The Case For Vertical Video Is Stacking Up

The Case For Vertical Video Is Stacking Up

By myclever™ Agency

For years, there’s been a backlash against videos filmed vertically.

If you’re not sure what we mean, this is an example of a vertical video:

As a video viewing population, we’re extremely accustomed to the landscape orientation. It’s how we’ve viewed films, television and (in most cases) digital videos for as long as they’ve been available to the general public.

Physiologically speaking, (as our puppet friends above pointed out) we see things better in a wide-screen style because that’s how our eyes are set up. Vertical videos can feel like you’re missing something, especially when they’re trying to fit more than one person on screen.

The other big issue with vertical videos is the empty space. Viewed on traditional screens, a vertical video leaves an empty, black bar on either side of the action.

Well, now that mobiles lead our social accessing habits (80% of social is accessed on mobile devices), this is a significantly smaller problem.

As the surge in media consumption steers sharply towards mobile devices with built-in cameras, the full screen offerings of vertical videos is beginning to appeal to marketers.

That’s because the change in consumption habits are changing the way people want to see videos.

The Not-So-Big Screen

Shocking as it sounds, today’s children prefer to watch shows on their devices than television.

A Milner & Co. study found that 57% of children are happier using handheld devices, and that many equate watching on the television to being punished.

Already, we’re seeing a whole generation of consumers who are more comfortable with their iPads than the remote control. As these children grow into the largest proportion of the buying public, their usage habits will be the go-to style for marketers.

YouTube Vs Facebook

Facebook recently announced plans to share ad revenues with content publishers, much in the same vein as YouTube does.

Their intention, obviously, is to continue to compete with YouTube, but drawing in its own community of vloggers and publishers. We’ve seen with YouTubers that careers can be made hosting innovative and entertaining channels.

With both platforms optimising themselves for mobile users, it’s only a matter of time until the shift in style tilts in favour of vertical videos. Combined, the two had approximately 1.71 trillion views in Q1 this year (according to Ampere Analysis via Marketing Week).

Both platforms offer a more targeted means of reaching specific audiences

Live Streaming

With Periscope (and the lesser spotted Meerkat), the norm is for viewers who hold their phones in the standard, upright position. In fact, Periscope has no horizontal feature, and no plans to release one.

This latest innovation for brands provides opportunities to reward loyal viewers with behind-the-scenes glimpses, exclusive reveals, interviews and unseen footage. All of it in the tall and skinny style of vertical videos.

Oh, Snap!

As people begin to accept vertical videos in their daily social habits, the biggest plaatform to monetise the format has to be Snapchat.

They recently introduced the 3V product to give brands a means to reach the millennial audience that lives on the app:


Snapchat states that their vertical video ads experience nine times as many completed views as horizontal.

Only last month, network provider Vodafone announced that 75% of mobile messaging data is used on Snapchat. That’s not to say three out of every four messages is a ‘Snap’ – merely  three quarters of our data is being used on the (significantly bigger file-size) image sharing app, than a standard text, iMessage or Whatsapp message. Since the release of Snapchat’s Discover feature in January, Vodafone has witnessed the average data consumption for the app quadruple to 400 MB/s.

Clearly, vertical videos have a viewing public.

Content Is Still King

Regardless of your format, the content of your videos has to be compelling.

While Facebook recently tested a 10-second video view for ads, YouTube still considers a view to be 30 seconds. For any video ad to hit the mark, you still have to keep your viewers interested.

“Welcome To The World Of Tomorrow”

Frankly, my sci-fi-loving inner child is still frustrated that we’re viewing on flat screens at all.

The most recent innovations in augmented reality and 360-degree videos mean that it is only a matter of time until we start to see things in three dimensions and the aspect ratio battle of horizontal vs. vertical are a thing of the past.

Don’t believe me? Check this out (skip ahead to 02:34 for the really juicy stuff):


Over To You

What do you think? How are you making the most of vertical videos?

This post was written by myclever™ Agency

Exceptional marketing is driven by human insight. myclever™ Agency craft beautiful, useful and engaging experiences with social media at the heart.