3 Tips to Optimize your Vertical Video
Vertical video is currently the dominant force on social media. From TikTok to Snapchat, YouTube Shorts to Instagram Reels, every social platform has vertical content that fills the screen and commands your attention.
For marketers and creators alike, this trend is an exciting opportunity, but it also poses a daunting challenge. On one hand, vertical videos see high engagement rates and often hold the user’s attention. On the other, video content is more diluted than ever, and consumers are engaging less and less.
To help you navigate social media, we studied which approaches drew likes and which got lost in an algorithm.
1. Understand your Platform
To begin with, not all social platforms are built for vertical video. Twitter’s layout still favors horizontal and square formats; long-form YouTube videos are usually best when uploaded in 16:9. If the user base prefers to view content on a computer, vertical video is probably not your best bet.
However, the number of streams supporting vertical video is increasing. Even YouTube and Instagram have created spaces for TikTok-style content, and those spaces receive the highest engagement and view rates. TikTok itself has climbed above a billion active users, with no sign of slowing.
If you’re creating original storytelling content with a goal of directing users towards your main page or channel, YouTube Shorts might be the way to go. Statistics show mobile YouTube users visit an average of five pages every time they open the app, and the platform provides space for long-form videos if you hook a curious consumer. In addition, YouTube thrives on gaming- and sports-focused content.
Instagram Reels have become a go-to for brand and retail content. Marketers can leverage their algorithm and in-app shopping to quickly showcase new products and partner with influencers. Instagram pages are perfect for advertising a brand, and Reels can spark initial interest. Finally, Instagram Reels work best for the little man. Reels made by accounts with less than 5,000 followers had the largest reach of any other post on the platform.
Of course, there’s TikTok, perhaps the most unique choice of corporate marketing. Influencers and trends drive TikTok, requiring creators to stay fresh and relevant. If you’re looking to go viral or launch a massive campaign, TikTok may be a good fit. The platform also strongly supports shopping and sponsorships. Over half of TikTok users research brands and products on the app, and two-thirds are likely to buy something while on the platform. However, TikTok content must be original, personal, and exciting, otherwise it’s simply ignored.
2. Make it Graphic
Video content created for mobile is a visual experience and, increasingly, this content needs to be formatted to play with no audio at all!
LAI Video uses open captions and bold typography across its online content. Our vertical ads for the Partnership for a Healthier America and Farm Credit Council adapted the most striking scenes from our widescreen documentaries and wrapped this content in dynamic on-screen text. If you have the audio on, fantastic! If not, you’ll still get the entire story visually.
3. Sharp, Smart, Sweet
On social media, attention spans are short. If you want to pique a user’s interest, you must do it quickly. Some creators use stunning or fascinating imagery, others employ questions and statistics. Once you have their attention, however, you want to present your information with expertise.
Successful videos often rely on narration to carry the main message. You want the viewer to feel as if they are learning while watching, and that requires a trustworthy spokesperson. On our recruitment campaign with Amazon, we anchored each vertical ad with one employee’s story.
Lastly, leave the audience with something sweet to remember. Whether it’s a positive call to action like, “You, too, can help!” Or a friendly on-brand quip, “We’re thinking forward, how about you?” When viewers feel rewarded after watching your video, they are more likely to visit a website and engage with your brand.
At LAI Video, we are always experimenting with form, style, and distribution, and we hope you do, too! Let us know works best for you and your brand.