Vertical Video 101: The Ultimate Guide


 Are you familiar with the term vertical video?

Honestly speaking, portrait-style videos weren’t the rage up until a few years ago. But then, ever since the social media boom happened, these videos have emerged as the undisputed champions of user engagement. 

In fact, vertical videos have been consistently outperforming their horizontal counterparts on just about every platform nowadays.

So, What is a Vertical Video?

A vertical video is made in portrait mode and has a 9:16 aspect ratio. Vertical videos are taller in height than they are in width, the ideal dimensions being 1080×1920 pixels.

Approximately 10 years ago, our mobile and online screens began to use 9:16 and 4:5 aspect ratios. It was around this time that vertical videos started getting comfortably viewed without wasting much onscreen real estate. Now, watching a vertical video on your smartphone or iPhone will completely fill your screen.

Why Should you Start Creating Vertical Videos?

Well, aside from it being engaging, it is perfect for mobile users. According to studies, 94% of phone users hold their phones vertically to a bank, chat, call, scroll or even view videos. So, let’s look at why you need to create a vertical video for your brand.

1. The World has gone Mobile:

Today’s customers are more likely to use their mobile phones to view content than any other device. In fact, a study showed that 3 in 5 or 63% of people had used their mobile phones to see videos on YouTube.

It is simply more accessible for users to keep their phones vertically without rotating their devices to see a video. It just makes intuitive sense to have a compelling vertical video to keep your viewer engaged. And the benefits are there to be seen. Simply put, vertical video catches more of the viewer’s attention.

2. Social Platforms Embracing Shorts:

Just like trends and features quickly getting established and accepted by social media audiences, so have vertical videos. Simply put, on any social media platform, your brand uses vertical video functionality. And what’s more, your audience expects you to deliver the same. Vertical videos are easier to watch on social media through mobile devices.

Otherwise, the image in videos that are recorded horizontally shrinks. Social media platforms supporting vertical video include Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Today, shorter formats of content have seen a rise in popularity. And the average attention span is getting shorter. For more evidence, look at YouTube Shorts, Insta Reels, and Tik Tok.

3. Big brands are leveraging Vertical Video:

Did you know that brands, mainly household names like National Geographic and Netflix, have already been harnessing the power of vertical videos to the best of their advantage?

Although horizontal videos are more suited to bigger screens, shorter videos with previews or teasers of upcoming shows actually perform better when they are presented as vertical videos. In fact, a report by Variety found that 20% of all viewing on Netflix takes place on mobile devices. And more than 50% of all subscribers access the service on their mobile devices at least once a month.

4. Gen-Z lives Vertical:

Here is a statistic worth remembering, 65% of Gen Zs and Millennials are more likely to spend time checking videos on their phones than on any other devices. And the reasons are pretty simple: accessibility, quality, engagement, and storytelling.

The younger generation of users is in love with UGC or User-generated content. In fact, for most of them, it influences their purchasing decision even more than brand content or influencer content.

According to HubSpot Blog research, UGC also offers excellent ROI, with 40% of marketers surveyed ranking it a high-ROI format on social media. And with good reason. It is budget-friendly and doesn’t use too many resources for brands to create evoking content. Just look at Chipotle, where they collaborated with content producers to create a fun, viral-worthy video.

Is Vertical Video Better Than Horizontal? Let’s find out!

Vertical videos have gained popularity courtesy of modern devices and platforms. But given the horizontal alignment of our eyes, horizontal videos have the edge over vertical videos when it comes to most audio-visual content. The horizontal versus vertical video debate is a long-standing one. However, both have their own pros and cons, which we will cover below.

Instead of mulling over which one is better, it is crucial to understand that the utility of any video content is defined by its target audience. So, while a cinematic vertical video is a clear winner for engaging today’s users, the horizontal video will always find favor as far as television and film production is concerned.

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Best Vertical Video Practices to Follow

The purpose of making a vertical video is to target social media users and users who use mobile browsers and other apps. In particular, vertical videos are viral for story format content. This includes both web stories and social media stories. Here are a few tips to follow for making vertical videos: Below are the top 5 tips for Making Vertical Videos.

1. Vertical Aspect Ratio 4:5 or 9:16:

A video made in portrait mode needs to have an aspect ratio of either 4:5 or 9:16. You can make the video on your phone in portrait mode to rule out complications or make sure you adhere to the set ratio on the edit table. Remember, when creating a vertical video, the entire screen is devoted to the video, capturing the viewer’s attention. So getting the aspect ratio right makes all the difference.

