Smartphones have made vertical video natural, instead of the convention – horizontal or landscape mode. It seems a trivial difference, except that people to prefer watching videos this way – by a wide margin. 94% vs 6% horizontal!
There’s a detailed blog post that covers the essentials in vertical video. What I will go into greater detail here is to help you make a decision on whether your product or service will benefit from adding vertical videos to your portfolio.
Vertical video breaks all the conventions of film. In any other situation, other than a smartphone, it is a terrible way to watch videos. So, it makes sense to do only when your audience is young, devoted to apps and practically live there.
Vertical video is great for a one on one connection to your audience. No ugly black bars at the top and bottom in the vertical orientation. It’s like Face Time or Duo. Straight away, you’re on. And if what you say is interesting, you will get your audience to tune in.
It also plays up flaws. Awkwardness is emphasized, so before you plunge into it, either be willing to get roasted or soldier on in the hope of getting better with time.
Vertical videos for product demonstrations and marketing
It works extremely well and keeps the attention focused on the action. But you have to understand the rules change substantially.
As long as the product has enough features and unique aspects, it’s fine. But showing human interactions in groups and the limitations are magnified. Showing groups of people interacting with the product have to be designed well in order to be effective. Just panning from one face to the next will not work as well.
Let me explain this a little better. If you were demonstrating a Roomba in a vertical video, showing it in close-up sucking up dirt, would work perfectly well. But making the transition to showing the whole room clean would need to be planned better. Panoramas work poorly in a vertical frame.
Cutting through a product demonstration with the desired reaction from people will help to move the story along. But demonstrations of desktop software will be terrible. Unless you were showing the mobile interface.
Mobile just works differently in terms of communication and interaction. Gamers seem to be fine with holding their phones horizontally when they play. But if the interaction is casual, like watching a video, the preference switches to vertical completely.
Vertical videos flow differently
Take a look at what BMW and Adidas have done. See how they have transformed the product shots completely. It’s far more intimate, closer to the customer. The shots have been worked right through with a vertical frame and that means rethinking all interactions and frames, including the product shots.
The difference is between showing the perspective of a long road ahead and a mountainous landscape. The road is narrow and flows straight. The mountains spread wide and in a vertical frame, the grandeur is lost completely. It’s like watching the Grand Canyon through a keyhole!
Not every product requires a widescreen presentation. In fact, the smaller ones work beautifully in a vertical frame format. With billions of views every month, it won’t be long before marketers will need to plan vertical videos as a specific part of the mix in order to get through to their audience.
Don’t simply repurpose what has been shot in widescreen. Rethink it.
Think of it as the difference between windows and doors. Window frames are wide and great to look through because the panoramic views in the right location are stunning. Doorways are narrow but they lead to places and open new vistas.
Here’s an excerpt from an in-depth study on Facebook marketing from Buffer: Facebook studies have shown that 79% of vertical video consumers agreed that the format is more engaging, and said they would choose the vertical format in most cases. They also found that 65% of respondents said that brands using vertical video for their advertising are “more innovative.”
For inputs into planning your video marketing, there’s more here
Going by TikTok, the next viral videos are just as likely to be vertical, instead of horizontal