Why Vertical Video is a Must-Have for Your Brand's Social Media Strategy

March 31, 2023

Before mobile phones, full-screen videos with a 16:9 aspect ratio were the standard for devices like PCs, TVs, and laptops. 

However, our mobile culture has changed this, making vertical video more popular.

Did you know that over 80% of people who watch videos on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok do it on their phones?

This is why it's crucial to adapt to the trend of creating vertical videos that fit perfectly on mobile screens. If you want your videos to be seen by as many people as possible, making them mobile-friendly is crucial.

In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of vertical video for social media, the differences between square and vertical videos, how to convert horizontal videos to vertical, and how to create vertical video content.

What is Vertical Video?

Vertical video is a type of video that is created with the vertical dimensions of a smartphone screen in mind, with a 9:16 aspect ratio. 

This type of video is designed to maximize screen space and provide a better viewing experience on mobile devices. 

It has become increasingly popular as more and more people use their phones to access social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok.

To ensure that your videos are effective on these platforms, it's vital to modify them to fit the vertical dimensions of a smartphone screen. 

As the vertical video revolution continues, it's essential to stay up-to-date with this trend and ensure your videos meet the requirements for optimal viewing on mobile devices.

Why Vertical Videos Win

When Snapchat first debuted in 2011, it drastically revolutionized the game by enabling smartphone users to send each other vertical photographs and videos. 

Since then, vertical content has gained popularity across all the major social media platforms, which have modified their platforms to encourage it. 

In case you need more than this to convince you to watch vertical videos, AdNews discovered that 70% of millennials do not flip their phones when watching horizontal videos on their phones.

Nowadays, competing for viewers' interest is only possible by using vertical videos. The question of whether vertical or square videos perform better on social media is still up for dispute.

 If you are filming a video for mobile consumption, shoot a vertical video for mobile.

Why Your Brand Should Focus on Vertical Videos for Social Media

Vertical videos on social media are quickly replacing horizontal ones as the preferred format due to the sharp rise in mobile content consumption over desktop.

When you consider it, it makes sense. Social media video marketing is adjusting to how we produce and consume content with this new emphasis on vertical videos.

And smartphones are frequently used and held vertically. Moreover, videos on smartphones are often shot vertically. Even YouTube has made fullscreen playback available for vertical videos to solve this.

Around 94% of the time, smartphone users hold their devices vertically, according to MOVR's Mobile Overview Report.

Furthermore, according to AdNews, most millennials only bother flipping their devices horizontally when watching videos on their mobile devices.

Stories are frequently viewed vertically on Facebook and Instagram, and one-third of the most popular Instagram Stories are from companies.

Still not persuaded that investing in a vertical video strategy is a good idea for your company?

Snapchat discovered that vertical video ads are watched nine times more often than commercials in the conventional horizontal style.

Mediabrix's research, which shows that vertical videos have 90% greater completion rates than horizontal videos, supports this.

Vertical Videos vs. Square Videos vs. Widescreen Videos

According to a recent study, square videos (1:1) receive 30–35% more views and 80–100% more engagement on social media than widescreen videos (16:9). 

It shows that square videos, as opposed to widescreen, are the most popular format on social media.

A widescreen video will have substantial black margins around the edges when you upload it to Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok. 

These borders essentially occupy space on the viewer's screen without contributing anything. When possible, you must avoid this.

Now that we know that square videos outperform widescreen videos, the key question is which square or vertical videos? 

Vertically dominant platforms include Tik Tok, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories. Uploading a widescreen video on any platform is like trying to outrace a Lamborghini with a horse. 

The results of a series of studies by Buffer on Facebook and Instagram comparing the performance of square versus vertical video content are astounding. 

Facebook and Instagram did much better with vertical video. In their experiments, vertical video content had 6% more views for the first three seconds and 187% more viewers for at least half the video. 

It is safe to say that, when compared to square videos, vertical videos are almost always preferable.

Shooting Vertical Videos

A vertical video is a particular form of presentation that uses portrait rather than landscape orientation. To put this into perspective, consider that most YouTube videos are edited and shot in landscape orientation. Instagram stories and TikTok videos both employ portrait orientation.

In social media marketing, the popularity of vertical video is a relatively recent development. Because of its use in apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and most recently, TikTok, it has recently become widely used.

Considering where you will upload your video before you get out to shoot is crucial. Despite the fact that most platforms favor the vertical orientation, some websites, such as Youtube and Vimeo, are still largely viewed in widescreen (16:9). 

