Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media. Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media. Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019. The vertical video and mobile hypothesis This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch. But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy? Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram. Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Interested in creating your own vertical videos? We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

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There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video
Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at…

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