Despite vertical video being a subconscious default for video consumption, few are actually thinking about creating vertical video as their primary video format. Below is a list of 5 reasons why you should (and one reason why you shouldn’t)
1 - Video is watched on a vertical screen
Studies suggest that 94% of the time, people are using their phone vertically. Just think about your own consumption of content, from social media, to banking, reading the news and even listening to music, it is all done vertically. If you are reading this article on your phone (as 28% of our audience does) you are almost certainly doing it vertically. Furthermore, 70% don’t bother flipping their phone even when faced with a widescreen video.
Combined with the fact that over 75% of all online videos (an old statistic, so possibly more now) are watched on mobile devices you can see that around 70% of all videos watched online are going to be consumed on a device that is held vertically.
2 - Wasted real estate
A widescreen video shown on a vertical mobile phone only uses 31% of the screen, that’s a lot of screen space that is not being used. Filling the screen will make videos more engaging and impactful.
3 - Looks out of place on some of the biggest platforms out there
Most of the main platforms now favour vertical video. Watching video on SnapChat, IGTV, Tiktok and even (usually behind the trend curve) Facebook is almost entirely a vertical affair. If your video is not shot originally in a vertical format and its intended destination is one of these channels it will look very obviously out of place.
4 - All the cool kids are doing it
All the big brands will now be creating videos originally in a vertical format. For a long time they would cut and edit their landscape videos to work in portrait but now they are shooting in vertical format first.
The creators of Mad Max, shat a trailer specifically for vertical viewing -
Taking it one step further confectionary brand StarBurst used the format as part of their branding for their new spin off sweet Swirlers with the line “It’s like starburst but vertical”
5 - Performs really well
According to a few studies, vertical videos performed better than both square and widescreen videos. In research that compared vertical to square video format, vertical was around 30% cheaper on a CPC basis and around 50% cheaper in cost per view. They also performed better in watch duration, engagement and ad recall.
Vertically challenged - where vertical videos come up short
It is worth noting however that it is not all roses for vertical videos, you do still need to produce horizontal videos. Video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo are still predominantly horizontal and consumers still prefer them that way.
Despite Samsung inventing a TV that automatically swivels when a vertical video is shown, TV is still a device used to watch videos and will remain landscape for a long time yet. Also audiences do not seem ready to really indulge in premium content in a vertical format. Failed video platform Quibi which focused exclusively on vertical videos spectacularly failed in only 9 months, even after raising $1.7B.