Consider how your audience will use the platform you are filming for and try to make their life as simple as possible. Before providing a video to customers, ask them where they want to host it and if they prefer certain aspect ratios.

Even if you shoot a horizontal video (16:9), you can trim your video after the fact to convert it to a vertical format. 

You may choose your final aspect ratio and crop your video appropriately by importing your video into an editing software or program. It allows you to shoot in widescreen and decide whether to turn your video vertical afterward.

However, utilizing this technique will result in significant resolution loss for your video. As you crop your video, fewer pixels occupy more area, resulting in worse quality. It is best to anticipate whether or not they will view your video vertically before you start shooting and to plan accordingly.

Vertical Video Dimensions and Aspect Ratios

Before we discuss specific social networking sites, it could be helpful to address a possible misunderstanding. When talking about its size, we refer to something's dimensions in the physical world. For instance, you might have a 4x6 or an 8x10 photo.

In the digital realm, we also discuss dimensions typically expressed in pixels. For instance, videos on Facebook must be no smaller than 120px by 120px to be seen.

Nevertheless, we also discuss aspect ratio, the relationship between an image's width and height. Although people may confuse dimensions with aspect ratio, skilled video producers know the distinction.

Your video will display appropriately and be free from distortion or clipping if the proper size and aspect ratio are used. A video with a good appearance has a higher chance of being seen.

10 Tips for Using Vertical Video on Social Media

Hopefully, the preceding vertical video statistics have shown that creating a video and hoping it does well across all platforms, regardless of its particular viewing orientation, is insufficient.

Instead, you must start planning your vertical video from the beginning of the storyboarding and filming stages.

These are our top ten suggestions for making vertical video work for your company on social media:

1. High Production Quality is Not Necessary for Getting Results with Vertical Videos

A joint experiment by Smarties and Animoto showed that excellent marketing outcomes only sometimes emerge from well-produced, polished videos. The experiment compared a DIY video to one that had great production value.

There was no statistically significant performance difference between these two incredibly different styles of videos.

Continually experimenting with various video formats and subjects is more crucial than allocating a significant budget to a promotional video.

If you can afford to produce more content, you will also have the chance to ask for more audience input, which can help improve your efforts.

For smaller organizations and smaller businesses, money is frequently a struggle. A 30-second lengthy, highly polished cinematic production might not be as important as something you can consistently shoot on your phone.

The only people in the crowd who genuinely care about the finer points of production value are those professional video creators who make the videos, not the viewers.

The lesson? Feel free to begin creating a DIY budget. After you show the efficiency of your flashy videos, you can always make more of them.

2. Use the Right Vertical Video Dimensions

If you are creating a video to target users on mobile devices, Facebook advises designing it from the ground up with mobile in mind. Okay, fair enough.

So, in terms of video export dimensions, how does that appear?

Generally speaking, square or vertical formatting makes videos more visible on mobile devices because they occupy more screen space than horizontal formatting.

  • Use a 1:1 or a 4:5 aspect ratio for Facebook and Instagram feeds.
  • Take a 9:16 or 4:5 video to capture the entire Facebook and Instagram Stories screen.
  • Apply 1:1 aspect ratios for all videos in a video carousel format.

Ultimately, for exporting high-quality videos from whichever application you use to make them, the ideal aspect ratio for pure-play vertical videos is 9:16, and the perfect resolution is at least 720p or better with 1080p.

3. Incorporate Little Details (They Can Have a Big Impact)

It is impossible to deny how compelling video marketing can be.

To maximize the effectiveness of your efforts, consider the following components and finishing touches:

Use interactive tools like polls and the question sticker to keep your audience interested in your Instagram Stories. Include calls to action in the video to point viewers toward what you want them to do next. Lastly, add closed captions or burn them in, if necessary.

If your YouTube audience is international, you can enable community-translated content.

4. Connect in Real-Time with a Live Stream

Another prominent new area of video marketing is live broadcasting, which you can use to achieve a vertical video strategy on a budget, particularly in the age of social distancing when many live events are being moved to virtual platforms.

In addition to the chance it offers to develop vertical video content quickly, you can obtain benefits from a live video in the following ways:

  • The capacity to instill urgency for a specific initiative
  • A Chance to speak with your audience directly
  • The process of creating content authenticity
  • The chance to showcase your personality or that of your brand
  • Greater organic reach compared to standard News feed posts

5. Optimize Vertical Video for Viewing without Sound

Did you know that most people do not use sound when watching videos on social media? In actuality, the majority of social networks, by default, set auto-play videos to mute.

