Social Media

7 Vertical Video Tips For Social Media Content

Amy Onorato 06.25.2019

Vertical video has quickly become a coveted medium for visual storytellers, especially as mobile viewership and social media engagement continues to rise. According to eMarketer, more than 75 percent of video consumed worldwide is done on a mobile device. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have all created new video experiences that directly cater to vertical video experiences. 

If you’re a business looking to leverage social media or mobile to reach customers, vertical video is a format you just can’t ignore. In an earlier post, we broke down the benefits and basics of vertical video production. Now, we’ll take a closer look at some best practices to make your marketing efforts go the extra mile. 

Vertical Video vs. Horizontal Video 

Vertical video is also referred to as “portrait mode,” which means they’re filmed with an aspect ratio of 9:16. This is vastly different than traditional horizontal video because the video appears taller than it is wide. 

Smartphones will typically automatically resize videos to horizontal aspect ratios when they’re turned sideways. But according to ScientiaMobile, smartphone owners hold their phones vertically 94 percent of the time. Matt Erickson, marketing director, National Positions, says it’s important for video editors to optimize for both aspect ratio formats to provide the best user experience. And in most cases, simply cropping or repurposing horizontal video just isn’t enough. 

More: 11 Easy Ways To Optimize Your Mobile Video

“We have seen far more success when we build alternate vertical versions of videos, taking the taller aspect ratio into account. Otherwise, the cropping of your video can be off and it won’t fit into the frame correctly,” Erickson said. “Can you just crop a completed video? Sure. However, the overall impact may be diminished if you don’t have your visuals optimized for the vertical format.” 

This is especially true when placing ads within social story feeds, which almost exclusively rely on vertical formats. 

“Anytime you are planning video ads that are for placement in social story feeds, vertical video will be your best friend,” Erickson said. “Often, advertisers will use the same wide video from their core Facebook or Instagram ad. This leads to lost real estate when their ad shows up in the vertical stories feed.” 

Vertical Video Opens New Doors For Creative Storytelling 

Great storytelling is at the heart of every successful video project. But unlike traditional video advertising, vertical video was widely popularized in the wake of the social media boom. Social media video demands a more personal approach to connect and engage with potential customers, and the vertical medium has opened up new ways to tell compelling brand stories. 

Getting Personal With The ‘Selfie Video’ 

Chances are, you’ve heard of “selfies,” and probably taken a few yourself. This front-facing camera angle is perfect for catching intimate, close-up moments. And businesses are beginning to see the benefits too. 

“Vertical video is perfect for social media posts and ads in places where people go to connect,” David Sanchez, CEO, Mammoth Web Solutions, said. “Because of the layout, it is very personal, and comes across as authentic and intimate. This builds trust with viewers very quickly.” 

The “selfie” angle can be used by both B2B and B2C companies, with different approaches: 

  • Sharing advice: Thought leadership is a powerful way to establish your brand as a leader in your industry. Speaking directly to the camera and sharing valuable advice provides a more intimate experience for viewers. For B2B companies, for example, this could mean providing some helpful tips or quick product explainer videos on LinkedIn, or hosing a relaxed “fire-side chat” on LinkedIn or Facebook Live. 
  • How-To Videos: For B2C companies, especially those in the fashion or retail space, explainer tutorials can be a great way to showcase how consumers can use your product in their daily lives. Aamina Suleman, senior digital marketing executive,, it’s important to consider your audience, so you can create content that will inspire your target segments. 

“For example, if you are a beauty company with a female audience that spends most of its time on the cellphone searching for new products and demos, then a vertical video about beauty tutorials might do the trick to steer them towards your brand,” Suleman said. 

Give Your Viewers A “Tour” 

Since vertical video is such a personal medium, you can leverage it to bring viewers into your space. Take customers on an engaging journey by offering them a “tour” of your office or business. For startups and educational institutions, this could be a great way to showcase culture, and give viewers an opportunity to “see” themselves working at your company, or attending your school. For retailers, consider walking your sales floor to showcase your merchandise, or offer a “behind-the-scenes” look at an event. 

Make Experiences Interactive With Text, Graphics And CTAs 

Social media is making it easier to connect with audiences directly in their feeds. Text, branded animated emoji graphics, GIFs, and gamification techniques, like augmented reality and polls allow for companies to go beyond just simple video, and create immersive experiences for viewers. 

“On certain platforms, like Instagram, they also allow us to have a call to action directly with the video, so now we can drive people directly to a landing page right after they see it, Seth Kravitz CEO, PHLEARN, said. “Make sure you use all the space vertical gives you, since you have so much more space to include graphics and additional elements that you never get with previous formats.” 

The Future Of Vertical Video 

Vertical video was long considered a taboo format for video production. But now that mobile adoption has become widespread, it seems consumers can’t get enough. Vertical video allows for new and creative ways to tell brand stories on social media. By integrating vertical video alongside traditional horizontal video formats, you can engage customers in new ways, tell new stories, and broaden your brand reach. 

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