Whether you’re a fan or not, the vertical video trend will only keep growing.
In the fast-paced, fragmented way we consume content, turning a phone sideways or holding it with both hands isn’t worth it (people hold their phones vertically 94% of the time).
You watch videos to occupy the space when you’re not mentally engaged, like waiting for a bus, during TV commercials, or having a snack break. Just please try not to walk into traffic or drop it in the toilet.
The vertical video trend started as the result of people forgetting to turn their phones before filming. Then in the early 2010s, Snapchat’s instant popularity made it a viable video format, reaching 10 billion daily video views by 2016.
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In 2017, Salah Zalamatimo, head of product and tech at Forbes, said:
I see vertical video as the future of mobile video. We have seen 15 to 25 % higher click-to-play on vertical video.
Instagram jumped on the vertical bandwagon with Stories in mid-2016. In June 2018, they launched IGTV, which is opposed to the disappearing 15-second format of stories. IGTV now lets users and brands create long-form vertical videos that stay permanently on their own channel.
While adoption of IGTV is still slow, with Instagram’s massive user base, we can only expect IGTV to keep growing – everyone in media or marketing needs to be ready.
Check out 6 tips on how to produce vertical video for IGTV, using examples from video-focused news and lifestyle blogs.
1. Fit the vertical aspect ratio
9:16 is the official aspect ratio for IGTV, along with IG stories and the Facebook Feed. This means your video should be at least 1080 x 1920 pixels.
If larger, you still want to match the 9:16 ratio to ensure your video appears fully on phones. Also consider that the 9:16 can cause a slight crop due to the actual size of phone screens.
So, aim to leave a little room around your video’s borders, this way visuals such as text won’t get clipped out. Also, have a thumbnail cover image to upload that is 9:16 and at least 1080 x 1920 pixels.
Video and subtitles fitted to the vertical aspect ratio from Vice.
2. Fit today’s attention span
IGTV allows for up to 1-hour videos, with unlimited length uploads coming in the future. And just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The optimum length of videos for social media are 2 to 5 minutes, and shorter is preferred when possible.
You can get away with longer content if the video remains interesting to your followers, but consider editing longer videos into multiple parts. Turn a 20-minute video into 4 parts, letting people breath and giving them a reason to check back.
And like with any social media video, aim to grab the viewer in the first couple seconds before the swipe past. Knowing that people will get distracted or interrupted, Instagram has helped us out with a “continue watching” tab on IGTV.
Longer video that starts with an attention-grabbing preview from Refinery29.
3. Leverage Instagram Stories
With IGTV being brand new and Instagram Stories having over 300 million daily active users, it pays to leverage Stories. Instagram allows a direct link from a Story to an IGTV video by swiping up. Thanks to this, you can post preview teaser clips on Stories, with users able to click to watch the full IGTV video. This is also useful if you split up a longer video into multiple IGTV clips, letting you reach followers when each clip is posted.
4. Graphic animations are perfect
Like with Stories, graphic animations are perfect for IGTV due to their animated but not filmed nature. They can be designed to fully utilize the 9:16 format with a mix of static and animated graphics, text and images mixed with sound. The result is an engaging way to communicate over a standard article.
Graphic animation example from Buzzfeed.
5. Repurpose old video or blog content
Any vertical content you produced was probably posted to Stories and disappeared (unless it was saved to your IG profile’s Highlights). To maximize value, you could repost old Stories that will still be enjoyed or are still relevant to IGTV, including editing story segments into a complete video.
Since your IGTV channel is new, you can use this to build up a back catalogue before producing original IGTV videos. Old articles or blog posts could also be turned into graphic animations to reach and appeal to your IG audience.
6. Shooting horizontal?
If you’re filming with a DSLR or any camera that’s not your phone, it’s most likely filming in a 3:2 or 4:3 format. This is often the case if you want to produce a traditional horizontal video for Youtube or Facebook and also want a vertical version. This works as well but requires planning and post-production. Keep your subject centred when filming to accommodate having to crop the sides in post for the vertical version. If filming horizontally, the recording quality has to be high or optimally 4K. This gives you lots of room to crop while still maintaining a high resolution. To be extra safe, shoot wide in general when horizontal filming, to ensure you have room to crop down to the right size.
Footage edited for both vertical and horizontal versions from The MIX.