Why Vertical Videos Are the Best Format for Social Media

Posted by Drew Estelle on Apr 26, 2019 1:47:59 PM
Drew Estelle

In the past few years, there’s been a dramatic increase in the consumption of video content on social. In fact, over 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook per day. 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook videos a week!

Video also makes up a large portion of Instagram Stories. VidMob’s State of Social Video states that over 70% of Instagram users watch Instagram Stories daily, and that number will continue to increase in the coming years.

If businesses plan on using social video effectively, they’ll need to find ways to make it stand out. The very first step in optimizing your video to get more views is to film in a way that is friendly for your viewers. What is the most significant change we can make to achieve this?

Always film vertically for social video.

Side by side women watching Facebook Live videos on their mobile phones

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve been told to film in landscape mode since camera phones first came on the scene. Why change now?

Businesses must always adapt to consumer behavior. With 96% of social media use occurring on mobile devices, mobile optimization should take top priority.

Vertical videos stand out the most for a mobile audience because they take up the most space in newsfeed. Better yet, they take up the entire phone screen when clicked.

When filming in landscape, it takes up a very small portion of an upright phone screen. This leaves your viewers’ two choices: 1) squint to see what’s being shown in the video or 2) turn their phones to fill their entire screen with your video.

This is a strong deterrent for smartphone users since they use their phone vertically 94% of the time!
 Upclose of woman holding her smartphone  vertically in one hand

The harder you make your audience work to get something, the larger your abandonment rates will be. Video is no exception. It’s been proven.

A study by MediaBrix found that vertical outperformed landscape with a 90% higher completion rate. According to their data, less than 30% of users were willing to turn their phones sideways to watch a video. Those that did only watched about 14% of it.

Vertical filming also helps your engagement rates. Holding the phone vertically is the most comfortable way for users to retain the ability to use their phone’s core functions. Naturally, it makes sense to empower your mobile audiences to interact by filming in portrait mode. As a result, your engagement metrics will rise.

Related Reading: The Psychology of Live Sales: The Formula for Addictive Shopping Experiences


Woman broadcasting her cafe experience on Facebook Live


The takeaway here is that no matter the content, social video format makes a difference. Give your viewers a pleasant and easy viewing experience and they’re much more willing to stick around and interact.

So next time you fire up your camera, keep your mobile viewers in mind. Film and portrait and see for yourself the difference it can make for your audience numbers, the total length watched, and even your engagement rates!

Want more expert tips for effective video? Download our free guide, The Complete Guide to Live Sales!

Topics: Live Sales, Facebook, Instagram

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