Vertical video vs. Landscape video

Landscape or vertical video?

For some this could be a question of old versus new. In the early days of camera phones, any sort of media that wasn’t captured in normal landscape format looked like trash. Even though it was annoying to rotate your phone to record videos, people dutifully did so to make sure they had usable content.

As new products designed around mobile experiences came to market, different solutions to the mismatch between ergonomic comfort and consumer acceptance were introduced. Hipstamatic and then Instagram popularized square cropping of photos which helped drive greater acceptance of vertically captured images.

In my opinion, the real credit for driving adoption of vertical media, both photos and videos, goes to Snapchat. From its start as a disappearing photo sharing app to its launch of video sharing a year later and into their Stories functionality, Snapchat has always presented a vertical camera to capture media and expected users to consume media vertically. Beyond that, once Snapchat introduced ads to the platform, they pushed advertisers to create video ads specifically for Snapchat’s vertical presentation.

If Snapchat opened the door to wide adoption of vertical video, then Instagram lightly stepped through it with their own Stories feed and TikTok, with its vertical video only, experience jumped through with both feet and a large trumpet blaring.

Not Old vs. New

While the rise in popularity of vertical video is undeniable, the fact is landscape video will always have its place. As opposed to preparing for a full shift to vertical, the more appropriate analysis is to understand what the right place / right time is for either video format.

So when does one format win over the other? Here are a few to consider:


  • Video likely to be viewed on a traditional TV
  • When the main distribution platform is Youtube or Vimeo
  • Commercials
  • High production value content (have yet to see Quibi) theatrical content


  • When you know the consumer will be watching on their phone
  • TikTok (duh)
  • When the content focuses on a full, upright video shot or zoomed in on a face
  • To create an intimate feel using selfie video (it feels like FaceTime)

Vertical Video on Tape

We started Tape when we saw sales teams rush to SMS as a communication channel that finally gave them engagement rates that email and phone calling were no longer providing. Our belief was made-for-mobile video could make SMS more of a relationship building tool by initiating a very personal experience. With that in mind, Vertical Video was the obvious choice for us. Tape is delivered over SMS where we know a user will be interacting on their phone. In addition, the video message usually starts with a face-to-face introduction where vertical video framing improves eye contact and overall intimacy.

There are many ways to use video, but Tape is long vertical video. If you haven’t tried vertical video content in your business yet, start exploring! There are huge opportunities to connect with your audience in a mobile first and intimate way.

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