Video formats can be confusing. .avi, .wmv, .mp4, .mov & a slew of other formats.
Video is important. It's a growing area for online marketing. Videos are coming up in regular search results. Google bought YouTube. If you're not currently using video to market your business - think again.
The ability to grab video is easier than ever before. Nearly everyone has access to a smartphone, mini-camcorder, camera, or a flip-cam. All shoot decent video. Editing video is getting simpler, especially with Apple software. But here's a point that gets lost. Video file formats can be a stumbling block. Unless you know about formats and compression and file sizes and compatibility - it can get challenging to get video to work for you.
Here's some hopefully helpful info regarding video formats that are best to use on your website or on a social media marketing channel (such as YouTube).
For the Internet, smaller file sizes are key. Even as the Internet's capacity for video delivery grows, and as most people connect via broadband, it is still best to keep file sizes as small as possible. A large video file is more likely to stall and drive the would-be viewer crazy. The smaller the file size, the easier it will stream, which may very well make the difference between whether a website visitor (potential customer) bothers to watch or not.
This Atlanta Search Engine Marketing Firm Recommends MP4 for Internet Sharing
MP4 is a great sharing format for the internet. It's fairly small but it looks quite clean. It’s the video format employed by a growing number of devices. This format is highly recommended.
In fact, YouTube recommends using MP4 format. YouTube accepts multiple formats, and then converts them all to .flv or .mp4 for distribution.
Here's a list of some other well-known formats that YouTube supports:
- WebM files
- .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files - Typically supporting h264 compression
- .AVI - Many cameras output this format
- .FLV - Adobe Flash video
More and more online video publishers are moving to MP4 (using H.264 as the video compression mode) as the standard internet sharing format with use within both Flash players as well as HTML5. MP4 is the recommended format for online video delivery.
.MOVe Over .FLV and .WMV
.MOV is the file extension used for Apple Quick Time movies. .MOV is an extremely common sharing format. It is considered one of the best looking and it does indeed look great but the files sizes are big. QuickTime versions and players exist on almost all PCs. Some people argue that QuickTime is far superior to similar Windows based applications.
Now let's discuss the .flv format. Flash video is the single most common sharing format on the web today. You’ll see the .FLV file extension on videos encoded by Adobe Flash software to play within the Adobe Flash Player. Virtually everyone (99%) has the adobe player installed in their browser and so this has fast become the most common online video viewing platform.
Almost all the video sharing sites stream video in flash. One can upload formats other than flash, and those sites will convert it into flash for streaming to the end user.
Notable users of the Flash Video format include YouTube, Yahoo! Video, MySpace, and many others. Most of those sites accept uploads in formats like QuickTime, mpeg4, or wmv, and then they convert it to flash or MP4 before actually putting it out on the net. In addition to the nearly universal flash video player, FLV is popular because it gives one of the smallest file sizes after compression yet it retains fairly good quality.
Although FLV’s are the most common format found on the web today, the standard is moving towards the use of using MP4 H.264 files within flash players as it is compatible with both online and mobile, not to mention some HTML5 browser support (Safari, Chrome). Source: An Overview of Internet Video File Formats - Video Containers ©2008-2011 ReelSEO.com Online Video Guide
If you're considering adding video to your online marketing tool box - seek out a full internet marketing service.