5 Best Practices for Effective Vertical Video

Opinion: Industry research has shown that mobile phones are used vertically 98 percent of the time

As platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and musical.ly have grown in popularity, so has the public’s appetite for video in new formats. Vertical video has gone from being the butt of internet jokes to the new “it” medium as advertisers scramble to create content for these platforms.

Industry research has shown that mobile phones are used vertically 98 percent of the time, which highlights the value of having content that is aligned to the vertical experience.

Here are some tips to ensure that your vertical content is as successful and effective as possible:

Be platform-specific

Content’s success is largely contingent on its designated platform. Twitter and Facebook optimize videos in very different ways, and this ultimately affects the viewer experience. This is essential to keep in mind when designing video content for optimal engagement.

For example, it’s best to use lengthier videos for Facebook, as it has a user experience average of more than three minutes per session. Three minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, but the ability to engage with a consumer for three minutes makes for an incredibly valuable medium.

But using long-form video on a platform like Instagram, where the average user time is under two minutes, can not only be a waste of resources, but can also alienate your audience.

Similarly, while the average amount of time spent on musical.ly is over three minutes, most content on the platform is less than 15 seconds. The more you target your content to each platform, the more success you’ll have reaching your consumers.

Avoid repurposing 4:3 creative

Nobody likes to read an article that’s been repurposed from elsewhere. Viewers become repeat users when they can access fresh content regularly, and the momentum slows down once the content spigot dries up.

One-half of the intrigue of social media is that there’s always something new on your news feed, and the same principle applies to vertical content. Nobody wants to see a resized version of the same video they saw on YouTube the day before. Viewers want new content that will grab their attention from the get-go.

Vertical creative is a different beast from 4:3 content. Vertical content requires creative directors to think about what the camera can focus on. Content in 4:3 is much wider (obviously) than vertical content, so there can be more in the background than in vertical videos. But for vertical content, where space is valuable, the camera must focus on one subject. This makes it difficult — but not necessarily impossible — for brands to repurpose 4:3 content for vertical use.

Keep content to 10 seconds or less

Brevity is key for better content. Although we mentioned the benefits of longer-form video for Facebook, it’s safe to assume that not every consumer can engage with your content for extended periods of time. 10 seconds is a nice length for organic content, with the goal being to increase the user’s presence on the app in the long run.

If you’re running video ads, we recommend keeping it even shorter. If your content is in a more digestible format, it increases the odds of users engaging with several pieces of content. There’s more value in multiple six-second clips than one 30 second clip. It offers the chance to accumulate repeat viewers — and those are the best kind. Give your viewers the option to watch multiple videos and they’ll stay with your content longer.

Keep your content fresh

Consumer retention is high priority for marketing initiatives. One of the many ways to keep a repeat customer base is to post new content regularly. Think about it: What do you do when you log into Facebook? Most likely, you’re checking the latest updates from your social circle, looking at what’s trending—in other words, you’re looking for content that you haven’t seen before.

New video content being created and watched by the users of the application creates an endless cycle of optimum user engagement.

One thing to note is that it’s not enough to upload content frequently—it has to be consistent. If you’re aiming to post daily, don’t skip a day and expect your audience not to notice. Consistency helps solidify you as a prized content maker, and your users will thank you in the end. This will take a fair amount of planning from your marketing team, but if you make a content calendar and stick to it, it will pay off in the end.

Use influencers

Advertising is tricky. Trying to convince new customers through ads has always been a challenge, but enlisting influential people can make that process easier.

Influencers are mostly web-based celebrities with relatively significant influence over their audiences. People go to them for style tips, advice on sourcing vegan-friendly cosmetics and just about everything else. They’re a friendly (and free) resource for most viewers, and they have a lot of power.

Depending on your platform of choice, you could have access to thousands of influencers with a total reach in the millions. No matter the topic, you’re sure to find an influencer that will help you reach your desired consumer base.

At this point, nobody’s disputing the importance of having vertical content for social media. But for those who aren’t as familiar with the ins and outs, these five suggestions taken together will help you optimize your vertical content strategy and ensure that your brand gets the attention it deserves.

Matt Wickersham is director of monetization and solutions at mobile tools provider Cheetah Mobile.

Image courtesy of martin-dm/iStock.