Just a few years ago I was publicly mocked by a colleague online when I was sharing my thoughts via video. His problem with my videos? I was holding the phone vertically rather than horizontally. He questioned my expertise and standing in the industry based on my video orientation. It was maddening for a few reasons:

  • Videos are all about their ability to captivate and communicate the message. I don’t believe orientation has any impact on that.
  • Our viewing capabilities aren’t horizontal, humans can easily accommodate and enjoy a vertical video.
  • Interaction with mobile devices have surpassed desktop video viewing. Users hold their phones vertically by default.

So if vertical videos bother you, get over it. Now, to be clear… I’m not advocating your next explainer video or professionally recorded video be done vertically, our televisions and laptops are still oriented horizontally and it’s great to take advantage of that expansive video real estate.

This infographic from Breadnbeyond, The Ultimate Guide to Vertical Videos for Social Media Marketing, details the consumer behaviors of watching videos and video advertising on mobile devices. Some of the stats are eye-opening from Mediabrix:

  • only 30% of people that watch videos will actually turn their smartphones sideways when observing a horizontally oriented video  Tweet This!
  • Users who were served a horizontal video ad on a mobile device watched only 14% of the ad  Tweet This!
  • Most of the time viewers watched the horizontal video ad was spent searching for the ‘X’ button  Tweet This!
  • In contrast, vertically presented video ads were completed 90 percent of the time  Tweet This!
  • All video services now play vertical videos full screen automatically, including YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and Snapchat  Tweet This!

In other words, when the primary platform and medium is mobile, vertical videos aren’t just the norm… they’re more effective!

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