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Is vertical or horizontal video best for social media ads?

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After Facebook reworked its calculation in January, social media marketing plans for the year went out the window. The past silver shot for success, video, was never again prioritized. Rather, live videos, which are progressively focused on creating engagement instead of passive viewership, turned into Facebook’s new gold standard.

In any case, attempt as they may, numerous companies struggled as they saw their organic reach continue to drop. That has been going on for years, however in 2018, Facebook clarified this was by design.

To combat the dreary organic reach, brands had to do something to reach their followers. For many, that meant budgeting for far more ads and boosted posts, which are organic posts to your page that you pay to show to select audiences.

With that, many businesses find themselves right where they started in early 2018: in need of more video. This time, though, they’re for ads.

A 2015 Facebook study found the best way to drive unique conversions on social media was to first play a video ad, then follow it with a static image. People who saw those ads were 31 percent more likely to convert.

Many must have seen that data because, from 2016 to 2017, advertisers used 3.8 times more video on Facebook and Instagram.

Years later, ads with video are still working their magic. A 2018 HubSpot case study found that ads with videos drove more clicks than ads with images, and often, cost less per click as well. It helps that the targeting is on the nose, too. 71 percent of people in a 2018 PROMO study said the sponsored videos they saw were either relevant or highly relevant.

Because of these stats (in addition to the data you have that shows video works for your business), videos are likely on your 2019 “must” list. But, to optimize the impact and effectiveness of video ads on social media, should you shoot horizontally or vertically?

Well, if the video is shot primarily for social, you should shoot vertically or in a square. Here’s why.

5 Reasons to Shoot Video Vertically for Social Media Ads and Content

1. It’s easy. Smartphone users hold their phones vertically about 94 percent of the time. This way, you don’t make your viewers do any extra work. (MOVR Mobile 2014 Report)

2. It’s more memorable. People have better ad recall when shown vertical, as opposed to horizontal, ads. (Facebook 2016 data)

3. It performs better. More than 50 percent of Facebook’s top 25,000 videos were either square or vertical. (Tubular 2016 case study)

4. It engages more people for less. Vertical video reached 58 percent more people, engaged 29 percent more people and cost 65 percent less. (2018 Animaker case study)

5. It’s innovative. Vertical videos take up more of the screen, so they’re harder to ignore and more immersive. Because of that, 65 percent of people think brands using vertical videos are more innovative. (YuMe 2017 data).

3 Easy Tips to Create Better Video Ads

While you’re improving your ads, implement these tips, too!

1. Say who you are early. Introduce your brand and message within the first 10 seconds of your ad, and your viewers will be three times more engaged. (Facebook 2016 data)

2. Keep it short. Try to keep your entire ad under 10 seconds. Aim for six seconds. 90 percent of advertisers saw greater ad recall after testing 300 mobile, 6-second ad campaigns on YouTube. Facebook also found the six-second ad had the highest brand metrics compared to other ad lengths.

3. Add captions. Multiple publishers told DigiDay that 85 percent of their Facebook videos are watched without the sound on. But only 24 percent of video ads were able to be understood without sound, according to Facebook 2016 data. Tell your message as visually as possible, and take the time to write captions so that your message isn’t lost.

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