

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How to reduce video size

Even though social networks support videos up to 256GB, it’s worth compressing your video in order to reduce the time it takes to upload and process it. There are three ways to compress video with different outcomes for quality. You can convert and compress files using desktop programs, online tools and even apps on your smartphone. In this article, we use screenshots of different programs to reduce video size.

Method 1: Change the file format

Different formats (or containers) use different codecs that provide different levels of data compression. Accordingly, this affects the quality and size of the video file. If you compare the two formats supported by all social networks – MOV and MP4 – then MP4 provides stronger video compression. On the iPhone, video is saved in MOV by default, so you can either change the format in the settings or convert it with a third-party program. Android phones and tablets record video in MP4 by default.

Method 2: Change the video resolution

Video resolution is the next factor that directly affects the file size. For social media, you don’t have to choose the lowest video resolution at all to reduce the size of the video. For example, if you change the resolution from 4K to 1080p, the file will be lighter with almost no loss in quality.

Option 3: Change the video bitrate

And the last method to reduce video weight is to change the video bitrate. However, this is the most radical method because the video quality will be greatly degraded.

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To summarize. Reducing the size of video is good for the time it takes to upload it to social networks and messengers. It’s not a required action, but if you keep the high quality at the smallest possible video size, you’ll save a lot of time.

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