First and foremost, ask yourself this – How are you holding your mobile phone? Vertically, in portrait mode, right? The emergence of social platforms and smartphones have seen a huge change in how we consume content. We are witnessing one of the greatest media shifts of our generation: the adamant change from horizontal to vertical videos.

Snapchat pioneered the vertical rise in the social space. Twitter followed, then Instagram and Facebook took the leap in a big way with their ‘Stories’ functions.

With the phenomenal adoption of mobile – both the ability to record and view video in portrait mode, and consumers increasingly preferring to do exactly that – has made it a trend that brands cannot afford to ignore for much longer.

What Makes These Vertical Videos Better?

  1. Everything is convenient with mobile.

Vertical is king when it comes to smartphones. Increased smartphone usage – texting, calling, scrolling news feed, viewing videos etc, means that vertical video format can be a very impactful medium. There is no denying that the few moments of your day where you have time to access your social networks on your phones is when you are at home watching TV, commuting to and from work or while having your lunch break. And usually in none of them would you use a desktop to do that.

  1. It is made for social.

The more the world goes mobile, the more social networks will follow the trend. Not only are vertical videos mobile-friendly, they are also optimised for mobile experiences. With that reason, in 2017 – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube decided to remove black bars on vertical videos to give users a more pleasant experience.

  1. Focus on what matters.

Vertical videos allow users to focus on what really matters – your brand or product. They will get to experience a video that takes up their entire screen instead of a small portion of the screen. Vertical on mobile is immersive and it ensures that you have the user’s full attention – no other content is drawing their attention away, no comment section to pique their curiosity, just your video on a full screen for the full experience.

  1. We all want minimal effort.

Your audience is lazy. It takes a lot (for most people) to continuously turn their phone screens horizontally every time they have to watch a video. People are so used to viewing their phones vertically. Because of this, vertical videos have better completion rates.

Vertical Music Videos

With the way we’re consuming videos on our mobile phones, brands and even musicians have hopped onto the bandwagon of vertical videos. More musicians are experimenting with creative ways to optimise their videos for mobile viewing.

Here’s one from Sam Smith – How Do You Sleep?

Here’s one we made for BeachbodyGear:

A Great Challenge for Creatives

As a creative myself, it can be a little challenging to create moving visuals in portrait format – for the fact that you’ve spent your earlier lives watching videos horizontally. But at the same time, it narrows you down to know what to really focus on.

Here’s a favourite of mine from a creative agency, Parallel Studio – that actually challenged the whole vertical format, and I’m sure has inspired a lot more creatives out there.

Is Vertical Video Really the Future?

Yes and no. Vertical isn’t just a trend or a fad that will fade away; it’s going to continue to be an important part of video marketing, social media marketing, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. It is definitely hard to imagine smartphones going anywhere anytime soon. Our reliance on social media channels to host and share content certainly complicates things. But it is also quite unbelievable to think that we’ll be rotating our televisions or redesigning movie theatres anytime soon.

Ultimately, the rise of vertical videos does not mean the end of horizontal video. It is simply another aspect to consider in terms of your brand’s regular video production.