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30 / 03 / 2017

Four reasons you need to start thinking about vertical video

Four reasons you need to start thinking about vertical video

The evolution of video on social media over the past five years has closely tracked the shift from desktop to mobile consumption – so is it time to re-evaluate how you create your videos?

You’ll probably recognise this trend. Back in 2012, nearly all video (apart from user generated video) was horizontal (or landscape) across all social platforms. As 2015 dawned video creators flirted with square videos.

Now in 2017 the majority of video consumption happens on mobile and already we are seeing a rapid move towards vertical (or portrait) video consumption. Once vertical video was the pariah of online content so what has changed? Simply put horizontal video is best on desktop where the display tends to be widescreen, square videos work well across both and vertical video is best on mobile. If this isn’t enough to make you realise it is time to start looking at vertical video, we’ve got four more reasons why you should.

Research by global IT and networking firm Cisco suggests that 75% of mobile traffic will be video content by 2020. So it makes sense to optimise your video strategy now to maximise the benefit of that growth to your brand.

Vertical video consumption will only increase

The shift from desktop to mobile isn’t an ebb-and-flow movement, mobile’s dominance is only going to grow. The only potential challenge to that is if immersive 360 video suddenly undergoes a phenomenal acceleration in growth, but at this stage that looks seriously unlikely.


Data sourced by Wibbitz and MediaBrix shows that vertical video seems to have inflated engagement rates. The data clearly showed that:

  • Vertical videos attract almost four times more engagement than square videos on Facebook, and 2.5 times more on Twitter.
  • Vertical videos see a 90% higher completion rate compared to horizontal videos.
  • Vertical videos are getting in front of 13.8% more audiences than square videos and over 90% more than posts with an embedded image.

Mobile-only functionality

Mobile only functionality (and even mobile only platforms) has become common. The most well-known mobile-only functionality is the ‘Story’ function you’ll find on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat. What connects these major mobile-only functionality developments? They have all been built around vertical video. The best way to be ready for the next big functionality trend is by being ahead of the curve and making the move to vertical now.

Website trends usually follow social trends

I haven't seen many instances of vertical video on a website, but it is on the increase. If we’ve learned anything over the past few years from monitoring social trends it is that websites closely follow trends established by high-usage platforms so don’t be surprised to see sites beginning to publish more vertical videos soon.

You can find out more about why people share videos on social in our eBook ‘Understanding the reasons people share video on social media’ here.

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