The Vertical vs. Horizontal Video Debate Rages On. It Shouldn’t.


When I worked in TV, I loathed vertical video. Always having to reformat it to either fit the screen or do some sort of generic effect to make it look decent was always just added work – that frankly was exhausting. I always told people “shoot horizontally and there’s a better chance it’ll end up on the news!” But people aren’t shooting video for the news now, they’re shooting it for social media – the news is usually a second thought. 

With the rise of TikTok prompting change in how Facebook and Instagram format their video, it’s obvious that vertical media is here to stay. Have you adapted to it yet? Vertical video is outperforming square video (1080×1080), which was what people were pushing as an alternative to horizontal video. The cost per click of when running a vertical advertisement is 26 percent less than that of other video formats in most in-feed social circumstances. 

Now don’t get me wrong, just because vertical video is here, that doesn’t mean we have to abandon horizontal videography. YouTube is still a very powerful force and many are still advertising on TV or using over-the-top (OTT) strategies. We can have both vertical and horizontal video – we just need to know when to use which. 

Why did I tell you all this? 1. I have free time on a Sunday, and 2. because when you’re looking to hire a production company for your next video shoot, you should be getting the most out of your video. For example, when shooting in 4K, it’s much easier to convert your horizontal advertisement to a vertical advertisement – remember, you can have both! Maybe you’re not using horizontal advertising right now though, so why not just shoot it all in vertical? If you ever want to pursue OTT advertisement, it’s nearly impossible to make vertical ads run horizontally without a slight loss of quality or massive cropping of the video. 

It pains me when I see an organization post on TikTok or Reels using horizontal video, or someone advertising on a horizontal platform (Hulu, YouTube, etc.) with vertical video. We all understand things happen, but you can take steps to actively give yourself a better experience when planning your next video campaign. 

Chronicle Creative is an Ohio-based digital content agency and production company building the storytelling experience. Our focus is to redefine how businesses market to their audiences. Built on the foundation of purposeful storytelling, we focus on telling stories through videography, photography, brand design, and more.