Not only can adding captions improve user experience, but it also increases accessibility for users with disabilities and can benefit YouTube SEO.

The key lesson here?

See if the videos make sense without the audio by watching them without it. If they do not, you probably will not get the same excellent results made available by effective video marketing.

6. Capture Attention ASAP (within the First Few Seconds)

You need to optimize your video to grab attention immediately and make sure it makes sense without sound.

Given that the typical social media user scrolls endlessly until they get bored or decide to do something else, the first few seconds of your video need to establish its worth. We do mean immediately.

Also, the stronger your hook, the longer the video. You can post a reasonably long video on social media and still have success, but to get engagement, you need to sell it in the first five seconds.

7. Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Storytelling

Storytelling has always been a crucial component of a successful content marketing strategy since it works regardless of the medium to capture the audience's attention.

Tyler Lessard, the vice president of marketing at Vidyard, shares the four Es of video as they apply to storytelling:

  • Engaging: encouraging viewers to share, like, and comment
  • Emotional: to elicit an emotional response, such as shock, happiness, or sadness.
  • Educational: giving the audience something worthwhile to process and remember
  • Empathetic: to increase audience trust by showing human empathy

8. Treat Each Channel as Unique

You cannot treat social interaction as a second-class citizen. You need to go all out and approach each social channel the same way you would approach any other channel. 

It is more than just a location to mirror your other content.

Instead, treat every platform as distinct regarding video design, social media copy, and even the hashtags you employ to advertise vertical videos.

When time and money permit, think about creating original content for each of your most powerful social platforms instead of employing one piece of content with alternate cuts.

9. Use the Right Tools to Create Vertical Video

On a tight budget?

Not to worry! Because: 

If you use Apple products, iMovie is already pre-installed on your Mac and is available for free mobile device download.

It is a simple-to-use tool for modifying your films to acquire the ideal width and height for vertical video and add extras like components and captions.

Windows Movie Maker, previously available to Windows users, was phased out with Windows 10. 

But you can still edit simple videos via the Photos app's native Video Editor option. Although challenging, you may alter the aspect ratio for vertical videos, add text, apply effects, and play background music.

10. Be an Early Adopter of New Channels

If you will look closely and pay attention, you know that TikTok is an established social media platform and no longer the new kid on the block. Are you still trying to decide whether TikTok should be a part of your brand's social media strategy?

As we previously stated, it is critical to view each social media platform as unique and create content accordingly. It is crucial, especially in this scenario, because the information created on TikTok is so vertically oriented.

Because it is obvious that the non-vertical video content was not created with the app's constraints, it simply does not perform well when modified for TikTok.

If you decide to reuse video content, we advise leveraging TikTok-specific content on other platforms or as inspiration for your content strategy across several platforms - TikTok is a fantastic platform for trying out new content and keeping tabs on trends.

You can also use similar techniques to Instagram Reels.

FAQs: Vertical Video

Why is vertical video a thing?

The vast majority of smartphone users consistently hold their smartphones in portrait mode. It is more convenient and cozy than switching phone positions and rotating each time.

Are vertical videos better?

It has been shown that vertical videos are more visible than horizontal ones. These social videos had a higher completion rate and 13.8x more visibility on Facebook.

What is a vertical video on YouTube?

The YouTube app's video player automatically adjusts to the video's dimensions. For example, if you wish to display a vertical video, it will seem more significant than a landscape video and take up 75% of the screen, with organic content below it.

What are vertical videos called?

A taller frame than the usual broad video is known to be in portrait mode or vertical orientation. It occupies the entire phone screen, directing the user's attention to the playing video.

Is it better to video horizontally or vertically?

In our opening, we hinted at how important vertical phone use is. According to studies, whether we are banking, chatting, making calls, going through our news feeds, or watching movies, we hold our phones vertically.

Conclusion: Vertical Video

Simply said, it entails reconsidering your social media video strategy. It is time to stop doing what you have always done and consider that most of your audience now browses vertically. 

Your videos ought to reflect that knowledge!

It entails questioning a lot of well-held beliefs about social video production. For instance, if you make video blogs, every "how to" manual will instruct you to hold your camera or put your smartphone horizontally.

It is time to experiment with the alternative and compare the vertical video to other formats.

Written By
Kim Pañares

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