Stand up to stand out

vertical video

Video is a hot trend that’s continuing to gain traction in the content marketing arena. The latest twist is one that’s super simple but makes a surprisingly big impact. If you want your video to get more views, just go vertical!

Can the orientation of a video really make a meaningful difference? That’s such a minimal change it’s hard to imagine that it would have any effect. And yet it does. A slew of research reports indicate that vertical videos are more appealing, garner more views, and deliver vastly higher completion and conversion rates. For example, data from an Animaker case study showed vertical video getting dramatically higher numbers of views as well as significantly increased engagement compared to identical content in a horizontal orientation.

If vertical video is so much more effective at enticing viewers (not to mention cost-efficient!), then why has the standard presentation traditionally been horizontal? That’s an easy one: because video as a marketing tool emerged before smartphones became ubiquitous. Horizontal video makes sense on a desktop (or television or movie screen). Just a few years ago, the internet was awash in articles exhorting smartphone users to record video in the “proper” orientation, i.e. horizontally.

Now that there’s a smartphone in every pocket, however, vertical video has become the better form. That’s because nearly everyone scrolls down their social media feeds while holding the phone in an upright position, and mobile accounts for the majority of internet traffic. Creating videos that match the orientation of the device is an effective way to reduce the friction that limits users’ willingness to click and watch.

Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat now not only allow but encourage vertical video. In fact, Instagram’s latest platform, IGTV, is specifically for long-form vertical videos.

It’s clear that the old rules favoring horizontal video are dead, and the current push for vertical video makes sense with today’s technology trends. If you want to maximize engagement and conversion from your video content, be sure to keep the phone upright.


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Sarah Warlick

Sarah Warlick founded Proof Positive Content to provide professional service firms with high-quality content that resonates with their target audiences. Sarah's writing appears in books, on the websites of over a dozen Top 100 Accounting Firms and in Accounting Today, Forbes and other leading publications, but usually under another name. Ghostwriters rarely get the glory - their clients do!