5 Reasons Vertical Video Has Evolved to be the New Standard

I’m not really a gambling man, but I’m willing to bet that you’re reading this on your phone. The statistics tell us that this is likely the case. A small number of people will be using a tablet or laptop, but the majority or readers will be scrolling skillfully with one thumb or maybe a finger. Receiving email alerts and texts as you go (It’s tough being popular!), careful now don’t spill your coffee. 

This is how we have come to evolve, phone in one hand, flat white in the other, flaky pastry in the other other hand. Math is not my strong suit; I’ll stick to written(typed) words for the time being.

Here’s another thing I’m willing to bet. 

You’re holding the phone in one hand, vertically. Again, not exactly Nostradamus level predictions, it’s easy to predict such a thing because that is what we all do. We hold phones vertically, the way they are designed to be experienced.

Nostradamus also predicted that you have likely eaten carbohydrates today.

But yet, it reveals something important about human nature and our behavior. We do things en masse. Often, following the path of least resistance to make it quick and easy for ourselves. What is comfortable works. That’s why hammocks, bean bags and microwavable meals are a thing.

 Holding your phone vertically is the most comfortable and effective way to use this particular piece of technology. This is where vertical video comes in.

 What is Vertical Video?

The best way to tell you is to show you. Here’s a vertical video we created for the Irish government  that shows the best practices which help combat the spread of Covid19. It’s designed solely with the mobile market in mind.

 It’s the video presentation style that is intended to be viewed in portrait mode, the alternative to holding a phone sideways and viewing it in landscape mode. Perhaps the video was created purposefully for this style, by say an animated advertising company, such as the one above. Or it could be how someone decided to shoot a video in the moment, recording a birthday wish or a scenic holiday vignette while holding the phone vertically.

Is he recording a snow storm or a close-up of a sheep?

Of course, most people don’t call it vertical video, it’s simply the way they use their phone. It’s the way most of us use our phones – vertically.

Call it whatever you want. The point is that it’s here to stay and it’s how we’ve evolved to use the phone as a medium. It’s best not to get left behind and vertical video offers us a unique opportunity to better engage with viewers. That is of course, if we choose to take advantage of this opportunity !

Here are 5 reasons vertical video has evolved to be the new standard. 

1. It has a Good Precedent

I’m sure you’ve heard the term portrait in relation to using a smartphone before. But what about the actual origin of the term, portrait paintings? That’s where the portrait comes from, obviously, but why? Well let’s take a look at arguably the most famous painting in the world.

mona lisaThe secret to her smile is that she has m & m’s in her mouth

Naturally it has to be a portrait because that’s the shape we are. Imagine if this was created in a landscape style, she would look stretched and ridiculous. Some things simply look better in portrait. Mona Lisa’s smile is one of them but it’s not just paintings .

We read books in portrait too, whether it’s an actual book or via a Kindle. If you use a tablet to read, you will naturally go to turn it sideways. We read from the top to the bottom, vertically. The same goes for movie posters and posters/flyer’s advertising concerts or meet-ups 

Why this is exactly, is a question best left to opticians and neurologists. It seems that part of how we interpret visual stimulus is more effective if we do it top to bottom or bottom to top. So, top that! 

2. It’s what Phones are Designed for

How you operate a phone is entirely up to you. For some, a phone is an expensive alarm clock, for others it’s a photo camera. For most of us, a phone is a Swiss army knife that is used for shopping, entertainment, personal social branding, managing finances, taking notes, and oh of course keeping in contact with others now and then. Really, a phone has become like a personal assistant, so when you look at it that way, even the most expensive phone is excellent value.  

It can’t cook an omelet for you, but it can allow you to text your significant other who has access to eggs and heat, so it’s a win-win. Phones are designed for vertical use, for portrait mode. So, naturally vertical video makes the most sense, it’s reflexive. For watching a movie or show on Netflix, we generally go for landscape mode, which is the exception not the rule.

90% of the time we hold the phone in one hand, vertically, and thus experience 90% of what we do on a phone, vertically. This is the reason vertical video has become the norm.

3. Big Players are Following Suit

Vertical video has not always been at the forefront of business’s minds when it comes to marketing or advertising. It was at one point seen as an amateur and unpolished way to spread brand awareness. It’s easy to understand why, vertical videos used to be well, quite amateur looking. Who would want to be associated with that? 

