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Uploading and sharing links to videos

There are two ways to share videos to your social channels through Buffer. The first way is to upload your video within the composer and the second way is to share a link to the video. This guide provides an overview of how videos will appear and behave on each social network.

  Video Upload Video Link
Facebook
Instagram Technically possible but not recommended
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

📝 Please note, it's only possible to include one video per post at this time.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Video upload requirements
  2. Custom thumbnails and titles
  3. How videos appear on Facebook
  4. How videos appear on Instagram
  5. How videos appear on Twitter
  6. How videos appear on LinkedIn
  7. How videos appear on Pinterest

Video upload requirements

Buffer currently supports videos up to 1GB in the file formats of mp4, mov, or avi. The video you upload will be converted to MP4 encoded with H264, and a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (HD). Larger files are likely to be compressed to ensure they can be posted to the social network, but quality loss should be minimal. Unfortunately, we can't support Apple ProRes or raw camera formats like ARRI and RED at this time.

Why is my video taking a while to upload?

When a video file is uploaded, there are a few steps the file needs to go through, including checking the file to ensure it can be passed over through the API, having AWS (Amazon Web Services) transcode the file, and generating potential thumbnails. When generating thumbnails, we look for a different thumbnail every 15 seconds. This means that for a video that is 30 minutes long, we would try to generate at least 120 different images. This can be a key factor that affects the upload speed.

Depending on the file size, the length of the video, and the connection speed, each of these things could take different lengths of time and determine how long the overall process takes.

Custom thumbnails and titles

Choosing a custom thumbnail and title for your video

Once your video has finished uploading, click the small pencil icon at the bottom left of the video to adjust the title and choose a thumbnail. Thumbnails are generated at 15 second intervals of the video. By default, the first frame of the video (0 seconds) will be used as the thumbnail.

Choosing a thumbnail for your Instagram video works a little differently. Once your video has finished uploading, click Edit Cover. From there, drag the slider to the position in the video you'd like to use as the cover image and then click Save cover.

⭐️ The option to choose a cover for your Instagram video is only available on our paid plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

📝 Please note, you are unable to choose a cover if you have Set Instagram Reminders for all posts turned on.

How thumbnails and titles are used on each social network

Since videos appear and behave a little differently on each social network, the thumbnail and title you choose will only be used in certain places.

Facebook Videos in most places on Facebook play automatically so thumbnails are generally not used. Unfortunately, in places where a thumbnail is shown, Facebook does not use the thumbnail you have chosen in Buffer. However, the title you enter will be displayed at the top of the video post.
Instagram Videos on Instagram play automatically on the home screen feed, which means thumbnails are redundant in that location. Therefore, any custom thumbnail you choose will not be displayed there. However, the custom thumbnail will be used as the cover of your video on your Instagram profile grid.
Twitter Videos (whether within Twitter's permitted file limits or not) do not play automatically, which means the thumbnail you choose will be used as the video cover. However, the custom title will only be used if the video is outside of Twitter's permitted file limits, in which case the video will be displayed as a link to Buffer's video player and the custom thumbnail, as well as the title, will be shown.
LinkedIn At this time, Buffer does not support native video uploads for LinkedIn, and therefore, any videos uploaded will be displayed as a link to Buffer's video player. The custom thumbnail you choose will be used as the cover image for the video, and the title will be displayed beneath it.
Pinterest Videos on Pinterest will play automatically unless a user has set their preferences within Pinterest otherwise, so adding a thumbnail/cover image could be helpful. The title of the video will be shown at the bottom of the video in the feed.

How videos appear on Facebook

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published to Facebook. They play automatically in both the home feed and on the Page itself.

Video link

Your Facebook post will include a link preview. Users are able to click on the video link and will be taken to the video in a new browser tab.

How videos appear on Instagram

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published to Instagram. They play automatically on the home screen feed but on your profile grid, the custom thumbnail you've chosen will be shown, and users can tap on it to play the video.

One thing to be aware of is that Instagram's permitted video length is between 3 and 60 seconds. If your video is not within this range when you upload it to the composer, you'll see a message letting you know. You'll need to adjust the video and then re-upload it.

Video link

Instagram do not currently support hyperlinks within captions. Therefore, if you include a link to a video within the composer, it will not be hyperlinked once published. Instead, it would be published as plain text. Users could copy and paste the link from the caption to a new browser window, which would take them to the video. Additionally, when scheduling a post for Instagram, you're required to upload either an image or a video. Therefore, after dropping the link into the composer, you'll still need to choose or upload an image to accompany it. For these reasons, this method is not commonly used and instead, we would recommend using the upload option described above.

How videos appear on Twitter

Video upload

Videos appear natively once published to Twitter, if they are within Twitter’s permitted file limits of 512MB and up to 140 seconds long. Videos are not played automatically on either the timeline or the profile itself, so users will need to click on the video to play it.

📝 Please note, an mp4 file that only contains audio cannot be shared to Twitter. The mp4 file must contain video. If you are looking to share an audio file to Twitter, the best alternative would be to host the audio file elsewhere online and link to it (instead of uploading it within the composer). Twitter would then generate an audio Twitter Card from the link.

Videos that are longer than Twitter’s threshold will be displayed as a link to Buffer's video player. Users are able to click on the video link and it will be played within the Tweet (i.e. as opposed to opening in a new tab or window).

Video link

Your tweet will be displayed as a video post. Users are able to click on the video link and it will be played within the tweet itself (i.e. as opposed to opening in a new tab or window).

How videos appear on LinkedIn

Video upload

At this time, Buffer does not support native video uploads for LinkedIn, and therefore, any videos uploaded will be displayed as a link to Buffer's video player. The custom thumbnail you've chosen will be used as the cover image for the video, and the title will be displayed beneath it. Users are able to click on the video link and will be taken to the video in a new browser tab.

Video link

Your post will include a link preview, and the video will play automatically within the post itself.

How videos appear on Pinterest

Video upload

Because Buffer supports video pins on Pinterest business accounts, your video will play automatically as your followers scan through their feed. The exception to this would be if the follower changed their preferences within Pinterest to prevent automatic video play.

📝 Video pins are only available for Pinterest business accounts. If you happen to have a Pinterest personal account still connected to Buffer from before access to personal accounts was removed in June of 2021, the videos you upload will be displayed as static images. 

If your video plays automatically for a user, your thumbnail/cover image will display as a static image when the video ends. If the user has chosen not to have videos play automatically, your thumbnail/cover image will display in their feed before clicking to play the video.

There are a couple of other pieces to note around your Pinterest video uploads. First, videos can be between 4 seconds and 15 minutes in length. Also, Pinterest suggests using square videos (1:1), or vertical videos with the aspect rations of 2:3, 4:5, or 9:16.

Video link

When scheduling a post for Pinterest, you can choose to use your destination link (formerly known as source link) to point to any URL, including a URL that leads to a video. Whichever destination link you use, Pinterest does require that you upload either an image or a video to the post. Therefore, after dropping the link into the Destination link field, you'll still need to choose or upload an image to accompany it. Once published, your image or video pin will be displayed, and when users click on it, they will be sent to the destination link you included in the Destination link field when composing your post.

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