Whether you like it or not, the data suggests that users are warming to vertical video – and as such, it’s likely worth considering in your video content efforts.
Snapchat has obviously lead the way with the vertical format – the platform made a big push with its ‘3V’ video advertising, and has popularized the vertical format, particularly among younger audiences, where Snap still holds significant influence. That’s important to note, as usage trends among younger audiences tend to flow through - which is something Facebook is clearly well aware of.
Following Snapchat’s success, Facebook has also made vertical video a bigger priority, upgrading its vertical presentation tools, while YouTube has also moved to keep up with the trend by enhancing its vertical presentation.
But the most obvious expansion of vertical video is on Instagram, through its Snapchat-cloned Stories format. Instagram Stories now has more than 300 million daily users, and many of those users are becoming more accustomed to vertical presentation.
It may not be the best presentation format, in a quality sense, but vertical video is clearly popular, and there are various ways you can link in with this trend and use the vertical format to boost your presentation.
To help with this, Instagram published a new set of tips to help publishers make better use of vertical video, with some notes from top creators on how to approach the format. And they’re definitely worth considering – here are some of their key tips on how to stand out with vertical video content.
1. “Direct Your Audience’s Eyes”
The first key point Instagram’s creators highlight is that there’s a new opportunity to direct the viewers vision up and down the screen, as opposed to more traditional, horizontal format.
As explained by illustrator Kris Merc:
“Most people are trained to look at things horizontally, so you kind of have to lead the eye in different ways.”
This is an interesting consideration, and definitely the examples provided showcase the potential of this capacity. We’re used to watching things that move side to side, but vertical presentation adds a fresh, new perspective, which can provide opportunity to make your content stand out, when used well.
As also noted by Merc:
“A lot of stories haven’t been told in vertical space”
2. “Animate Your Ideas”
This one may not be as easy for the everyday person, but it is possible - anyone can create basic stop-motion content, which can be interesting and engaging. It takes time, for sure, but the results can be worth it if you want to make your content stand out.
The example here – created by animator Monica Kim – is a little further down the advanced end of that scale, but still, it demonstrates the potential of vertical animation, and again, highlights the difference in top-to-bottom focus, as opposed to horizontal viewing.
“It almost brought me back to the aesthetics of the exercise of making posters or more like traditional illustration”
This another way of looking at vertical format – everyone had their favorite posters hanging up on their walls as a kid. For vertical format, it may be worth considering those images, and what made them work, from top to bottom.
3. “Split Your Screen”
Here’s another interesting way to draw your audience in with a fresh, vertical-specific format.
Well, maybe not ‘vertical-specific’ – you can, of course, create horizontal split-screen content also - but the vertical format is better suited to such, and the results can be very eye-catching, as shown here.
As Instagram notes:
“By dividing up the space, you're able to create new perspectives for your viewers to engage with, while guiding their attention to the most important parts of your video.”
It’s definitely an interesting consideration, using the vertical display to best effect.
4. “Play with Type and Design”
And the final tip Instagram provides is to ‘play with type and design’ in your vertical videos.
“Whether you're stacking type in a playful, eye-catching way or using overlays to add texture and depth to your content, vertical video gives you endless possibilities when creating content.”
Again, this is considering the vertical presentation format and the creative ways in which you can use it – it’s not so much about type, specifically, but in considering what you can do in a vertical display that will stand out. Things seen from above, larger than life images and video, ways to utilize top to bottom flow – there are many options in creating vertical content, which is native to the growing social Stories experience.