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So, what’s up with vertical videos?

So, what’s up with vertical videos

Should marketers be producing videos in vertical orientation? We look into this relatively new trend and bring you into the frame.

Why vertical?

Videos have traditionally been shot in landscape (horizontal) orientation and for good reason to, the human eye tracks better on the horizontal plane and most videos were viewed on a computer monitor which has a landscape orientation. So why the sudden move to portrait (vertical) videos? The obvious answer is smartphones. We naturally hold them in a vertical orientation, and this is how 98% of people see their social feeds.

Where did it all start?

Not too long-ago videos shot in vertical orientation were considered amateurish and resulted in large black bars on either side of the video and produced a small, unpleasant to view, video that was guaranteed to make viewers scroll on. But in 2015 that all changed when the pioneers of vertical video, Snapchat, reported a 9x higher completion rate of vertical video ads as opposed to horizontal ads. This made marketers and other platforms sit up and pay attention. Facebook followed in 2016 and Twitter in 2017. When Instagram launched IGTV in 2018 all videos were required to be in vertical format although horizontal videos are also supported as of May 2019.

People are lazy

The average viewer is more likely to watch a video if they do not have to turn their phone and tap to expand to full screen. There are a few other reasons vertical videos are receiving more views, the most important of which is that a vertical video fills a much larger part of the screen in a social media feed making it more engaging and less likely to be lost as a blur in a casual viewer’s scroll.

So, what’s up with vertical videos B

Source louisem.com

Most home videos are recorded in vertical format so when a viewer sees a video in horizontal format, they associate it with an ad and are more likely scroll past. Finally, vertical videos get more preference from the main social media platforms they recognise the popularity of vertical videos and are giving their people what they want.

How to create the ideal vertical video

Here are a few tips when recording a vertical video:

  1. Avoid too much horizontal movement
  2. Don’t be afraid to zoom in on details
  3. If you are filming yourself keep it personal, introduce yourself, say hello and look at the camera
  4. If you are filming someone or something else, keep the subject centred in the shot

Remember that while vertical video has many advantages for social media feeds traditional horizontal videos still work best for formats mostly viewed on a desktop like emails and YouTube

Finally choose the right aspect ratio for the platform you are posting on. These are the recommended ratios for the main social media platforms:


Aspect Ratio: 4:5

Pixel Size: 1080 x 1350


Aspect Ratio: 9:16

Pixel Size: 1080 x 1920


Aspect Ratio: 1:1

Pixel Size: 640 x 640


Aspect Ratio: 9:16

Pixel Size: 1080 x 1920

Main Take-out

For platforms that are mostly viewed on a smartphone vertical videos are the preferred format. Knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities this offers can have a large impact on your ad’s success.

If you would like to learn how to harness the power of social media and gain an in-depth understanding of how each social media platform works, then IMM’s Social Media Marketing short course is for you! This practical course will equip you with the skills to set-up and manage your own social media accounts.  For more information on the courses we offer, call 0861 466 476 or visit www.imm.ac.za