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The Rise of Vertical Video?

The popularity of vertical videos appears to have emerged somewhat suddenly, the new wave of vertical-video-accomodation now reaching YouTube. Vertical videos are optimised for viewers using mobile devices, which all major social media sites (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) are most commonly visited through. Video content is predicted to be the most popular form of online content, and as such optimising video for use on mobiles will make the consumption and likelihood of sharing video content both easier and more likely.


Instagram’s new hybrid side-platform and main platform feature, IGTV, only plays videos in vertical, with the capacity to host long-form content of up to an hour in length, a vast increase on the 1 minute limit on videos posted directly to Instagram. The IGTV feature and stand-alone app was released in June of 2018 and was regarded by many as a real contender for the video-content hotspot, a position held by YouTube for years. The focus of IGTV on the way users “naturally” use their phones (by holding them vertically) isn’t the first time a social media site has released a feature optimised for purely for mobile devices, but Instagram’s most popular features only work best on mobile devices and don’t translate well when used on desktop. Instagram’s (frankly terrible) desktop user experience illustrates that the focus is shifting quickly and dramatically towards mobile devices, and that your website and the content you post needs to shift towards mobile optimisation too.


YouTube has made the move to hosting vertical videos too, and while, unlike IGTV, they aren’t hosting vertical videos exclusively, vertical videos can play using the full screen now. The update will finally see rid of the black bars that previously ran parallel to vertical videos and will instead allow mobile users to enlarge the video to full-screen size.

Why Vertical?

After the success of stories, the steady increase of people accessing social media and websites using mobile devices and the prediction of video to be the most popular and common form of online content, vertical videos are the natural next step in how we consume video, however strange and jarring it may be at first. Thanks to stories, made popular by Snapchat, we’ve been frequently consuming video and picture content in vertical since late 2011.

Before IGTV and YouTube’s vertical videos, Spotify created Song Stories and also worked with some artists, such as Billie Eilish and Superorganism, to created vertical videos to accompany their songs when played in the mobile app.

What This Means For Your Content

Vertical videos show a clearly defined trend that can’t be ignored. Companies, freelancers and overall content creators and sharers will need to take into account how their video content will work when consumed vertically, and work on optimising all of their content (especially visual) for vertical consumption, and prioritising mobile optimisation for their websites also.

Wondering where to start with mobile optimisation? Get in touch with us today to see how we can get your website optimised for mobile or how we can create engaging content for your brand that works well on all devices.