It's Pixel Perfect

3 trends you MUST follow in the vertical video era


By Alex Taylor

Whether it’s the passionate screams of a mother in labour pushing out her new born child, to swarms of nearby folk in a community moving towards an overthrown truck full of Redstripe beer that spilled over on the highway, stories are captured and told on the digital space through a mobile phone.  Most times, that phone is pulled out of the pocket and held up right.

In fact, studies tell us that we hold our phones like this 94% of the time.  It is the telling beginning of a future that has already become present; The era of vertical video.

Video in and of itself has become the sweetheart of consumable content in the new age of digital. It is projected that 80% of all internet traffic will be video going forward, which is said to increase with the years going forward.  Vertical video is an inevitable and unavoidable trend that has become a major part of how content is consumed world wide. Brands like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have wasted no time in taking advantage of the consumption patterns currently.

Snapchat has built its entire framework on vertical content by providing a platform for audiences and brands to become intimate. This is achieved by filling up their entire screen with a story.  Snapchat discovered that horizontal video was outperformed 9 times more by vertical video by the end of their research.  The best content marketing strategy now must include the utilization and appreciation of vertical video if brands wish to take full advantage of the new age consumer.

Here are 3 ways brands can use vertical video to maximize consumer engagement on digital:

Bite-sized content 

From the giant television box with the elongated back wedged in the middle of the living room, to a small rectangular box slotted comfortably in the palm of the hand, we have witnessed how the medium of communication has evolved. We have witnessed yet another feat of revolution of content consumption. We have moved from 60 minutes to 6 minutes to 6 seconds.

When TV boomed in the 1940’s, it was the perfect medium for the consumer to ingest mass forms of information for long periods of time.  Advertisements could be 3 minute long videos telling you about how great a product was which would be categorized as great content.  As technology evolved, so did media and how it was consumed. The modern day digital consumer is constantly on the move and constantly on their phones. Content is now consumed in short bites, one piece at a time, at different intervals in the day.

Brands must develop content that captures the attention of the audience in 2 seconds and delivers that message in no less than 6 to 7 seconds. After that time period, you are left to the mercy of the thumb of the viewer to either scroll away or continue watching.

Instagram stories is the perfect example of how content is consumed now, as it provides you with the choice of watching bite sized content or flicking away stuff that you’re not interested in.

In the market today, attention is the most dispensable commodity. Brands must now tailor their content to capture the audience immediately, brand the content early in the video and deliver the message as effective and as promptly as possible.


Video is at the top of the list for Facebook as the primary content preference going forward for 2019. At this years Advertising Week held in New York, Facebook reported that majority of the content consumed on mobile that gathered the most engagement was vertical video.  They also reported that most of the video content consumed on the timeline was done without sound. This is a major disrupter for content creators who take advantage of sound to deliver a message across to the audience.  The solution to that problem is creating captions.

Old Chinese martial arts movies were always better to watch with the subtitles running across the screen. This allowed us to follow the action with the message of the movie. Similarly, vertical video content consumed on the timeline is impeded by the default option of sound being muted.

More often than not, the audience is not in a place to play the sound of a video from their phone. This means if the engagement of the content is solely dependent on the sound of the video, then you are out of luck!

Entrepreneur and author Gary Vaynerchuk is an internet sensation who uses his content to empower and motivate people around the world. His videos 90% of the time have captions regardless of the content he is producing. These captions allow his content to be consumed in any environment.

Adding closed captions to video increases the chance of engagement and captures the attention of the viewer for a longer period of time.  It makes the content easier to follow and adds credibility to the content that is being presented.

Video Interaction 

More and more the consumer is playing a greater roll in the content that is developed by brands for the very audience that is consuming it.  User generated content has become a farm that has been milked dry by brands to generate engagement and increase positive sentiment.  The more the consumer can interact with the content, the greater the impact it will have on the audience.

The partnership between a poling company, Polly, and Instagram has revolutionized how we consume content on our social media platforms.  Instagram now has afforded us the freedom to create call-to-action on our content to involve the audience.  Polls, questions and ratings can now be applied in instagram stories to involve the viewer.  These trends have changed the way we consumer content all together.

Live video has become a growing trend that has taken over the popular video hosting sites. The audience gets a unique chance to interact with the content in real time, and be a part of a moment as it happens. This encourages an environment for instantaneous feedback before her eyes.

Furthermore, brands have become creative in finding ways to carry the consumer through the journey of a story. Whether its arrows pointing to the next story indicating whats next, a timer on the bottom left hand corner of the screen letting you know how long the video is, or rotating arrows asking the viewer to rotate her screen before she watches the video.

Content has become a road filled with stop signs, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings to guide the viewer from point A to B. A brand must implement these signals to assist the viewer in consuming the content.

Vertical video is the way forward for if brands wish to take advantage of the growing trend in digital.  Moments and stories are captured and told in the vertical format to the convenience of the consumer.  It would be naive and unwise to break the natural order of things to create content that forces the audience to consume it in a way that is not comfortable to them.  These trends will be the key to unlocking this vastly growing medium of communication which will keep your brand afloat on this digital sea of uncertainty.


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