The future of videos is vertical? There has been a discussion on the rising popularity of vertical videos for a while now. And now, we are not sure what or who started it – was it Snapchat or the marketers?
But one thing that we are most certain about is that the audience loves videos. Videos are interesting, engaging and binge-worthy. Wyzowl’s 2019 report detailed the growing popularity of videos amongst marketers and their audience. In 2019, a whopping 87% of the businesses used videos as a marketing tool as against 61% in 2016. Besides, mobile video consumption today is at an all-time high. And it grows by 100% every year. Also, currently 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices. And to top it all off, 92% of users watching a video on mobile will share it with others.
Thus, there’s no doubt about the fact that videos are here to stay. So it begs the obvious next question – what kind of video? Are vertical videos really the future? Or will their popularity fall over time?
As mobile users hold their phones upright 94% of the time, vertical videos make perfect sense. Besides, a vertical video will take up 100% of real estate on a cell phone, hooking the viewers to their screens without distraction whether they are scrolling down the feed on Facebook and Instagram or pulling up a video on Snapchat, Tik Tok, Twitter Fleets and Instagram reels. Even Instagram stories work the best with vertical videos.
Now speaking of aspect ratios, the traditional landscape videos with an aspect ratio of 16:9 appearing on mobile are typically 1280px X 720px (wider than they are tall). On the other hand, square video with an aspect ratio of 1:1 expands to fit the height ratio to become 1280px X 1280px. Additionally, square video are likely to take up more real state on newsfeed thus leading to greater engagement compared to landscape videos.
Given that mobile screens are getting taller by the day and the social media and video streaming platforms dynamically evolving with the changing needs, vertical videos are not going away any time soon. Even the smartphone leaders have made vertical-specific portrait modes and camera specifications.
Another testament to the popularity of vertical videos is attributed to branded content, TV commercials and film trailers which are being adapted for social media (at an aspect ratio of 9:16 (portrait) or even 4:4 (square). User generated content also favours vertical videos. Giving in to this trend, YouTube also launched their full-size vertical upload option and their subsequent vertical-only record and upload tools.
So does this mean vertical videos is a clear winner? Not exactly. A research done by Buffer revealed that the landscape videos had a higher average video completion rate on Facebook and Twitter. And after Facebook’s announcement that their algorithm favours ‘watch time’ as an important video metric, landscape videos do hold some gravitas.
In addition, our human minds have been trained and habituated to watch and read images and motion pictures in landscape.
Thus it’s safe to say that despite the growing fame of vertical videos, the two formats can co-exist with the occasional crossover. Ultimately, the creators will choose which format meets the video’s purpose and the platform sensibilities.
Image Courtesy: https://buffer.com/resources/vertical-video/