Top 5 Reasons Why Vertical Video is the Future of Digital Marketing

In the past few years, videos have taken the internet by storm. It is predicted that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all internet traffic, 15 times higher than in 2017. Even Mark Zuckerberg believes that video is the future of Facebook. By 2021, it’s predicted that Facebook will be all video with no text content.

However, the biggest proof of video domination is the rise of YouTube as the second most popular website in the world, only behind Google. 1.9 billion users are watching videos on YouTube every single day, that’s almost one-third of the internet.

Traditionally, videos were made and optimized for the big screen. Hence why horizontal videos are almost always favored over vertical videos, especially by directors, cinematographers, and filmmakers.

But over time, this perception is changing due to the emergence of mobile devices and social media platforms, that mostly require vertical-oriented videos.

In this article, we’ll analyze the top 5 things that make vertical videos a valuable marketing tool that you should use in your future digital marketing campaign.

Smartphone Domination

Since the emergence of Blackberry at the start of the century, and the rise of both iPhone and Android phones a decade ago, the smartphone has successfully penetrated the mass market. It has transformed our lifestyle. Around 1.56 billion smartphones are sold to users in 2018 alone.

Our day-to-day activities online, such as checking emails, posting updates, and watching videos, are gradually changing from desktop to smartphone. In fact, Cisco predicted that globally, mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021.

The number of people who watch videos on their smartphones increases so rapidly that mobile video consumption rises by 100% per year, and 75% of all videos played globally are watched on mobile devices.

As marketers, you might be aware of the situation and thinking about how you can make the change from your current marketing methods to a more mobile-oriented one. One of the best way to approach an audience who use their phone a lot is through vertical videos.

The Audience is Lazy

During the expansion era of the smartphone, Millennials happen to be the majority of people populating this world. So, it’s not surprising that Millennials are more likely to watch online videos on their smartphones, unlike Baby Boomers and Generation X who prefer to watch television.

According to a study by eMarketer in 2018, 64.2 million people born between 1981 and 1996 watch streaming videos or videos downloaded onto their devices at least once a month. This number is higher than the number of people who watch television, which is 59 million. So, It only makes sense if you optimize your marketing strategy specifically to suit their behavior.

Furthermore, another study has found that the majority of people (94%) watch videos, and do other things, on their phones vertically. They just don’t like the idea to turn their phone sideways, again and again, every time they want to watch a video.

From these studies, we can see that today’s generation likes to watch videos on their phones, and they like to watch vertically, not horizontally. Of course, not everything should be vertical, like movies or TV shows. But for your typical short-form video marketing, it’s better to optimize your video according to the smartphone’s orientation.

Better Completion Rate

MediaBrix, a mobile advertising platform, found that vertical advertising videos see a 90% higher completion rate than horizontal ones. According to them, only less than 30% of users will turn their phones sideways to watch a video horizontally. From those people who turn their phones, they will only watch 14% of the video before closing.

The study shows that people are more likely to fully watch your video until the end if it’s vertical-oriented. It indicates that today’s audience is not comfortable watching horizontal-oriented videos on their phones.

If people stay longer watching your video, there’s a higher chance that they’ll like your video, share it with their friends, or click on the CTA button at the end of the video to go to your website. The more traffic you get, the higher your conversion rate will be. Isn’t that your goal as a marketer?

Of course, we’re talking about advertising and video marketing in this case, not all videos have to be vertical-oriented. Long-running videos like movies will do better in widescreen because people are determined to enjoy and watch it to the end.

Embraced by Social Media Platforms

Mobile traffic made up 52% of global internet traffic in the second quarter of 2018. This data shows that the way we access content is changing, and so the companies that rely on content (like social media platforms) should change too.

The majority of social media networks that we’re familiar with started as websites where you can interact with each other, e.g Twitter and Facebook. Nowadays, those popular social media are available, and even more enjoyable, in our smartphones.

And because users like vertical videos while viewing in mobile devices, those social channels have to adapt to the demand. It turns out that rather than seeing vertical videos as a negative thing, they embrace the change of format. For instance:

  • Facebook stories are now accessible from a desktop. Facebook released their stories feature quite a while back in their mobile app, but it’s still a prominent feature. They even enabled stories to playback on their desktop site and go as far as pushing stories to Whatsapp to strengthen their claim to vertical videos.
  • Instagram constantly pushes users to leave their news feed for stories. As the favorite child of the Facebook suite, Instagram has been making additions and changes that direct users to use stories more. They also released IGTV, which is similar to YouTube in vertical video format.
  • Snapchat added tons of new attention-grabbing features to their app. Arguably the original creator of “snaps” (short-form, timed, self-destructing vertical videos or, as Mark Zuckerberg calls them, “stories”), Snapchat obviously encourages vertical videos for both its users and advertisers. They consistently add new features that keep the community’s interest up.

Youtube Optimization

Originally, YouTube is not optimized to play vertical videos. But perhaps, due to the overwhelming request from users to optimize vertical viewing and the pressure knowing that its competitors (Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook) already support vertical videos, YouTube has finally decided to release an update in July 2018 to optimize vertical videos.

Before the update, YouTube will show black bars alongside the vertical video, making the video look smaller. But now, YouTube will allow vertical videos to play on their actual aspect ratio. So, you don’t need to worry about any lesser viewing experience when consider watching vertical videos on the famous platform.


While traditional blog posts are still alive and well, we can’t deny that videos give us access and opportunity to connect with a bigger audience, and thus increasing the chance to grow our businesses. Especially vertical videos, since smartphones and social media, have become a part of our lives.

As marketers, this fact should be an eye-opener for you to really start investing in vertical videos for your marketing campaign. You have multiple social media platforms as well as YouTube as the second most popular search engine in the world, ready to distribute your content to the mass audience. Every single day these things happen:

  • Almost 2 billion users are watching videos on YouTube
  • 250 million people use Instagram Stories
  • Over 7 billion video clips are viewed on Snapchat
  • More than 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook

If you’re still unsure of what content you could create using vertical videos, I’ll give you some examples:

Product Explainer

If you want to reach the audience on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, a vertical explainer video about your product might be the best choice. It makes your presence more immersive for mobile users.

In-App Advertising

While it’s true that social media are one of the best places to promote your vertical videos, they’re not the only ones. You could reach more people by contacting a digital advertising agency to hook you up with more traffic sources from other in-app ads.

Digital Billboards

If budget isn’t a problem, you can always rent a digital billboard in strategic locations across your city to loop your vertical video endlessly for a large-scale brand awareness campaign.

Mobile Live Video

Most social media platforms now have a broadcast feature. Given a smartphone with adequate specifications, you can engage with your followers in a close-up conversation anywhere. Don’t make them turn their phone sideways. Remember, only 6% of people hold their phone sideways!

Behind-the-Scenes Sneak Peek

Personalized behind-the-scenes sneak peeks can go a long way in building relationships with customers. Take Donors Choose as an example. They put an extra effort to thank half of the recent first-time donors. According to a study, 38% of people who receive a thank you note will be more likely to come back.

Author: Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales and get positive ROI from explainer videos.

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