2. Vertical Video Dimension 1080×1920 pixels:

While most platforms now support and sometimes even prefer vertical video formats, each social media platform has a different standard for vertical video dimensions. The ideal vertical video dimensions are 1080×1920 pixels, especially if you are going to be using it on your own website.

Stick to it while editing your videos. However, if you want to create specific dimensions for social media platforms, understand the dimensions these platforms provide and create your video accordingly.

3. Grab Attention in the first 3 sec:

Create a hook for the user, and make sure to use your best visual content (be it GIFs, animation, characters, etc.) in the first few seconds of your vertical video. Basically, it is the 3-second rule.

Remember, this is a space where you are looking to get the customer’s attention and, more importantly, they continue watching it. For a brand, it is about creating engaging and compelling content to an audience and ensuring they are hooked.

4. Follow Rule of Thirds:

Use the rule of thirds. Meaning that doesn’t place your subject right in the center of the video. Use the grid feature available in most cameras to place your subject along the lines or where two grid lines intersect.

Remember, when framing your subject, move the camera to the prominent elements. And they should fall along one of the third lines. For example, if you’re shooting a sailboat on the ocean, would you want to highlight the sea or the sky? Well, it would be your artistic choice, but it is essential to remember to find the most appealing shot.

5. Close Shots for Immersive Experience:

Get up, close, and personal with the subject. You not only fill the space but create an immersive, intimate video experience. Most users are Gen-Zs and millennials, who are a younger demographic that craves UGC content.

So, brands need to stay in touch with the latest trends and constantly be updated with the latest social media features. Also, get your loyal customers involved with your campaigns while using influencers who can get more users hooked to your brand.

6. Avoid Jerky Horizontal Movement:

Shaking camera movements are almost always annoying and distracting when watching a video. Avoid jerky, fast, or too many side-to-side camera movements.

Remember, vertical videos have the luxury of height, not width. So avoid moving the camera quickly when producing vertical videos as they don’t have a lot of space. When in doubt, slow down. That will help, especially if you’re learning how to vlog.

Tips and Tricks to Create Vertical Video Content

Unless you’re a director filming for the big screen, it’s time to embrace vertical video content. Especially if you are a brand in the digital space.

How to create vertical video

What started as a trend has found its home on our phones, tablets, and now, computers. Implementing vertical videos as part of your marketing strategy is not just convenient; it is wildly engaging. Especially to those browsing on their mobile devices. 

Creating a vertical video may be as easy as pointing and shooting with your phone’s camera. However, you should be aware of some helpful tips and tricks. So, before filming, make sure to follow our quickstart guide below.

1. To Film Vertically:

Step 1: Hold your camera or mobile phone vertically and record the content in portrait mode.

Step 2: When filming in portrait mode, do not forget to ensure your auto-rotate option is turned on.

Step 3: Tall subjects work great in vertical filming. When filming humans or animals, make sure the subject either walks towards or walks away from the camera.

2. To Crop a Landscape Video:

Thanks to 6k and 8k resolution cameras available today. Now, you can crop your landscape video content to fit the vertical format. Once you’ve edited it for 1080×1920 pixels, reframe for 4k upload. Your vertical video content is ready. The only thing you need to do is to film the video at the highest resolution your camera offers.

3. To Reformat a Landscape Video to Portrait Video:

Post-production is a great space to play around with your video content.

Step 1: Go to the non-linear editing setting of your video editor. Adjust the aspect ratio to 9:16.

Step 2: Now, adjust video settings to ‘Fill the Screen” from “Crop to Fit.” 

Step 3: Render your video for use as normal and you’re all set.  

Creating Vertical Videos with Firework

You must consider the vertical content trends to target your social media for brand awareness. It’s high time to add vertical video content to your website and capitalize on the trend of mobile video consumption. 

A recent survey by Cisco states that by 2022, videos will make up 82% of consumer internet traffic. Since more than half of the global internet population consumes content on their mobile phones. Vertical videos are a great way of amplifying user engagement for brands. Especially given that the big social media platforms like Snapchat, Facebook, IGTV, and Twitter are embracing it.

Does making a vertical video yourself seem like a lot of hard work? Just use Firework’s web story CMS platform and add the best vertical video ads and other portrait video content to your website. It’s easy and hassle-free! 

Sign up with Firework, step into the world of vertical videos today and give wings to your brand.

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