Here's how to use vertical video to your advantage

Despite being universally hated in past years, vertical video is all the rage in 2019.

The trend started when Snapchat introduced Stories in 2013, and continued through 2016 when Instagram introduced its own Stories platform. These were the first two social media platforms that truly put vertical video first.

Then, earlier this year, Instagram introduced Instagram TV. This is the social network's YouTube competitor, and it's clear that the social network wants to use it to claim the mobile video space as its own.

Instagram TV—commonly referred to as IGTV—turns Instagram accounts to "channels" where users can post vertical videos up to an hour in length. We've seen everyone from brands to creators to influencers use the platform to share high quality content.

But this isn't the only social network using vertical video.

Facebook also uses vertical video on its videos and Stories platforms, and you can upload vertical videos to Twitter without issue. We'll likely see more social networks get on-board with vertical video in 2019, too.

But why vertical video? Simple: it's more natural on mobile devices than horizontal video. It's natural to shoot and video video vertically, and brands are seeing real results because of that.

In fact, vertical videos are actually bringing huge returns for the people using them. In fact, the folks at Wibbitz found that vertical videos got nearly four times more engagement than square videos on Facebook, and 2.5 times more on Twitter.

Sounds great, right?

If you want to use vertical video to improve your social media video views and engagement, you're in the right place. Because in this article, we'll show you best practices for making social media videos.

Let's dive in and check it out!

Post vertical videos to the right networks

First thing's first: vertical videos don't work everywhere.

You should stick to posting vertical videos to post or story based social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

On the flip side, you should not post vertical videos to YouTube or Vimeo. These networks are only in the early stages of supporting the format. 

Why? Simple: vertical video works best for short videos that are viewed on mobile devices.

YouTube and Vimeo are often viewed on TVs, computers, tablets, and other large-screen devices, so they will show black lines on the sides to compensate for the skinny video format. At the same time, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook have a largely mobile audience.

What aspect ratio should I use?

Good question! Try and stick to using the 9:16 aspect ratio for all vertical videos.

This ensures that your videos have no black bars at the top or bottom of a smartphone screen. This ensures that the video looks natural and is fully immersive.

Do note that the Facebook Newsfeed sizes vertical video at 2:3. However, 9:16 videos are supported and will be automatically resized to fit this smaller format.

Shooting in this format is simple: just record with your phone (while it's in vertical orientation), or shoot portrait with your camera. A 3-way tilt-head tripod can assist with this.

Keep it short and sweet

Vertical video opens a new world of video possibilities to brands and influencers everywhere.

Content that may not be a good fit for a full-length YouTube video, may be perfect for a short Instagram Story, Instagram TV post, or Facebook video.

So with that in mind, we recommend keeping your vertical videos short and sweet. After all, the average mobile phone session length for Facebook and Instagram is less than 5 minutes, and chances are the whole session won't be spent on your video.

Need some inspiration for vertical videos? Here's a list of 10 awesome Instagram TV video ideas. Some of our favorites are video listicles, infographics, and tours.

Now, bring in the views!

And there you have it: how to use vertical videos to get more social media video views and engagement. Use these tips to future-proof your online video presence and get more views and interactions.

Now we want to hear from you! Does your brand use vertical videos on social media? If so, what kind of content do you publish? Let us know in the comments.

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