No one, particularly not big, expensive, refined, well known brands such as say ………………. Mercedes Benz.

They’re not the only ones moving with the time. National Geographic are also making use of vertical video. So too are Netflix, no surprise there. These giant companies are mainly using the Instagram stories feature to engage viewers. They understand social media avenues such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are where people congregate online. How do people   view videos on these platforms? You guessed it, vertically. 

In a sense, the only way large and small business will be taken seriously on many platforms is with vertical media forms. Platforms such as YouTube can still use a video made with landscape viewing in mind, but even then, most videos on the site are viewed via a smartphone.

4. The Statistics Don’t Lie

The larger brands are going where the crowds are and the numbers tell us that it’s a good place to be. 

90% of Twitter video views come from mobile, which in turn means most videos on the platform are being viewed vertically.

Vertical videos have 90% more visibility than a simple post or an image on Facebook. It’s not just that vertical videos are favored on many online avenues, they also are more effective.

Vertical videos on Snapchat are watched to the end 9 times more than horizontal ones. That is a massive difference.

We can see that statistics here about how important and useful videos can be for brand engagement. When it comes to certain sites, particularly social media sites, it needs to be a vertical video not just a standard one. People are speaking with their clicks and fingers, it’s clear to see vertical video is coming out on top. 

To see examples of some of our own creations you can view our portfolio. We make animated videos in standard and vertical video format that can help you to reach a wider audience.

5. It’s Convenient

Surprising I know! I don’t want to call It laziness but what else can you call it? Reduced effort efficiency – it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as eloquently. How about energy consolidation mode? Let’s be real about it, a big reason vertical video has become the norm is because we as people are inherently lazy. It is hardwired into us to conserve energy and do things via the path of least resistance. In this case, least resistance meaning not spending the .5 of a calorie it takes to turn a phone sideways.

 They all keep their phones vertical for post marathon selfies too.

It seems a little silly to suggest that people can’t be bothered turning their phone a few inches to watch or record a video, but yes that’s the actual reason for many people. Less than 30% of viewers will turn a phone sideways to view an ad. Users who do turn their phone sideways will only watch about 14% of the ad. 

It’s convenient. The same reasons we choose cars over horses. The same reason we choose to shop in a supermarket rather than go to a butcher, a baker and a farmer’s market. Convenience trumps all. It frees up our valuable time so we can focus on the more important tasks we need to do such as…….watch videos on our phone!

For much younger phone users who have grown up in a world where smart phones were always around, they are not really used to the alternative. Think about it. Modern teenagers would be less likely to view videos sideways as they have grown up in a time when landscape videos were becoming outdated. That is to say, on certain platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and mobile use of YouTube and similar sites such as Vimeo.


It’s a little like the way SMS texts were once the main digital communication format. Now they have been replaced by messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. More convenient and effective services have replaced the standard SMS services – we evolve.


Vertical videos have evolved as audiences and phone use has changed over the last decade or so. From seemingly amateur homemade productions that we’re spur of the moment creations, vertical videos have grown to be a format respected by large companies. People are watching, engaging and taking their time while viewing a vertical video. So, it seems, as far as mobile use is concerned, vertical is king. From the look of the statistics, vertical videos are reading the way. It’s a smart bet to expect that vertical videos will become even more popular than they are today.  

So, a good question to ask is ‘’ will I move with the changes as they happen or have to play catch up at a later date?’’.

What we Do

Perhaps you are interested in growing your business or getting a little help with marketing a new product? An animated vertical video might be exactly the tool that will take you to the next level. Here at Animation Explainers, we are experts in creating effective, professional and memorable videos for companies of all sizes.

If you are curious about how an animated video can help your company, take a look at our blog about the advantages of animated videos.

We’ve worked every type of business you can think of, from government bodies to newly formed startups. With the help of an animated vertical video you can grow your business, and increase brand awareness. In the digital age, it’s important to keep up to date and on trend so that your message can reach your audience.

Do you need a Vertical Video?

If you are looking for a vertical video for your business or service, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of creators have experience making animated commercial videos, in landscape and vertical video format for companies large and small. 

You can view our portfolio here.

From introducing a new product, to staff orientation videos, our animations come in all shapes and sizes, made by professionals for all audience types.



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